Model 1881 U.S. Cavalry Dress Helmet – SOLD

All Original Cavalry Enlisted Dress Helmet with complete helmet cords.


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These were once quite plentiful on the market, complete that is. Helmets still turn up everywhere, but usually without the one item that truly makes them cavalry…the original cords.

This is the pattern of 1881, a fur felt body trimmed in thin black leather, and finished in stamped brass furniture. Attached is the bright golden yellow horsehair plume, and the original helmet cords, that adorn the body in heavy braided worsted wool, coming together on the left side where the cording continued down through the shoulder tabs of the uniform coat on the left side, around the neck of the trooper, and the remaining cord suspends from a small wool loop incorporated in the cording itself that hangs from a button on the coat. The cords were decorative for the uniform but had a functional side allowing the trooper to keep his helmet if separated by some accident while on horseback.

Condition is overall fine; the helmet body is sound, and shows light fading from sunlight. The brass is lightly toned from the original bright finish when issued. The cording is frayed in sections, the worst area is found just below the adjusting tassel slide on the left side of helmet, and in several other places but the photos will show it does effect the desirability. The interior is fine including the sweatband which has been at some point be adhered down so the contract date can’t be determined (most likely a Hortsmann contract c-1899-1902).

A small paper label on the back of the sweatband, for sizing reads, 7 1/4. A nice honest helmet designated to the 1st U.S. Cavalry, indicated by the 3/4 inch numeral attached to the shield on the eagle plate.