Original Vietcong Helmets
History and Description
These helmets were used by the Vietcong (also known as Viet Cong), a political and military organisation based in South Vietnam and Cambodia which fought the Southern Vietnamese government and the United States during the Vietnam War (1959 – 1976.)
In use they were covered with fabric which could be used to hold camouflage material. As with all pith helmets, the crown is ventilated, and could be soaked with water in order to cool the wearer’s head and provide protection from the sun.
Guide For Collectors
The main models of the pith-helmet were British and French, and the versions used depended on which nation had colonised the region. Due to the colonial history of Vietnam, the version used by the Vietcong was based on that worn by French colonial forces before WW2.
Characteristically broader brimmed than designs based on the British model, they have deep “bills” front and back to provide maximum shade for the eyes and nape of the neck.
Due to the quantity of ex-military issue helmets in circulation, and their practicality, these hats have continued to be widely worn by Vietnamese civilians. They were often worn by motor-cyclists. However, their popularity has been dented since 2007 due to the introduction of a law requiring motor-cyclists to wear standard crash-helmets.
Pith helmets are still commonly worn by civilians in Vietnam. Large numbers of unauthenticated helmets, in surprisingly good condition, can be found for low prices on eBay. However, these are usually modern models sold by Vietnamese traders.
Given the decades which have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, the buyer is more likely to find authentic models being sold by fellow collectors, than they are to find them being sold directly by Vietnamese sellers.
A website specializing in military collectibles is the LK Military website, which in April 2012 offered a white Vietcong pith helmet in poor condition for the price of $1200.
In October 2006 two Vietcong helmets were sold by Regency-Superior Ltd for the price of $960.
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