The wire camouflage market
Wire camouflage helmets always fetched top dollar for as long as I collect but where 10 years ago a lot trickled over from old collections with solid woodwork provenance the majority of wire helmets beings sold today lack this provenance. Authentic wire camo helmets are rare and hard to authenticate. While camo paint can give us more clues , a piece of wire is just that.
There is good money in wire camouflage helmets and that puts them in the same place like Red cross , SS helmets and multi color camouflage helmets. Right in the crosshairs of frauds.
Getting a consensus
A lot of wire helmets are posted on forums for review. Not even 10% get all round positive feedback. Most get mixed feedback.
Why do collectors not see eye to eye on these helmets ? There is no guidebook what to look for so collectors will have different views on what they like to see.
The fakes don’t help
If collectors collaborate with books on camouflage helmets like the garbage which was published a few years it’s no surprise that fakers keep on having a job.
This terribly bad book is a good example where mixing good with bad stuff can make bad stuff good. Confusing isn’t it ?
While today some of these fake wire camo’s are easily dismissed because of an incorrect decal this was not so 20 years or more ago. It is interesting to look at the paint , wire and aging techniques.
You can imagine now the story on the decals is out that fakers have moved on…
Glass half full or half empty ?
Wire helmet collecting has never been easy but with the internet and today’s prices it’s become more difficult finding that unique piece for your collection. Despite the fact many wire helmets are being offered for sale. This should be seen as warning that the market is following demand. Demand of rare helmets can be met in 2 ways.
- Collectors see opportunities to cash in and sell a couple from their collections.
- Fakers see opportunities in the rise in demand and drop a few ‘new’ ones in the market
Are you paranoid ?
Let’s not be gullible and think that the SS Champagne rune debacle from 2 years back was the only crooked thing that’s been constructed to help you depart with your hard earned cash. Similar fraudulent constructions have been discovered in other areas of Third Reich collecting. Visors , badges , SS honor rings just to name a few.
Fake camo’s have been doctored up for decades , even in the eighties and probably earlier. There genuinely are people that take pride in it.
This fake wire cage is being sold for 6 bucks and is available in several sizes , it can be buried and will show age after a few weeks.
Even aged it will not fool most collectors but this shows there is a market for it.
Below are some examples , if you want to have fun look at the photos and see what you think. The caption will tell you.
I deliberately did not add a 100% authentic wire to the mix above. You can view a few examples on the Camo page of my website.
Where is that Unicorn ?
The point of this article is simple , genuine wire camo’s are extremely rare. They are not available in quantity but they are faked in quantity on many levels. There are quite a few chicken wire helmets available on the market as I write this. Do your homework and do not spend your cash on a fata morgana.
To be continued I’m sure 🙂
Thanks for this interesting post Frank. Fascinating reading.
good article Frank, i have two in my collection but they are river find by my friend. that’s why i trust them.
Thanks Jan , provenance is important.
You’re right frank if I’m buying a new helmet I concentrate on the helmet not the wire it is getting harder to tell the difrence even obvious things like ware on the paint were the wire has rubbed over the years can be faked . Billy
I wonder if i will ever own one for the reason you wisely pointed on your very nice article Frank. I wish they were easy to spot as the book you showed. Andrea
Thanks Andrea 😉 Same here. One day it will happen with patience 😉
Hi Frank, great article. Well done!