Russian Officer's Helmet, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:42)
Arms & Militaria
Grenadier Military Antiques
GUEST: I bought it about 15 years ago in a small antique store outside of Houston. And I was told that it was a helmet that the soldiers wore at the coronation of Nicholas II.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, they're sort of right. What it is, it's an Imperial Russian lifeguard helmet. It's an officer's helmet, Garde du Corps-- basically, the personal guard of the monarchy. This type of helmet was worn between 1846 and 1914. It's patterned, actually, after the Prussian, the German state Prussia, its Garde du Corps helmet, which was introduced in 1842-43 period, although theirs had a single-headed eagle on it, where this has the Romanov double-headed eagle. Beautiful helmet. The shell itself is made out of what's called "tombac." It gives this really beautiful rich golden color, and you have not cleaned this, which is great. It's got this really wonderful patina to it. It's got the parade top on it, and what that consists of is the Romanov double-headed eagle with the Imperial crown. It has St. George slaying the dragon on the chest. At the front of the helmet you've got the order of St. Andrew, an enameled Russian order. Then to the right side of the helmet, you've got a cockade with the Imperial Russian tricolors of red, white and blue.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: The helmet, on the inside, another sign it's an officer's helmet is the high-quality lining. You've got the velvet lining on the lobster tail on the back and under the visor on the front and then the high-quality lining on the inside. The back of the helmet... has the articulated lobster-tail neck covering. These helmets are very fragile in that the eagle, a lot of times the legs will break and there are some cracks, so you want to be very, very careful. Right at the ankle there, there's some cracking. Now, originally, this eagle would have had a silver wash to it. Apparently, over the years it's come off. It's probably been polished off, but overall, all in all, the condition of this helmet is beautiful. They're very thin and they're very prone to be dented and banged around and dropped, and this one has got a couple very shallow small dings in it, but beautiful, beautiful helmet. What did you pay for it?
GUEST: Uh, $500.
APPRAISER: $500. And you said it was what, about 15 years ago?
GUEST: About 15, maybe 20, but I think about 15 years ago.
APPRAISER: The helmet would probably sell at auction for around $15,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: There's a few condition issues and those will devaluate it a little bit, but it's quite a helmet. Really appreciate you bringing it in for us to take a look at.
GUEST: Sure, sure. Thank you.
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