The M-16 German Helmet from Right Next Door
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that veterans took the time to send home so much stuff. I guess it proves the old cliche that “to the victor, goes the spoils.” The post office made it easy enough for doughboys and GIs to send their souvenirs home by allowing free postage during the war and setting up local post offices right on military bases. I’ve encountered many helmets and other relics where the soldier simply wrote the address he wanted it sent right on the item itself.
One such helmet that I encountered at a gun show in Allentown, Pennsylvania, really caught my attention. It was a standard M-16 German helmet shell with not much going for it except where it had been sent. The address painted on the exterior of the shell was to Miss Agnes Higgins, 21 Dix Street, Worcester, Mass. I stopped dead in my tracks because I had attended industrial arts classes while I was in elementary school in the 1950’s at, no other than, Dix Street School.
The next time I was in Worcester, I checked and discovered that 21 Dix St. was right next door to the school I attended. The helmet had been right under my nose but it ended up on a table at a gun show 250 miles away, 30 years later! Needless to say, I didn’t quibble about the $25 asking price as I eagerly snatched it up. It was only after I paid his full price that I related my story. The dealer looked at me like I had two heads as he obviously did not share my enthusiasm with the importance of this discovery. Chances are we will probably not find this book on his bookshelf either.
You will find this, and hundreds of other personal collecting stories in Bill Shea's book series:
"The Making of a Collectorholic"