My first Pickelhaube arrived a few days ago and I have to say I'm very pleased with it! After being an almost exclusive TR collector it is quite refreshing to have something from the Imperial era in my collection.
This helmet, so my research and generous advice from forum members have enlightened me, is an M1895 model, lacquered ersatz example, apparently somewhat rare in Pickelhaube circles. It appears that as 1914 wore on, the need for a massive supply of helmets for the troops outstripped supply of leather and so an order for 50,000 ersatz helmets was placed for supply to Prussian units. (the shortage of leather was somewhat satisfied by a massive importation of Argentinian leather so I've read). As such, the 1915 stamp on my example fits in with the timing of the late 1914 order. It would appear that prior to the issue of purely felt helmets, the desire to maintain appearances led to the black lacquer treatment being applied to early felt helmets following which the shortages of the war led to the abandonment of the lacquer and as we know, by 1916 the introduction of the Stahlhelm relegated the Pickelhaube to rear area/supply troops in general.
This helmet was an ebay pickup and interest was fairly light (possibly due to no-one noticing it was lacquered felt and not lacquered leather) so I picked it up at what I consider to be a good price. I'm pretty sure the chinstrap is a repro as it is very supple, yet it does smell of extreme age. perhaps being married to the helmet for a considerable time? I was pleased to note that the wappen appears to be retained by the original leather stays and there are no duplicate holes so I have faith that this lid has never been messed with. The spike unscrews easily but I don't know if this was a feature for use in covering movement in the trenches or for attaching a plume. Perhaps some advice can be provided on this topic? The spike certainly isn't a bayonet fitting, of that I'm sure.
Anyway, please enjoy the images and let me know your thoughts. I can't decipher the depot stamp (if that's what it is in fact) so any advice in that regard would be much appreciated.