Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Russian Imperial Medals, Orders, Uniforms & Militaria => Topic started by: georgecl on March 24, 2005, 12:44:23 PM

Title: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: georgecl on March 24, 2005, 12:44:23 PM
What do you guys think of this one.. ???

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Coldstream on March 24, 2005, 01:16:46 PM
I would say that it is an example of a spiked helmet worn by the Corps of Pages until the end of the monarchy.  The Model year I leave up to the other experts.  I personally feel that the style is of the Alexander II or Alexander III period.  The earlier Russian "Pickelhaubes" were rather high in the crown as were their Prussian counterparts.  The spiked helmet was discontinued for the line regiments after the Crimean War (1853-1856) although, I believe, the Guard infantry regiments continued to wear it until Alexander III issued new uniform regulations.  Most of the Russian Army adopted the French style kepi after the Crimean debacle.

Coldstream (AKA William McCaughey)
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 24, 2005, 06:00:58 PM
I would have to disagree on this one.  In my humble opinion this is not a helmet for the Corp des Page. The crown on the chinscales and the engraving on the visor are most consistent with a helmet for a Major General period of AII.  The liner and chinscales are not correct for the piece.  I do not like the quality of casting in regard to the eagle and suspect the star has been added to enhance the item.  You would have to examine it in person as to the quality of the workmanship which for an officer of this rank should be of the highest quality.

With respect,

Brad LeMay
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Michael_Doubrovin on March 24, 2005, 06:33:26 PM
Well made item! I'm really impressed with the constantly growing quality of copies from St. Petersburg. Even hundred years after the Imperial time we have skillfull craftsmen. A serious reason to be proud!  ;D  ;D  ;D
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 24, 2005, 06:49:34 PM
Good Evening Misha,

Glad to see your input.  Sent you an email earlier which perhaps you have already recieved.  How is the research on the Guard Lancers coming.

With my warmest regards,

Your friend,

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: georgecl on March 24, 2005, 08:17:31 PM
Thanks to all..Sure a nice looking piece I Knew it would be "too good to be true"..
Yes they are doing a much better job at fabricating stuff nowadays.

Oh well ill keep looking..

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 24, 2005, 09:46:51 PM
I was attempting to be diplomatic with my original post.  The bottom line is that I would not consider it for my collection nor would Misha.  I can send you an email photograph of an original if you are interested.  Not sure how to attach it to the post itself.

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Vladik on March 25, 2005, 10:56:16 AM
Dear, Mr. LeMay:

If it's possible can I have the picture of the helmet too.  :o

Thanks in advance,

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: georgecl on March 25, 2005, 10:59:24 AM
Hi Brad,  

That would be Great..
I'm tring to find a good example of a Imp Russian leather Helmet any period.  But Just junk on ebay, and I dont Know enough about them at this point to jump in. :-[

My email fast connection is

Thanks again
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Vladik on March 25, 2005, 11:07:25 AM
To George: reading these posts and from my own experience, 90% of the Russian Imperial orders/medal/badges on Ebay are fakes and most certainly 99% of anything that deals with uniforms are certainly fakes, so be careful. >:( >:(

P.S. Just to prove a point here's a guy with "iffy" >:(stuff, I'm sure Mr. LeMay and Mr. Doubrovin will find this shako an obvious fake
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Mr._Panaev on March 25, 2005, 03:59:06 PM
Cheers to all!!!

This is my shako and despite of what some say -- I provide 1000% authenticity guarantee and will refund your money in full should an independent expertise (Sotheby's, Christie's, Batterfield, Gelos, etc) prove otherwise. Please check my feedback on 1600 transactions on eBay as assurance.

With all my respect, Now I would like to know what qualifies poster "Vladik" as an expert in identifyling Russian Imperial Uniforms? Talk is cheap, I can provide at reference from at least a dozen of sattisfied collectors who purchsed genuine Imperial items from me.

I assume you would say this hat is fake too ??? ?

If you care to look, you will find associated positive feedback on eBay for this transaction.

By the way, I am helping to sell a small collection of Russian Headgear (Yes, all 1000% genuine and guaranteed as such). I will gladly e-mail you or post here images. Sincerely, Dmitry (My real name)  ;)
Title: Corps De Pages helmet
Post by: Mr._Panaev on March 25, 2005, 04:25:34 PM
As of Corps De Pages helmet. Here is a link to a photo showing the real thing:

This is a photo of Guards General's Helmet (note no St. Andrew Star -- it was only implemented in 1909):

The photo is from a brand new book: "Five Centuries of Russian Military Uniform."

I have this book available for sale and highly recommend it:

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 25, 2005, 07:50:41 PM
Dear Sirs (including Mr. Paneav),

I really have no personal motives in the discussion but will add the following comments.  First of all, the helmet in question has absolutely nothing to do with the Corp des Page and reference to this is irrelevant.  The comment about the Generals helmet only having a Guard star added in 1909 is incorrect.  First of all, this model helmet was not used at all during the reign of AIII or NII and as to the Guard star, these were used well before the date quoted.  The seller may well believe that this piece is completely genuine but in my opinion it certainly has a number of inconsistencies.  Please see my prior notes for specifics.  The Pavlovski piece looks OK with the exception of the star which is clearly not period to the helmet.  The remainder of the piece presents no problems at least from picture but must be examined in person.

I have been collecting Imperial militaria for a very long time and know most of the other knowledgeable collectors.  Gerard Gorokhoff in Paris is a very close friend and we visit each other frequently.  The last time I was in France, he actually had a catalog from a business in Moscow who were producing high quality copies of Imperial pieces.  Collectors who are not knowledgeable must be very careful and also note that the auction houses really have little expertise in this area.

With that being said, I must state that I have looked at a number of the items Mr. Paneav has had for sale in the past.  Some have been absolutely fine and not everything is necessarily problematic.  All dealers will occasionally have questionable pieces but keep in mind that they may not be knowingly trying to deceive the buyer.  They are often advised by their own sellers and simply market the items as part of their business.

I hope that these comments are taken constructively,

With my regards,

Brad LeMay
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Michael_Doubrovin on March 25, 2005, 10:26:22 PM
My dear Dmytry, please, tell me more about 1000% authentity of your St. Petersburg lancers tschapka.
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 25, 2005, 11:14:26 PM
Personally, I am happy to buy good quality reproductions, as long as that is what I am paying for. So  such a provider would be welcome to me.

However, where does one find a good reference or source for palace livery ? Not necessarily military related.
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 26, 2005, 07:03:53 AM
Dear Mr. Hall,

Unfortunately, there is no single reference in regard to this subject (at least I am unaware of one).  Many different books have individual photographs but none provide a comprehensive review of the topic.

If another reader is aware of such a source.  I would also be interested in obtaining a copy.  Sadly, I do not think it exists at this time.

Brad LeMay
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Vladik on March 26, 2005, 10:14:06 AM
Found these two pictures in a magazine. Notice the higher quality scroll and St. Andrew's star on the Pavlovski Mitre, also there's a different color used in the back. On the Semenovski Helmet the top rim should be made of golden "galun", not yellow cloth. Also the star is obviously a reproduction.  :)
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 26, 2005, 10:40:33 AM
Dear Vlad,

While not endorsing the kiwer which you are referring to; please note that you are comparing an officers version of the shako to that of enlisted ranks.  The top braid for non officers is indeed yellow or white cloth (depending on the regiment in question).  As to the reference to a different color on the "back" of the Pavlovski miter...I have no idea as to what you are referring.

Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Mr._Panaev on March 26, 2005, 11:23:19 AM
On the Shako -- Ditto for the non-enameled Star -- soldier's shakos didn't have enameled stars or gold galun.

The moral is -- if you found one image which differs from the actual item you see, that doesn't NECESSARILY mean that the item you see is fake. I don't mean to be hostile to anyone, but I actually held all my items in my own hands, inspected them, showed them to other collectors and experts and ALL said that the items are genuine. I know it is hard to judge from images alone and items require live visual inspection to be proved or disproved genuine that is why I am so disturbed by some members of this and other boards stating that the item is 100% fake without even bothering to contact the seller for additional images and more information.

To answer to Mr. Doubrovin: I offer unconditional guarantee on ALL items, should you even purchase any of my items and it proves to be not genuine I will be happy to take it back for full refund.

Pavlovsky Mitre, indeed, had a reddish color back:


Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Daniel Briere on March 26, 2005, 11:35:02 AM
Hi all!

A few comments about this thread and Mr Panaev’s imput. This is a discussion board, not an experts’ forum. Most of us are here to learn. Some are willing to share their information (hopefully, reliable) or experience (good or bad). This is what’s nice about this place. Everybody is free to offer opinions, advice and information when asked for it. No one asks for credentials, although I hope that those who post “informed opinions” are ready to back them up. But other members are entitled to express doubts or ask questions about certain items they see on sale. As most of what we see is very expensive, I feel it’s normal for people to do some research and ask for advice before spending some serious money on items they can’t examine and have to make a judgement about solely on the basis of photos. Of course they should be careful not to make generalizations about dealers or other people.

As Brad LeMay pointed out, from time to time some honest dealers will have some questionable items, which doesn’t mean they’re of bad faith. The same goes for auction houses (I’ve seen some very dubious items at one house Dmitry mentioned): even the experts working for auction houses can’t know everything. And sadly, I feel that the lure of fast money often blinds many dealers and auctioneers. As passion sometimes clouds the judgement of some collectors. So everybody should be careful. There is no way that all the Imperial Russian militaria which I have seen on eBay and other sites in the recent years can be genuine : people from the former Soviet Union might be selling their grandfathers’ treasures which weren’t previously available in the West, but by now so much stuff has appeared on the market that there shouldn’t be anything left in any attic or basement, not even in museums. I have seen enough to equip the whole Imperial Russian Army again!!

With respect, Dmitry, to me “satisfied collectors” aren’t necessarily experts. Just because they are happy with what they bought – or to proud to admit they made a mistake! – doesn’t prove that everything you (or anyone else) offer is genuine. Expertise from recognized people in the field would – and I know of very few of them that are still alive. So I also rely on those of us who have read extensively on the subject, done their research and acquired experience through years of collecting and visiting museums and private collections (as I have). It is nice of you to offer “1000% genuine items guaranteed as such”: I think 100% would be more than enough! … but do you mean that you will pay 1000% for any item proven by independent expertise to be a fake?

This said, I agree with Brad LeMay: from what I can tell by looking at photos, Mr Panaev often offers some fine items, and great books too! But I do have some major concerns about the shako Vladik pointed out to:

I  wouldn’t go so far as Vladik in thinking it’s an obvious fake. But one thing I am sure about: it’s NOT a Guards’ Semenovsky kiver (shako). As it’s not an officer’s shako the black color is correct. The white metal St. Andrew’s star could be OK (although most of the Guards Infantry soldiers’ stars I have seen were painted). But the body of the shako (kolpak) itself can’t be Semenovsky: although it has a blue band with red piping, the vertical piping on the sides is red: Semenovsky had white. If it’s a Guards’ shako (Military schools had similar shakos too), this color combination (blue band with red piping, red side piping) can only point to Grenadersky.

The honor scroll seems to be “Za otlichie v Turetskuyu voinu 1877 i 1878 godov.” which, in the Guards, only 3 units had, all in the Artillery (1st Brigade’s 6th Battery; 2nd Brigade’s 3rd & 6th Batteries). Semenovksy would have “Za Pravets 10 i 11 Noyabrya 1877 goda.”  and Grenadersky “ Za Gornyi Dubniak 12 Oktyabrya 1877 goda.”

Long black plume (sultan): only the 4th regiments of a division had it (Egersky, Finlandsky & Volynsky). Semenovsky and Grenadersky had a white one, as shown on your Shenk schematic.

If I’m not mistaken, the width of the yellow braid would indicate the rank of NCO. If it’s the case, I’m not sure the cockade is right.  Of course the “kutas” (tress?) in the back of the shako is missing..

All this said, I have no idea what it is! I feel it is some kind of composite shako, probably made with genuine parts, but coming from different units. It would have made a nice shako for His Majesty’s Own Combined Infantry Regiment…if they had one! I would gladly buy it for parts (at a reasonable price of course) but not as a Semenovsky Regiment’s shako.

So “The devil is in the details!” I think dealers, as well as buyers, should pay more attention to them!
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Thomas B. LeMay on March 26, 2005, 03:32:08 PM
Hello to everyone,

Perhaps I may tell you a brief story.  About three years ago, my friend Gerard Gorkhoff contacted me concerning a large group of headgear (shakos and visor caps for the most part) which had been brought to France by a dealer.  We examined the pieces and noted several odd characteristics.  First of all, none of the Guard stars on the officers items were original and even more interesting all of the mounts such as honor scrolls, chinscales, etc. were incorrect.  Don't get me wrong, all of the parts (except the stars) were original but were simply attached to a helmet or cap body without regard to accuracy.  Some times, two pieces sitting side by side could have the parts reversed and they would then have both been correct.  It turns out that the items had been kept in a theatre costume storage in Moscow.  Before storing them, all of the metal parts for some reason had been removed and stored separately.  I have no idea why this was done.  When brought to France for sale, someone then reattached what they thought looked "OK" irregardless of accuracy.  The point is that many items are indeed original but with various parts married to them in a like fashion.  If you are patient, eventually one can correct these inaccuracies and end up with some very good items at fair prices.  On the other hand, there are hundreds of fake items now flooding the market so you really must know at what you are looking.  The very dealer who I mentioned above has since received a number of these copies which he has offered for sale in good faith.  He is very honest but is not an expert in this area and simply believed what he was told by his sources.  The moral of the story is that both good and bad pieces may come from any dealer without malicious intent.  The collector must judge each item that appears for its own merit and then convince himself as to which are worth pursuing.

I will close with a personal comment in regard to two of the individuals involved with this post.  Daniel and Michael (Misha) are true historians and gentlemen.  I for one am always impressed with their wealth of information.

With respect to all,

Brad LeMay

P.S.  Did anyone wonder why the Guard stars on the pieces I mentioned were incorrect despite the other parts being original?  Apparently when the group of items was sent to the west for sale, all of the high quality stars were sold separately.  Several showed up with the addition of a back plate and pin masquerading as a breast star of St. Andrew.  Amazing but true.

Brad LeMay
Title: Re: Another ebay helmet?
Post by: Daniel Briere on March 26, 2005, 06:03:14 PM
Thank you Brad for your kind words and amazing (but very sad) story. It confirms the feeling I had about the Semenovsky shako (or should I now say Grenadersky with various other parts?). And it provides the answer to what has been a major riddle for me: apparently genuine headgear with incorrect parts, which casted doubts on the whole pieces (not to mention the honesty of the dealers). They didn’t look like fakes or repros but didn’t make much sense to me. Now they do!

It’s very unfortunate they haven’t been reassembled properly. I guess they are now scattered all over the world, so putting all the original parts back together would no doubt be a major global puzzle!

As for Guard’s star masquerading as a Star of St. Andrew, now that you mention it, I think I have seen one just like that. I was puzzled by it, as it’s quality wasn’t as high as what should be expected for such rare orders.

Best regards and Happy Easter!.