Rarely do WW1 helmets at this high level of untouched originality come up for sale. The helmet comes from a doctor friend of mine out of South Africa and so has spent almost all of it’s post WW1 life indoors and in a very naturally dry environment. My feeling is that the lack of moisture has essentially served to give this helmet a heightened degree of preservation such that almost all of the original moss green paint is still in tact as is it’s original 3 pad liner system (pillows still attached) and WW1 issued chinstrap. I would estimate that less than 1% of WW1 helmets still have there original chinstrap in place and untouched. The helmet is also named on the inside skirt in what appears to be a dark pencil and is factory stamped ET66 for the Eisenwerkes factory in Thale. All leather fingers are fully intact and complete although bent inwards over time are difficult to see from the photo shot of the inside but none are missing or torn and are all fully complete.
The inside liner is not steel but the earlier leather banded design found mainly on M16 helmets as the M17’s and M18’s quickly changed over to more durable steel early on in the war. Most M16 helmets are missing there liners for the very reason that the all leather construction just wasn’t that durable and tended to dry rot and fall out over time. I don’t think I can recall a finer untouched example of a factory issued WW1 helmet and especially one in a 66 size large. A great museum quality example of a battle worn helmet by one of Wilhelm Kaiser’s men.