Headgear & Helmets

Headgear and helmets are a very popular item among militaria collectors. There are many varied types of quality helmet and military caps including tactical and army helmets, but also traditional and ceremonial ones. They make a prominent addition any militaria collection.

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Militaria helmets and headgear

Military helmets and headgear have been an important part of military gear for centuries, serving to protect soldiers' heads from injury during combat and other dangerous situations. Military helmets and headgear served multiple purposes, some differed to distinguish ranks while others were used by commanders to determine what units were on the battlefield.


What is Ceremonial Military Headwear?

Ceremonial headwear typically serves to distinguish rank and authority and to honour the service and sacrifice of members of the armed forces.

Ceremonial militaria headdresses were often worn by military officers and high-ranking officials during formal ceremonies or events. These headdresses were often made of high-quality materials such as metal, leather, feathers, and intricate embroidery or beadwork.

Their design and style varied depending on the country, culture, and era. Today, antique ceremonial militaria headdresses are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts of military history and culture.


Examples of Ceremonial Militaria Headwear

One of the most recognisable examples of a ceremonial headwear is the British Bearskin. This tall fur cap is worn by the Foot Guards and is made from the fur of the Canadian black bear. The Bearskin has been a symbol of the British military since the 17th century and is still worn by soldiers on ceremonial occasions today.

One unique example of an antique ceremonial helmet from the UK is the Colchester Cavalry helmet. Dating back to the 17th century, this ornate helmet was worn by cavalry soldiers in ceremonial processions and is highly valued by collectors.

The United States military has several types of ceremonial headwear, including the peaked cap (known as a "wheel cap" in the Army and "combination cap" in the Navy), the beret (worn by special forces and some units of the Army), and the Garrison cap (a flat cap worn by Army officers). In addition, the United States Marine Corps has a distinctive dress blue uniform with a white peaked cap, while the United States Air Force has a blue peaked cap with a silver emblem.

The Canadian military has several types of ceremonial headwear, including the bearskin worn by the Canadian Grenadier Guards, the blue beret worn by the Royal Canadian Navy, and the blue wedge cap worn by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Russian military has several distinctive hats for ceremonial purposes, including the ushanka (a fur hat with ear flaps) and the kubanka (a traditional Cossack hat).

The Japanese military has a ceremonial hat called the shako, which is worn by the Imperial Guard and other ceremonial units.

In addition to these examples, many other countries have their own unique styles of military headwear for ceremonial purposes. These hats often have intricate designs and are made with high-quality materials to reflect the importance of the occasion.


How do I Start Collecting Military Helmets and Headwear?

If you are interested in starting a collection of militaria badges and insignia, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, it's important to research the history and significance of the helmets and headwear you are interested in collecting.

This can help you understand the context in which they were used and their importance within the military organisation.

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How to care for your Militaria Helmets and Headwear

Antique military helmets and headwear require special care to preserve their historical value and aesthetic appeal. Here are some tips on how to care for these items:

  • Handle with care: When handling antique military helmets, make sure to handle them with care. Avoid holding them by the chinstrap or the visor as this could cause damage to these delicate parts.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Keep the helmets away from direct sunlight as prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the colours to fade and the material to become brittle.
  • Use a soft cloth: Use a soft cloth to clean the helmet. Do not use any abrasive materials as this could scratch the surface of the helmet.
  • Avoid water: Avoid exposing the helmet to water or any other liquids as this could cause damage to the helmet's material or the paint.
  • Store properly: Store the helmet in a cool, dry place away from moisture and dust. If possible, store the helmet in a display case or on a padded surface to prevent it from being damaged.
  • Avoid restoration: Do not attempt to restore the helmet yourself. Restoration should only be done by a professional conservator who has experience working with antique military helmets.


Overall, collecting military helmets and headwear can be a rewarding hobby for those with an interest in military history and artefacts.

With careful research, purchasing, and care, you can build a collection that showcases the important role these items have played in military history.


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