Many reproduction buckles look similar to
wartime originals. However under close examine they are not
exactly the same as originals in overall dimensions, quality, metal
type, or coloring. The photos below show all of the most common
reproductions that exist.
Reproduction buckles and leather chinstraps
were produced as far back as the 1970's. Some reproduction
chinstraps actually utilize original chinstrap buckles. However,
this is not very common due to the fact that there is no single source
for large quantities of original unused chinstrap buckles. As a
result, those interested in replicating helmet chinstraps have had the
correct buckle dies remanufactured so that they can create a chinstrap
that looks similar to an original. In some cases the dies are made
using an original buckle. This can produce a reasonable example
although the finished product looks as though it was cast from a mold.
Until recently the only reproduction buckles
and chinstraps were manufactured in bare metal. Most
reproduction chinstrap buckles are not produced using painted metal
finishes, although one might suspect that this will be the next phase of
reproduction artistry yet to hit the collectors' market place. Few
have been reproduced using aluminum as found on some original pre-war
buckles manufactured in Germany. In addition, large quantities of
former West German helmet chinstraps have been disassembled and the
buckle removed for use in making reproduction chinstraps. In some
cases the buckle has been repainted.
The examples below are all relatively common
in the collectors' marketplace. No doubt some of the examples
shown have been sold as "original." It is important to note that
original wartime leather never smells as though it is new. In
addition, most original buckles show heavy wear, patina, and in some
cases rust. This has been effectively reproduced by counterfeit artists
who have discovered that chemical aging of both metal and leather can
produce a result that is similar to that found on aged originals.
While the examples below are shown in "mint" (unused) condition, all of
the buckles have been observed in heavily aged, chemically deteriorated
examples that have been sold as original.