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

    Collector Topics: Rare and Unusual

Photo:  An M1940 double decal Waffen-SS helmet bearing two1 overlapping layers of standard first pattern helmet decals.

Rare and Unusual Helmets

Occasionally collectors are confronted with the dilemma of attempting to explain or identify a rare or unique helmet.  People interested in historical artifacts of any kind are familiar with this aspect of collecting.  Most collectors come to the quick conclusion that any thing that is not "textbook" by their collecting standards or knowledge must therefore be a "fake or reproduction."

Unfortunately this is not always the case as over the years a number of rare or unique helmets (to include insignia) have surfaced that are in fact original, but do not have any historical information that might suggest what the helmet was really used for.  These items are truly unique in the sense that they may in fact be the last remaining versions of their kind.  Often times no information is available to assist with an accurate identification or plausible explanation behind the item.

Today many fakes are indeed created with this concept in mind.  However some things can not be faked and there do exist helmets that seem to defy the normal types of Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS helmets.  These can include unknown variations worn by foreign volunteers, Wehrmacht helmets bearing unique unit crests, shields, or decals, or simply odd helmet shells that seem "one of a kind" in their own right.

This section of is dedicated to the controversial and sometimes unknown variations that seem to go unexplained within collecting circles.  While collectors often dismiss these helmets as "counterfeits" without first making a historical investigation, this section of the website will attempt to propose reasonable explanations that might fit candid hypotheses as to why these variations exist. 

Readers are encouraged to submit photographs of their helmets in the event they truly meet the definition of "rare and unusual.".  When possible, reader submitted photos and information will be shared in the hopes of creating dialogue within the collecting community.  Please contact the webmaster for further information in the event you have a rare or unique helmet that you feel might fit the context of this section of


1 The Waffen-SS helmet depicted above appears to have been a smooth finished double decal M1940 helmet to which a layer of camouflage was applied.  The camouflage was then removed and afterwards a new set of decals applied on top of the original decals that had worn away.  Both decal sets are Waffen-SS.  Helmets of this type often defy the well-known collectors' myths that abound within the hobby.  This helmet was found on a battlefield in Russia.


Each section of 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 historical facts pertaining to rare and unusual helmets.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Main Topics

Austrian Guard Helmet

Hindenburg Guard Helmet

Medical Personnel Helmets

Ostbataillon Helmet

Souvenir and Veteran Painted

Unattributed Helmet Netting

    Collector Topics




Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems


Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual



An unusual camouflaged low rim M1940 single decal Heer helmet that is made to the exact standards of a typical combat helmet save for the shallow skirt.  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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