Were is the best
place to buy a German helmet?
German helmets can
be found in a number places. In most cases, a wide variety of
helmets can be found on the Internet through vendor websites that
specialize in this type of collectable. In addition, many
potential buyers look for online auctions where they can bid to win a
type of helmet with a wide degree of choice based on hundreds of
listings. However, it is important to note that not all helmets
listed on websites or online auctions are in fact authentic. The
number of fraudulent helmets sold on the Internet is very high.
Buyers should be careful about which vendors they deal with. Some
estimates would say that that only 2 out of 10 helmets sold on online
auctions are in fact unaltered originals. That means you have only
a 20% chance of getting something original through an online auction.
The remaining 80% being very high quality forgeries or simply doctored
helmets that have lost their true value by having been altered in some
Should I buy a
helmet at a gun or military show?
you will find a good number of helmets at various prices by attending
one of these shows. The selection tends to be reasonable as many
collectors and full-time dealers make a full or partial living from
their businesses. Shows of this kind provide an opportunity to
compare prices from one seller's table to the next as well as an
opportunity to "bargain" a better price for a helmet. However,
recent trends indicate that most sellers mark up the price of their
items 20% to 50% when attending shows. It is not uncommon to see a
$350 helmet priced at $1,000 at a large militaria show. Therefore,
you should be prepared to pay a higher price or be ready to negotiate a
better deal when necessary. Many collectors and dealers will
consider full or partial trade if the items you offer are interesting to
them. If attending these shows, look for individual collectors who
are selling some of their items at lower prices. Many good helmets
can be found that are not overpriced if you hunt through the offerings.
At the same time, be certain to shop all the tables. It is not
uncommon to find two helmets that are identical in overall condition
that are priced hundreds of dollars apart from one another. A final word
of caution relates to forgeries and counterfeit helmets. Shows of
these kind have many helmets that are both original and counterfeit.
A recent informal sampling of helmets offered at a major US show
revealed that at least 50% of the helmets offered were in fact
counterfeits or altered originals.
Should I buy a
helmet that has some sort of guarantee that it is original?
When possible it is
best to buy a helmet that has an inspection period that allows you the
opportunity to return it for a full refund. Most sellers offer
some sort of guarantee with an inspection period between three and five
days. Other more established dealers who make a living from this
hobby offer extended six-month inspection periods or 'lifetime'
guarantees. If purchasing a helmet without a guarantee, be certain
that you know what you are buying. It is not wise to purchase
something and than push or force a return if you are not satisfied.
Do your homework in advance and purchase items that you are certain are
authentic. If purchasing an item at a show, be certain that you
get a business card from the seller in the event that you change your
mind. It is also wise to ask in advance if an item can be returned
when purchasing directly at a show. In some cases, collectors at
shows have no intention of offering a refund in the event you leave the
show and later come back weeks or months later unsatisfied. It is
also not wise to push or force a return well after the inspection period
has expired. Some buyers feel that they have a 'right' to force a
return even though the inspection period has long since expired --
sometimes years later. In other words, they feel they can ignore
the terms of the transaction at any time if they change their mind.
Be certain to follow the seller's instructions and only make the
purchase if you are fully knowledgeable about the return policies.
It is not courteous to demand a refund if you made the purchase in good
standing and now wish to reverse your decision outside the terms of the
What is a
A "lifetime" guarantee is an agreement between you and the seller that states that
you can return the helmet at any time for a full refund. This is
an open-ended agreement that never expires until the day the seller
dies. What does this mean? If you purchase a helmet from an
established dealer who is 55 years old, essentially you have until the
day he dies to return the helmet for a full refund. Given that the
average life expectancy of an adult male is about 77 years, this mean
you just purchased a 22 year guarantee of authenticy. After the
seller is deceased, your guarantee period has expired and the helmet is
your's forever. Many large full-time vendors have now adopted
"lifetime" guarantee principles and warranties. The theory is that
this will build confidence in their existing and future customers,
maintain loyalty, and increase credibility. The entire concept has
often been debated among collectors and vendors alike. Some
problems with the 'lifetime' guarantee are inherent in the overall
Your's or the seller's? In most cases, the sellers.
But what happens in the event that you die and your spouse wants a
refund as part of an estate reduction -- is the refund privaledge
still valid or does it just apply to you as the former buyer?
expectancy? What if you vendor dies unexpectedly a year
after you purchase the helmet? Can you force a return by suing
the deceased vendor's spouse or do you need to make a claim on his
estate? Do you have to get a 'statement of health' from your
vendor to feel comfortable with his personal estimate of life
Is this legal?
Did you sign a legally approved document that will hold up in claims
court in the event you decide you want a refund after the seller dies?
incapacity? In the event the seller lives to be the age of
88 and is senile, incapacitated and relegated to living in an adult
day care facility, do you feel comfortable approaching him and
demanding a refund? Will you even be able to find him?
Will the family of the seller hold this agreement up if they do not
have the money to provide you? Will anyone in the seller's
family even remember this agreement or honor it?
These are the issues
that are often debated when it comes to this concept. Suffice it
say that despite these worries, many collectors and sellers feel
comfortable with this type of purchasing agreement. Collectors
tend to like the concept because it implies an open-ended 'warrantee'
like the kind found in other major purchases. Be aware of the fact
that many fraudulent sellers who deal in counterfeit helmets have also
adopted the concept of 'lifetime' guarantees. Their approach is to
convince their potential buyers that their offerings are in fact 100%
authentic. In the event that there is any level of
dissatisfaction, the item can be returned without fear of retribution.
How can I be
certain what I am buying is original?
The best advice is
to get to know your hobby well. Be certain you can identify known
reproductions from originals. The German-Helmets.com website
offers some advice
in this area which may be beneficial if you are new to the helmet