German-Helmets.com  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

    Fakes and Reproductions: Basic Tips for Collectors

Basic Tips

Much advice can be given the beginning collector regarding how to identify an original helmet from a fake.  So numerous are the things to remember that the prospect of finding a decent, entirely authentic helmet often seems like the impossible.  Even so, there are many original helmets still available.  With a little luck, some solid advice, and a few dollars a person can find a decent helmet to purchase that will hold its value as a historical item and investment.  New collectors should bear in mind the following items as they consider whether or not to purchase a helmet.

  • Original helmets that are "near un-issued" or in "mint condition" are not very common.  Most original examples in this kind of condition are owned by intermediate and advanced collectors and are rarely offered for sale.  Occasionally good examples do come up for sale however.  Bear in mind that many counterfeit helmets are designed to look un-issued in order to bring in higher values.

  • The decals, paint, chinstrap, and leather lining system on a helmet are generally the keys to discovering whether or not the helmet has been tampered with and whether or not it is original.  Close examination of these components are crucial.  Too many collectors focus only on the decal insignia when attempting to determine a helmet's authenticy.

  • A common outlet for the sale of "fraudulent" helmets is on-line auctions.  This includes public auctions and many of the well known militaria auctions.  Not everything in an auction is original no matter what the reputation of the auction house.

  • Extremely rare helmets are very uncommon.  Most on the market are in fact reproductions both old and new.  If originals are found, the sellers tend to be collectors or military collectable dealers who know what they have.  As a result, the helmet will be priced very high.

  • The quality of "forgeries" continues to improve and they range from the very poor to the near perfect.  Fraud artists continue to advance their trade and artistic ability.  One must anticipate that forgeries are likely to continue in this hobby indefinitely.

  • People "faking" helmets for fraudulent gain are generally well organized and work as teams.  Others are single individuals working on their own.  Over the course of a few years, one can easily spot the same "handiwork" from various artists.  They tend to replicate the same things over and over like a good painter.

  • "Fake" helmets sold as "originals" for fraudulent gain come from all over the world. However the majority appear to originate from Eastern Europe, the United States, and Great Britain.  Many modern fakes surface from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Hungary.  One only needs to watch the auction listings to determine this.

  • Dealing with a reputable vendor or collector is very important.  Obtaining some form of refund agreement is also key.

  • Having a reference library of books on the subject of German helmets is an absolute necessity that no serious collector should be without.  However collectors should be aware that many of the well-known publications contain some errors including photographs of known fakes.

  • There is no substitute for handling and examining original helmets as a learning tool.

  • Participating in online chat forums or military collector forums is a good method for learning about German helmets.  However not everyone who participates on these lists are "experts."  Many people who contribute to forums such as these are simply doing so in an effort to build their image and control various aspects of the market.  Be cautious about believing everything you read on the comments posted on collector forums.

Overview

Each section of German-Helmets.com is divided into separate Information Tracks that outline important details, facts, and historical notes pertaining to steel helmets used by the German Armed Forces during World War II.  

Information Tracks are organized by subject matter and their content is directly related to the service arm or organization to which each topic is related.  Topic areas that bridge one subject matter to another are cross linked within each Information Track.

This Information Track provides collector facts pertaining to modern helmet fakes and reproductions.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Reproduction Topics

Fakes and Reproductions Main

Basic Tips for Collectors

Reproduction Buckles

Reproduction Chinstraps

Reproduction Decals

Reproduction Dome Stamps

Reproduction Helmet Labels

Reproduction Liners

How to Identify a Fake

    Collector Topics

Chinstraps

Camouflage

Decals

Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems

Paint

Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual

Appraisals
 
 
 
This reproduction police eagle looks convincing.  However originals never had a pebbled background behind the swastika.

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