AntiqueFootball's April 2016 Artifact of the Month is a circa 1916-1918 Wright & Ditson Princeton Model Head Helmet. The helmet sold on EBay on March 8, 2016 for $1,260.00. According to the seller, the buyer didn't pay for the helmet, and the seller resold it on March 31, 2016 for $1,200.00. This example is relatively rare in that it bears the Wright & Ditson logo embossed on the forehead. Wright & Ditson didn't sell a Princeton-style harness in 1915, and by 1919, Wright & Ditson had merged with Victor Sporting Goods and all leather goods were stamped Victor, Wright & Ditson. Therefore, the head helmet dates to between 1916 and 1918.
This example is in fair condition with some leather dryness and cracking evident and missing interior stitching and chin strap.
About the Princeton Head Harness
Manufactured by Reach, Spalding, Wright & Ditson, and Rawlings between 1912 and 1929, the Princeton model head helmet was made popular by the fact that it was the style worn by Princeton University. The Princeton was a lightweight leather harness with minimal padding, designed to maximize air flow to the crown of the head. The crown of the Princeton helmet was attached to the body at four points, leaving a air gap along the crown. First manufactured by Spalding in 1912, the No. P was described as:
Other Princeton Examples
Approximately 10-15 examples of Princeton head helmets have come to market over the past 5 years, selling in the $750 to $4,500 range depending on condition and style. The majority of these examples have been the more common Rawlings No. 177 models, which were marketed and sold for a longer period of time than other brands (until 1929).
Solid brown leather, crown open all around. Padded only at top and around ears. Cut high at back of neck. The style we supplied to Princeton.
A Brown football player wearing a Princeton head helmet, 1914
Rawlings No. 177 Princeton Head Helmet, 1924
Circa 1900 leather head harness with Princeton style construction
Reach No. OP, Reach Fall & Winter Catalog for 1916
Spalding No. P, Princeton Fall & Winter Catalog for 1912
Reach No. OP, sold for $4,500.00, Hunt Auctions, 2009
Princeton Head Helmet, sold for $866, Hunt Auctions, 2011
Princeton Head Helmet, sold for $1,200, EBay 2011
Rawlings Princeton Head Helmet, $1,526, EBay, 2010
Princeton Head Harness, Tibi Collection
Princeton Head Harness, Unknown Manufacturer, EBay, 2010