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

    Helmet Books and References:  History of the German Helmet First Edition

The First Edition Cover

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The History of the German Steel Helmet: 1916-1945 by Ludwig Baer

Published in the 1980's this book is considered by many collectors as the definitive work (or classic "bible") for all information on the subject of German steel helmets.  Printed by Bender Publishing, the book's text and photographs cover the entire history of the German helmet from inception to the last version prototyped in 1944.  The author is a noted German historian who has researched more than 80% of what is known about German helmets.

The First Edition (cover printed at left) has long been out of print and not easy to locate.  However, Bender Publishing recently reprinted the book with a new cover.  Prior to the reprint release, this older book commanded values of $125 to $150 for second hand editions.  Most of these books were sold on internet auctions.  Following the reprint, the demand for the First Edition dropped off considerably as well as the book's overall market value.  Copies can now be purchased for around $50 US.

Although the Second Edition was released in 2001, much to the surprise of the collecting community the publisher reprinted the book without changing or updating the text or photographs.

Although many collectors consider this book the "ultimate authority" on German steel helmets, the book actually features a handful of historical comments that are incorrect based on more recent work in this area.  In addition, several helmets photographed in the book have surfaced as reported "fakes" that had not been previously detected by their owners.  Many of the helmets in the book are now in the collections of modern collectors having been sold at high prices as a result of having been pictured in this book. 

While possibly the best overall book on the subject, collectors should be careful to consider any publication the absolute authority on any subject matter.  The errors in this book, although few, clearly make this point true.

This book is also found in a German language edition which includes better descriptions, more photographs, and additional information not found in the English version.  The book is only published in hardback edition.  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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