In this edition I like to start with fake chinstraps added to good helmets. The easier Czech humpback fakes are occasionally sold together with good helmets. A good chinstrap adds good value to a helmet but a fake one will cost you. Keep your eyes open before clicking ‘add to basket’.
The helmet comes complete with a blackened leather chinstrap with a natural aluminum pronged buckle and retaining studs. Chinstrap has Koln makers mark with a 1941 date. Nice untouched helmet is a good large size.
The chinstrap looks great remaining completely intact and is maker marked “Luttringhausen & Co. Klon 1940”. The steel buckle works well.
BLACK CROSS MILITARIA
This SS helmet for sale for 3655 $ is orginally a no decal M42 that has the fake round bottom decal added.
Some dealers keep on finding their way back on this page. Weitze , the militaria version of Alibaba.com really needs to educate his team on how a real German helmet looks like or at least on how a real decals should look like. Here’s an authentic WW2 Czech helmet you don’t want to buy because some idiot stuck a fake decal on it.
This M34 which is also a nice original shell has been restored with a fake Heer decal , the tricolor could be good.
MILITARY ANTIQUES STOCKHOLM
This fake TENO helmet is in fact a denazified authentic WW2 feuerschutz helmet. These were produced in very large quantities and many fall prey to unscrupulous persons that add fake decals or painted insignias for monetary gain. You can still see the scraping marks of where the original decals were removed.
I never ever heard of this website before and maybe for the best , the website itself seems to have been coded right after the internet was invented. Navigating through the website is stressful and finding some helmets to review took me some time. Also the website is UNSAFE , it has no safety certificate. After reviewing the helmet inventory I must give this site an UNSAFE to buy from certificate on top.
This single decal transitional is for sale for 1850$ , the decal is a fake and so is the chinstrap.
The below ET M42 Waffen SS sports the Round bottom fake SS runes. Unfortunately already SOLD.
Here’s what the site owner wrote.
DESCRIPTION: Here is the 100-percent real thing; a fine Mod-1942 Waffen-SS helmet with the correct number and letter stamps. It’s complete with regulation chinstrap and pigskin liner. The decal is correct and you can be absolutely sure of authenticity. It was checked out by the experts at the S.O.S Show and no one, but no one, doubted anything about it at, and they were all impressed with it. You know how hard they are to come by and this is the best we have seen in many a year. Here is the one you can feel 100-percent comfortable with. No one can reasonably fault it and we will supply a letter of authentication with it. This is almost the ultimate and it is the ultimate for the collector who wants the true Waffen-SS combat helmet instead of the double decal or dress type. We are thrilled to find it and you will be thrilled to own it.
Let’s put Germania Militaria to rest with this horrible DRK helmet , fake decal and the ever present fake labels in such helmets.
As usual looking forward to your comments , also if you haven’t joined yet don’t forget to register at https://germanhelmetvault.com/forum/ my new platform for German WW2 helmets collectors. If you have questions about collecting helmets or a single helmet you can post it there or if you just want to share helmets from your collection.
Also if you haven’t joined yet don’t forget to register at https://germanhelmetvault.com/forum/ my new platform for German WW2 helmet collectors. The place to ask questions about your helmet or share photos of the helmets in your collection with other collectors.
Since the official launch on the 18th of December we have had many collectors from all over the world joining up.
Hello everyone , I am happy to announce that I finally made the decision to add a new feature to my website. It’s one that required some extra investment both in time and money but those that know me know that I always get excited about new projects. The goal of this project is to create interaction between my website and those that visit my website. Since I started the German Helmet Vault I have noticed that there are actually quite a lot of people not part of an online community and I get a lot of e-mails asking for advice. In order to fill that gap I decided to launch a small platform to which you can register and where you can chat about helmets , ask questions or show helmets from your collection. And no , it’s not just another forum. You will notice it’s much simpler and to the point , no bells and whistles.
I invited Andrea aka Sysyphus to join as moderator. For those whom do not know Andrea he is a very passionate German WW2 helmet collector from Italy. He has an intelligent and scientific approach to collecting and is very well know to those that visit the international forums.
The decal design is simple , just 2 black runes on a silver black bordered shield. SS helmets are highly sought after by collectors and demand much higher prices than Wehrmacht helmets. These 2 things bring them into the crosshairs of fraudulent people. SS decals have been reproduced as early as the seventies.
In the 20st century collectors spoke only about the 1st pattern runes and the 2nd pattern runes. Approximately 15 years ago the first books were released from which we learned there are actually 5 different SS decal designs with each design specifically assigned to a helmet factory (2 in case of EF). Unfortunately some of the research was erroneous and believed all 5 helmet factories produced SS helmets when in fact only Eisenhüttenwerk Thale (ET) , Quist Esslingen (Q) and Emaillierwerke Fulda (EF) produced them. The decals placed on NS and SE/hkp helmets called Champagne runes were proven false over time. You can read more about the how and why here. So we are left with 4 SS decals to study.
The Quist decal – Only found on Quist made helmets.
The ET decal – Found on ET made helmets and also EF helmets
The EF style decal – Found only on EF made helmets
The Pocher decal – On all but not factory applied except on the Medium duty single vent Edelstahl helmets.
The ET/ckl runic decal
ET already started placing these decals in 1938 on their M35’s and placed them on M40’s and M42’s up till 1943.
There’s one thing to watch out for. I have not come across any M42 with ET maker stamp that carried an SS decal. All the M42 with SS decals are ckl stamped. Maybe they do exist but I have not been able to find one yet.
EF only used this decal very sparsely on their M42’s. EF is decal wise a complicated factory. They also used 3 different Heer decals and 2 different Kriegsmarine decals. Their Luftwaffe decal however is unique to them as is the so-called EF runic decal.
The EF runic decal
This decal is unique and I so far have only observed 1 M40 SS by EF which is in the Hicks SS steel book but there are no close-ups of the decal. You will find this decal predominantly on the M42’s by EF. If anyone of my friends that reads this has an EF M40 SS I would love to see it. This decal was not used on M35’s.
The Quist runic decal
It also looks like Quist started to apply these decals from 1938 onward up to 1943 in the same way that ET did. There are no exceptions like with ET or EF. Quist continued to produce M40’s when the other factories changed over to the M42.
Just one thing to watch for is the decal drop date. Make sure to check rear marked Quist M40’s with the lot number list.
The Pocher runic decal
I kept the best for last. This is the decal that has no rules so it’s important to take extra care when you do an inspection of a helmet with this decal.
The only thing you can take for granted is that it is the only SS decal used on Medium duty Edelstahl helmets.
You can see this decal on M35’s by Q , ET and EF. For example , a lot of black overpainted M35’s will have the Pocher decal. Typically reissued SS helmets will carry a Pocher decal but again mostly M35’s. Following the reissue logic it is possible to find an NS or SE/hkp helmet with a Pocher decal. (although I cannot think of one example).
The Pocher shield was also used on M40’s and M42’s. Often applied over decals of another branch and just like any other reissue decal the Pocher is also found on a myriad of other helmet types like the M16/M18 and appears to have been used on commercial/civic shells as well.
Decal study always boils down to looking and comparing. Each decal shown above is unique. If someone shows you a Q decal without showing you the shell you should be able to say that it is a Quist decal. If then the shell turns out to be an ET shell you were for sure looking at a fake Quist decal. Sounds pretty simple isn’t it ?
That is why it is important to look at the full picture , it is not just about the decal. It is about the maker , the lot number and the other components.
If I see a bad photo of an SS helmet and I can already see the liner is fake , it’s already game over. I don’t need to see more.
That’s it for now , keep collecting ! And as always your feedback is appreciated.
Some bigger names feature in this episode of Tracking the fakes. It’s incomprehensible to me why some helmets get posted for sale while there are viable concerns with originality or some which are at least worth a serious discussion.
A helmet that does not follow factory logic must have some kind of provenance if you want to sell it as 100% certified real. Previous ownership is not provenance , it can be part of it but it is not the start of it. The same with extremely rare helmets no-one so far has done any meaningful research on and which exist more as copy than authentic. You just don’t sell helmets you think are real , you sell helmets that are real.
Enjoy this article and thank you in advance for your comments.
Gottlieb Militaria auctions
This a typical dealer that I have seen selling fakes between the good stuff for decades.
A couple of years ago he also started an auction website for militaria , it has come up with selling fakes quite often (and I just look at helmets).
Like most dealers he wrote a book. It is every dealers dream to be considered an authority on a subject. Gottlieb wrote about SS honor rings. Of course he is no authority on honor rings but now some people think he is. You can read more on the subject if you click (and register) here.
Below some fakes that have been caught , just this year only. The DD Heer was auctioned of just recently.
This website came to my attention a few months back when someone put one of their helmets up for discussion on a forum. The lower than normal price for that helmet (and other items on the website) are a huge red flag. Other than that I did not think much of it but recently this website popped back up on my radar because of Nick the administrator of the Lowlands militaria forum. He had contact with the owner of the website on some of his items and received very odd answers to his questions.
It reads like a ‘how to spot a fraud’ pamphlet
You could not get more detailed photos of any of the items on the website , the reason being that the items were stowed away in boxes. A pretty stupid business model I would call that.
You can not go there and look at the items (or pick them up)
The website states as location Luxemburg but the items are not in Luxemburg or so the owner claims
Prices are suspiciously low
On the Wehrmacht awards forum you can read a topic of a victim of this fraudster. You can read it here if you are a paying member.
Watch out for this transtional helmet with fake Kriegsmarine decal. Priced at 2500 GBP.
German Helmets Inc
A popular site from a dealer that wrote a pretty good book on German helmets.
But this helmet ?
This is a late rear marked Q66 single decal army helmet with a three-color spray camouflage pattern applied. The helmet shell took some sort of hit at the top from which a significant crack developed. I have to say that this helmet is by no means a “one-looker”; given the condition of the paint. I took some time with this and scrutinized it fairly well. I believe it is a good one. Although I can just hear the forum guys calling me names over this one. $1250.00
German helmets Inc
It’s by no means a one looker original , I agree. But it is a one looker fake.
Starting with the brand new paint , the crack that has zero paint loss along the edge and yes a late war Q shell , rear stamped Q mark with a lot number past the decal application point. This helmet is not even worth a discussion let alone 1200 USD.
This site has some strange offerings , first off this Wolfsangel SS runes M42.
It’s being sold as an I think it is original. Quite funny that. Here’s what the dealer says.
I have never owned one, but in hand this helmet has every appearance of pre-1945 manufacture and wear. (Additionally worth mentioning, NS is the sole known maker for another very unusual helmet type, the ‘Sauerland’ organization’s helmet.) The liner shows a lot of use but is supple. There are no markings discernable. Sale includes my COA. 5950 USD
SS steel website
If it sells for 6K I am sure we will see many more “I think it is original” helmets popping up on dealer websites.
Truth be told if this can be proven as a genuine Wolfangel helmet it’s worth far more than 6K. But that’s just the problem. So far no-one has done an indepth study into these decals and as often more fakes than originals are around to study. Still I believe at least this decal should exhibit the same traits as any other Third Reich printed decal.
It is just typical of how money nuts the militaria world is that a helmet can be sold without even knowing if the decal is real. The fact that the Sauerland decal has been observed only on NS shells has zero bearing on this helmet.
Do your research thoroughly then sell it.
Here’s another oddball from the same website. EF M42.
EF used 2 SS factory decals. The typical EF design runic shield and more uncommon the ET design runic shield.
The decal on this helmet is neither and the seller also acknowledges it. But like with the first helmet some circumstantial provenance is woven around the helmet to explain the not text book decal. It’s a Ukranian so he painted a runic shield on his helmet. Yes could be or someone painted it to increase the value perhaps ? Champagne rune scandal rings a bell ? I say painted because to me it does not look like a waterslide decal.
Here’s the seller’s text.
This rare helmet was a walk-in to a coin shop in Winnipeg Manitoba, purchased by an advanced Canadian collector friend of mine who is very widely known in the community. He sold it to another Canadian friend, who has had it for the 20 years since then. The helmet is an EF66 M42, issued commensurate with the time frame of the significant expansion of SS Volunteer forces from the occupied countries (unfortunately only two digits of the heat lot number can be discerned because of the thick paint of the inscription). With a Sryllic inscription and the fact that there are many Ukranians in Winnipeg, made it a compelling piece to collect. The shell is a size 66 with a size 58 marked liner in very good condition. The original strap is present and in very good condition. The SS runic shield is a variant, which appears manufactured, and bears a strong resemblance to the post-1940 ET pattern shield. Closeups of the design are provided. The name painted in the skirt appears to say “F.J. Nikolai.” Sale includes my 100% lifetime guarantee of authenticity
SS steel website
Military Collectibles Inc
I never quite understand what’s up with websites that can’t even post good photographs of what they are offering. Nor can I understand how they keep in business.
This M42 , even with these crappy photos has a clear fake decal. A badly upgraded M42 no decal like there are many around.
Here’s a similar helmet this time not with a fake decal but with an original Gustav Peiniger post war applied.
Oh never a dull moment when you collect militaria. Plenty of rubbish to go through each time one searches ‘German helmet’ on Google.
This time I got inspired to do another episode of tracking the fakes when someone mentioned Spree Militaria to me. It’s a site I remembered but not frequent. Now I know why.
Sometimes helmets are so ridicously bad that I am amazed someone takes the trouble to photograph them.
Here we go a camouflaged Quist DD Kriegsmarine helmet , this would be a top shelf item in anyone’s collection… If it was authentic… which this one is not.
Because Quist did not produce Kriegsmarine M35’s , because the decals are fake and because the paintjob is so badly done. Still Spree dares to ask 1995 euros for it.
The Luftwaffe helmets on his site are of similar quality bearing the ‘easy fake’ Luftwaffe decal. Mein gott , it is terrible. I would not buy a button from that website.
LION GATE arms and armour
Definitely not a website specialised in selling German helmets but how hard can it be to have one German helmet checked out ?
This Red cross is a total fantasy piece with fantasy decals. It’s a black Feuerschutz helmet that has been upgraded to something more special in order to ask more $$$. They ask 1065 USD !
Ebay and other online Auctions
I always advise new or inexperienced collectors to avoid auction sites as it can end in disaster easily. Auction houses like to present everything with big words , posh representations and you really feel that what you are bidding for will be exactly as they describe. Unfortunately a lot of items are misrepresented or completely fake. Of course there are good helmets there but you need to be able to filter them out. Bad purchases are often not refunded!
One helmet to be extremely wary about is the cloth / canvas / wire camo. These helmets are typical collector traps. Sure German soldiers are observed wearing these type of camo’s but the truth of the matter is extremely few have survived the war and they are easy to fake.
The helmet below recently was on auction and sold for over 4000 euros. The helmet was reviewed one the Wehrmacht awards forum and quite quickly (and justly) dismissed as a fake.
M42 helmet models (especially those with no decals) are a prime target for fakers so when coming across camo’s , red cross painted helmets , wire camo or any other M42 with something that seems rare and unique be very careful.
This helmet on ebay is a good example of a fake camo M42. The supposed Luftwaffe factory color that we see on the inside is clearly not the correct color. The extensive orange oxidation is also a give away as is the reproduction liner. On the exterior again the orange oxidation is an issue.
Weitze , as usual mixes good with ridiculously bad.
Watch out for this Dutch Luftwaffe flakhelfer , it’s the “easy fake” Luftwaffe eagle combo with a fake Hitlerjugend diamond. A combination which is pure fantasy.
Also watch out for Heer helmets being advertised as Kriegsmarine. This is clearly a half toned Heer decal (looks like and Ed Strache decal). So this one is a completely authentic helmet , just not a Kriegsmarine.
Here another one , clearly not Kriegsmarine and there are many more.
Stahlhelme der Kriegsmarine sind nur sehr selten zu finden quoting Weitze 🙂
The transitional Polizei with fake decals I presented in an earlier episode of detecting the fakes is still in his inventory.
Arguably one of the dealers I found the most absurd fake helmets over the past 15 years , myself and many other members posted many topics on this dealer throughout the years. You can read one here (remember to register) : here
The helmet below is for sale today on his website for over 4K USD. It seems the canvas wire crew has been hard at work but still a totally unconvincing helmet.
The final bad boy to add to this blog. First of all this dealer his photos are the worst I have seen which makes it even for me tricky to detect the fakes.
Take a look at this M42 NS Kriegsmarine helmet (NS did not produce Kriegsmarine helmets).
Fake Bigfoot decal and post war paintjob.
This horrible fake red cross helmet is marked as sold (poor buyer) also comes with a fake Bigfoot decal and a fake tricolor. Alarm bells should ring when you come across a Heer or Luftwaffe DD M40.
Fantasy ! (fake adler and also a combination of paint color and eagle to the front that is not commonly observed)
That’s all for now folks. Appreciate your comments and have a great sunday.
It’s a practice that we can trace back to the earliest collectors. Helmets were made to fit certain examples missing on the shelf. Often camouflage paint and wire were added. M42 no decal helmets were subjected to become SS helmets or camo helmets.
With helmet prices going up over the decades upgrading became even more interesting and lately with interests in wire camo’s and medic helmets peeking we see a great increase in examples available for purchase. This is the market following the money which is unusual because only woodwork finds add to the known pool of helmets and even 10 years ago a medic helmet or a wire camo helmet were considered rare. A Normandy or 2 color camo helmet with wire was considered ultra rare.
Check out this wire helmet for sale on ebay , period or upgrade ?
It’s not !
Below the same helmet made more interesting for collectors with adding wire camouflage. The price has tripled…
It also happens with other kinds of helmet attachments. The helmet below has a strap but switched from the lower helmet to the upper helmet and of course no mention of it being swapped on the dealer site.
Now let’s see what other bad stuff has turned up online lately.
IMCS militaria sells a hard to upgrade fake
Luftwaffe M42 SD Helmet
Fantastic Luftwaffe M42 SD helmet in near mint condition. Maker marking is hard to see but it must be “CKL” which is “Eisenhuttenwerke Thale” in steelpot size “66” The steelpot has 99% of its original Luftwaffe camo paint and a 100% Luftwaffe decal.
The helmet is complete with its original liner (never being removed) and its original leather combat helmet strap. Overal a fantastic Luftwaffe helmet. Hard to upgrade!!!
Too bad to see this nice no decal CKL with this ‘easy fake’ Luftwaffe adler.
Militaria relics , quote themselves as the reliable Militaria site
Unfortunately this NS SS helmet is bogus as NS did not produce SS helmets.
2350 euros , I think not.
This is a no brainer , a good firefighter helmet with sticker like fakes. Come on guys , really ?
A name that sounds like it must have some decent inventory , the opposite is true. The owner would not recognize a German helmet even if he was somehow catapulted back to Nazi Germany. That’s how utterly terrible his inventory is.
Product Description , I added comments between brackets !
Very nice Kriegsmarine model 42 single decal helmet. Nice gold tone eagle decal (FAKE STICKER) for Kriegsmarine. Helmet retains most all of it’s finish. (POST WAR PAINT) Decal is about 90% intact. Liner (FAKE) is nice and bit brittle. (FAKE) Chin strap is marked. Helmet shell is marked CKL64 and 4730. (NO DECAL HELMET) I can’t make out the liner size stamp, but approx. size 58. Overall a fine helmet in very fine++ condition. (FOR A RE-ENACTOR).
1000 USD (150 USD)
Some more duds on this website.
I found this website by accident while searching for TENO helmet examples. (while writing this and looking at their inventory I realised that these guys featured in one of my previous articles of Tracking the fakes).
Their “about us” make it seems as if they know what they are doing but looking at their helmet inventory they are clearly clueless.
The concept is simple. All of the items offered here are from private Collections and are owned by Collectors. We sell them on behalf of the Collector thereby maximising the Collectors return on investment, rather than the Collector attempting to sell the item to a Dealer at a generally lower price. As well as making our living in this business we are avid collectors with over 100 years of collecting experience between us covering all areas including Antique and Deactivated Weapons, Napoleonic, Victorian, WW1 and WW2 Militaria including 3rd Reich Items.
Let’s start easy with a Luftschutz beaded shell that got upgrade with a fake Luftwaffe adler. It only costs 200 GBP.
The next one is… well it must be some sort of joke. This feuerschutz helmet received two nasty looking fake decals and costs 1500 GBP !
They also sold this other upgraded feuerschutz helmet with a fake TENO decal.
WEBSITES FOR MILITARIA TOURISTS
There is so much Low quality replica Third Reich stuff for sale it is a crime. Websites like Reich relics and Spandau are made in a way that as a total newbie you are drawn in by their self proclaimed expertise.
When browsing their websites it’s like you have found the holy grail when in fact they are showing a fata morgana. Nothing is what it seems in these shops and you will be lucky to walk out with something that will be worth something a month later.
We really need to spread the word about these shops. Every new collector that spends his money there is a collector lost when he realises he bought junk.
It’s the same like those antique shops in Bulgaria that are filled with poor swastika engraved cigarette cases , flasks and watches. You walk in and you think wow I’m lucky I’m first in this shop. Your heart beats faster and you cash out and once home you review your treasures , do some research and discover it is all junk.
QUALITY OF OFFERINGS IS INCREASING
To end on a good note , I do see some online dealers that appear to have cleared out the fakes from their inventory. When I started to buy helmets online myself back in 2004 it was generally accepted that dealers had mixed inventories (good and bad mixed up).
The popularity of online forums however brought this practice much more into the limelight and dealers not paying attention to what they were selling (let’s be gentle) basically got repeated bad feedback.
Once you have the “crook label” it is hard to shake it off again.
I’m sure it has made an impact on some to rethink their business model. (or to at least keep the helmet inventory clean because the helmet collector community has a big online presence).
Persistence pays off and so does sticking together as a community. If you haven’t joined yet I can recommend signing up at one of the forums here.