Those that know me from the forums know that I all too often complain about the lack of decal photos when people post their camo helmets for review.
Camo helmets always have a wow factor when they are being posted , even bad ones. That means that some post war painted schemes are so good that we need to look better at the things we are familiar with.
Base paint , can be viewed best inside of the helmet.
Decal , often hidden but indications of it being there should be visible upon close inspection. Here the USB microscope can be of great help.
M35 Reissue helmets with overpainted decals are very good study objects if you want to see how paint and decals react to each other.
Here are some examples (You can see more of these helmets on the reissued Heer helmets page)
A fully overpainted DD Heer.
A single decal ex DD Heer
RonR’s EF SD Heer, paint is nicely cracked over the decal.
Reissued helmets tell us that in most cases even if completely overpainted we can see the decals ergo the same holds true for helmets painted with camouflage colors.
HOWEVER It does not automatically mean that all helmets that do not show any decals are fake. A helmet should still be judged by its own merrit but the presence of decals helps in fascilitating the authentication process.
THE NECESSITY TO LOOK HARDER
A couple of months ago a proud collector showed his new Luftwaffe camo helmet on the warrelics forum. Decal partially hidden under the paint.
Upon closer inspection I called it as a fake decal. If you read my previous article on the quality of Luftwaffe fake decals you know that they are very flawed and here the tiny bit that we see reveals a fake decal.
Example of a similar fake eagle.
This example illustrates better than words why we need to take decals into account when looking at camo helmets. It’s not just the look, the paint , the wear. If the decal is fake the paint and the wear no longer comes into play.
For those interested in reading the entire discussion you can find it HERE.
Before we move to the next chapter , here’s another example that made it to a dealer website 5 years ago.
3 things to take away from this example.
Fake camo build on an Original shell (remember this is already 5 years ago)
They did a convincing job on the camo
The decal is the very well known ‘easy fake’.
AUTHENTIC EXAMPLES : DEEP DIVE WITH THE USB MICROSCOPE
What can this tool do for us collectors when looking at overpainted decals ? Simple. If enough of the decal is left it can tell us if the decal under the paint is real. It requires scanning the decal area meticulously but what is also very important one needs to know what to look at.
A tan DAK painted / Mediterranean DD Luftwaffe helmet with overpainted decals. Scanning the decal area reveals enough of the Luftwaffe eagle to make a positive determination. The creamy white is typical for Luftwaffe decals and black print lines are also visible. Typical age cracks are showing nicely. The tricolor turns up something interesting as it appears to have been covered with paint before the camo was applied.
Here’s an Authentic M40 NS Heer tricolor camo. Damaged decal , the outline of the decal is visible even where completely overpainted. Only 200 zoom photos tell the story. The pulver , the print line that is visible and how the decal is damaged adds all up.
My little birds pointed me again towards many websites with fake helmets. Usually these helmets are posted for review on the forums I visit. Sometimes I blunder into them while browsing websites.
The fakes presented below are not earth shatteringly dangerous. A one on one comparison with the decal galleries on GHV can easily help to detect them as fakes.
Nonetheless , they are being sold as authentic WW2 decalled helmets.
They take the top spot as they obviously have no clue how real authentic WW2 helmets should look like nor do they seem to care. This is one of the most atrocious websites I have come across in a long while. And they justly receive the golden turd award.
While they are pricing their ‘fakes’ below market price they seem to have a problem with saying that a helmet has been messed with. The biggest indicator is in fact their price.
Ever heard of authentic helmets being on 40% sale ? With the following flavor text :
GOOD CONDITION SINGLE DECAL M42 ARMY HELMET. PAINT HAS DARKENED WITH AGE. SOME HANDLING WEAR. GOOD LINER WITH CHIN STRAP. THE CHIN STRAP HAS BROKEN AND HAS BEEN GLUED BACK TOGETHER. ET.66 SHELL
They have more such examples in their inventory.
This M42 ‘supposed SS’. Yes it is only 850 GBP but no mention of it being a blatant fake. It is not even worth the discounted price of 510 GBP.
GOOD CONDITION UNTOUCHED HELMET. THE DECAL A LITTLE FADED BUT BASICALLY COMPLETE. MOST OF ITS PAINT FINISH REMAINING WITH LIGHT RUST STAINING OVERALL. SIZE 66 SHELL. MID-WAR PIG SKIN LINING
Now you know that they have an allergy to say the word reproduction or fake you can rest assured that the entire inventory is make believe.
Here’s a SE/hkp M40 SS camo FULLY NAMED and researched for just 2000 GBP , No ! Now discounted to 1200 ! Finding a name in the Kriegsgraber database does not mean this helmet belonged to that person. There is more to research than just looking up a name and saying “that is him”.
HISTORIC WAFFEN-SS UNTERSCHARFUHRER’S STEEL HELMET. A SINGLE DECAL M.40 HELMET, FIELD GREEN INSIDE. THE OUTSIDE WITH A CIRCA 1944 NORMANDY CAMPAIGN THREE COLOUR CAMO FINISH GOING OVER THE SS DECAL. OWNERS INITIALS “HK” PAINTED TO THE INSIDE. HIS NAME, “H.KERL SS” WRITTEN TO THE LINER. RESEARCH SHOWS THIS TO BE HEINZ KERL WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN NORTHERN FRANCE AND BURIED AT THE GERMAN MILITARY CEMETERY IN LA CAMBE. LINER A LITTLE DRY BUT COMPLETE. OUTSIDE SHOWS THE USUAL FIELD WEAR INCLUDING A BALD PATCH TO THE TOP. NO PITTING. THE MAKER / SIZE MARK OBSCURED BY THE “HK” INITIALS AT THE BACK.
Spandau has many similar items and they are just hoping to saddle one poor bugger up with an expensive piece of post war created crap.
Be aware of the fake Austrian Polizei helmet. You can clearly see it is a raster printed digital fake.
He also has an NS M42 single decal Police (without close-up) you need to watch out for.
ISMILITARIA / Strachan militaria
Strachan Militaria specialises in original militaria from Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, Russia, France and Spain from the major conflicts of the 20th century.
Here is their top fake. Priced at 4550 GBP.
Continuing our journey
Smack down ! Fake wire camo for 3500 $ at Militariacollectibles.
It is not a hard one, starting with the fake Luftwaffe eagle and the extensive wire/shell contact damage. Could not grab a close-up of the decal but trust me. You can zoom in on their website. It’s the well known ‘easy fake’ adler I covered in my previous blog article.
ANOTHER FAKE POLICE TRANSITIONAL
Regimentals UK also gets a spot in this newsletter of fakes with very easy to spot fake decals which tried to copy Austrian style Police decals.
Horrible but yours for 950 GBP.
PHIL MILLER COLLECTION OF “RESTORED” HELMETS
After this collector passed away a few years ago (I cannot recollect the exact year) his collection was rapidly sold off. The collection was made up of mostly transitional style helmets (M16, M18 and Austrian style) that were professionally repainted and redecalled. Most of the helmets received SS decals paired with the party shield. Needless to say some of the helmets were sold or at least were tried to be passed off as authentic pieces.
A lot of collectors including myself saved the website photos in order to keep an eye out should these helmets come up for sale again.
A couple of days ago someone spotted a helmet for sale from this collection. The SS decal is a typical ‘crushed glass’ Pocher fake.
Here is another example. Repainted , fake decals but good shell , liner and strap.
That’s all for now.
Thanks for your continued support for my website !
I have seen all kinds of fakes pass by online and on local fairs , I’m pretty methodical when it comes to dealing with all kinds of data. Be it lot numbers or remembering decals , helmet paints etc…
The purpose of this article is simply to show from my viewpoint how dangerous or well made fake decals are and if there have been improvements over the years since I started studying decals.
I. THE LUFTWAFFE ADLER
While it is impossible to say exactly when this first example was designed it surely dates back to the early eighties. Just do a side by side comparison with an Original decal and encircle the differences. Some are very obvious. Take a particular look at the head area and lower claw.
Funny thing is that it still confuses dealers and newer collectors even today. I started calling it “The easy fake” many years ago. Once you have identified the many mistakes I’m sure you will agree.
Conclusion : NOT DANGEROUS , EASY TO RECOGNIZE , STILL OFTEN SEEN ON DEALER SITES.
The next reproduction decal is superior to the “Easy one” but still flawed and easy to recognize as it has an extra line across the claw that should not be there.
So at first sight the second one is the more dangerous one but what has been the impact of this “better” decal on the hobby in the last couple of years ?
The answer is practically no impact. I saw this decal turn up only on a couple of helmets of which several were Fallschirmjäger helmets and I have not seen it for at least a couple of years. We can assume therefore that this decal had a very low production run and is probably no longer in production.
Conclusion : NOT DANGEROUS , EASY TO RECOGNIZE , SMALL CHANCE YOU WILL ENCOUNTER IT
The next decal is a reproduction Straightleg decal. These have been around for as long as I can remember and they probably turned up around the same time as the “Easy fake”. So around the early eighties would be my guess.
There are many graphical mistakes in this one so comparing it with an original is key to learning how to easily spot it. The first thing you can check is the iris in the eye which is bigger than that of an original. But many other lines are incorrect as well.
A snakeleg version of this reproduction decal exists as well and is equally flawed. Furthermore throughout the years there have appeared different copies of this copy.
While these types of fakes are less common I see people having more difficulty with them. I remember a topic from 2005 where a camo helmet with this type of fake decal was sold between dealers.
Still as reproductions go again this is a poor attempt.
Conclusion : PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION , EASY TO RECOGNIZE , STILL POPS UP OCCASIONALLY
II. END CONCLUSION
So these are the best of the best reproduction Luftwaffe decals I have come across in the last 14 years. While the German helmet collecting community got a whole lot smarter in these years no better Luftwaffe reproduction decals have turned up.
I often read that the fakes kill the hobby but these decals can’t even be called fakes. They are so far from the original designs that they can hardly be used to swindle someone.
Remember that helmets with fake decals usually often have other aspects that are incorrect. Newly painted , man made wear , replaced or fake liner , fake chinstraps.
For further reading and to see more examples of reproductions check these 2 links :
There is a mindset in the militaria world that says if an item is uber expensive it must be real. We have seen this trend come and go with SS helmets and camo helmets. These helmets were hyped up a couple of years ago and price increases of 30% or more were not uncommon. Not suprisingly a lot of collectors were hurt by such hypes , they either overpaid a lot or they got a fake helmet. 2 – 3 years later the overinflated prices dropped back to a normal level.
I see wire camo helmets being hyped since a year as well. Recently 2 dealers started advertising such helmets at prices over 10K.
Here such an example currently on Lux militaria. if you check my previous wire camo blog (link at the top). This very helmet is featured there , sold on an auction for 4.6K. Now you can buy it at three times the price.
Supply and demand will set the price , 10 years ago a wire helmet was a rare beast. If you saw one it would be a factory decalled helmet with wire. A tricolor camo with wire was infinitely rarer. Exotic even.
Looking at the market today there is a wire camo for every budget. To me that tells me there is something seriously wrong. If you actually also look at the helmets being sold it is crystal clear that something is wrong.
People jumping into collecting will not see this trend but collectors with 20+ collecting years under their belt will.
AND NOW FOR THE WISHFUL THINKING PART
Collectors are on the hunt all the time , looking for variations and good deals. Or paying a little more for that gem you have been after for years. There is little to no danger if you know your decals , helmet paints , liners.
For some reason however basic things like that often get thrown overboard when we look at camo helmets. Suddenly the decal needing to be there is no longer a key point.
How many factory helmets have you seen where the decal was taken off in comparison to decalled helmets ? It will be a very very small percentage.
So for me a decal is key on a camo helmet that should have decal , the decal should be hiding under the paint , in cracks or damage.
With wire camo’s we need to scrutinize even further , lower grade helmets with partial decals fit the need to be post war upgraded with wire.
So if we bring the decal to the table when we inspect wire camo’s , how do we explain its absence ? It’s scratched off , sure and now with wire it costs 3 times more…
Below examples without a decal currenly sold or for sale on dealer websites.
None of the above helmets give me a good feeling. The interiors are 100% Original , the shells all good but none of the wires seem really connected the helmets. All three are without decals (or barely) so the exterior is of low grade and less interesting to collectors. For someone looking to make a quick buck such lower grade helmets are like gold.
Compare the helmets posted above to the one look helmets below. Two helmets acquired from the families of US veterans.
Photos courtesy of RonR
Day and night is the difference between these 2 helmets from Ron’s collection and 95% of the wire helmets I have seen posted on forums.
Good wire helmets exist.
Mediocre , good and very good fakes exist as well.
I often hear collectors defend dealers , it is an honest mistake , it’s a good guy , you can’t know everything , he refunded me so I am happy.
What I’m concerned selling fakes is no way to treat customers and people should be less understanding when it happens. Be glad you get your money back but don’t say your happy of the service ! Even if the dealer was clueless about it , fuck it he is responsible. He’s the one that calls his website : Jimmy’s Authentic WW2 memorabilia – 100% Original stuff. It’s on him !
We as customers have the power in our wallets. Tougher customers will make it tougher for the frauds , tougher for the clueless dealers.
Take a look at this video at 9:09 , Antiques dealer Wittman passes a table FULL of fake SS helmets. What’s his excuse ? It’s his job for Christ sakes.
This helmet was reviewed by their expert and given the thumbs up. After I complained the listing was cancelled. Fake decal of course , painted name is also added later. Also the lot number is a good indicator that the helmet should not have a decal.
Auctions websites can yield very nice items but only for those with an expert eye and a great deal of experience. If you have to buy from them based on their experience you are in for disappointment.
This was up for auction as an authentic M42 SS helmet and people were bidding on it. After it was brought up on the German Helmet Walhalla forum the auction was cancelled.
Bad liner , bad decal.
Another example of an upgraded authentic helmet with the Signal magazine logo. It’s without a doubt post war added to increase the helmet value. Some poor soul will pay 1600 euros for a 250 euro helmet.
Historical Antiques, Orders and Medals
I kid you not , initials AH.
A fake FJ helmet for 5250 euros
Fake DRK decals
Wittman Antique Militaria
As I wrote in previous blog post , helmets with factory logo’s are rare and authentic firefighter helmets with no or damaged decals can be upgraded easily for maximum profit. Wittman has several civic helmets where the factory logo or stencils have been post war added. Priced at times 5 the real value without the logo.
Remember , fake helmets means more stuff in their inventory is fake so make sure to get more opinions on items you are interested in.
When I was having fun reviewing Peter Nash’s book I was confronted with the fact that a lot of it played out on Facebook. I am not on Facebook. But many members of the German helmet collector community are and so the word got out there anyway.
I have always felt that a collector must not stand alone , in fact he needs to find the best and biggest bunch of German helmet collectors on the net and join them. While communicating with each other privately and in small groups via Facebook is enjoyable. I find forums and in particular one forum to be the best online venue for anyone interested in German helmets.
That forum is German Helmet Walhalla.
What can you expect from this forum :
You become part of the largest international community of German helmet collectors.
Anonymity , you can check in under a nickname. A true participating collector will soon be known by all members. No neighbours or relatives or work colleagues have eyes on what you are doing.
A forum has structure and that structure works like chapters of a book. It makes German Helmet Walhalla a fantastic resource with years and years of data. Many times have I browsed and looked at topics posted 10 years or more ago. It is but one reason why a forum like GHW should be supported.
GHW has 5 subsections for German helmets and a host of others for members also interested in other military items.
Dedicated moderators and admins really add something , they help shape it and steer discussions in the right direction.
The power of the community brought together by GHW triggered interesting projects such as the lot number list , the study of liners , leather markings and dome stamps even some members published books on German helmets. Furthermore the Champagne rune fraud was revealed by admin Doug B and XRF facts x-ray business model was outed as a travesty when it was first deployed to the public.
One other big important case to make for GHW is that it is online for 12 years without dealer sponsorship. This for the sole reason that there can never be a conflict of interest. It speaks volumes for admins past and present that they persevere in their dedication and also to its members that have always kindly provided donations to keep the forum “in the air”.
One of the younger members on GHW wrote a fine post on the forum about the downside of Facebook. Here’s what he wrote.
It’s very simple to start a Facebook group. Much easier than starting a forum. Anyone can make one, and start inviting everyone they know. There are some MAJOR shortfalls to the groups:
1. The topics fall down the page quickly. They are hard to archive, hard to find, and very easily edited and or deleted by the users.
2. You cannot easily view topics by members. Here on GHW2 and WAF most of us judge who’s who by the other topics they post, for example if I post an M43 cap and someone comments on my thread saying it’s good or bad, I will often go look at that persons other posts to see if they own any or if they’re knowledgable on the subject. I think it’s something we all do. On Facebook anyone can comment, and often people who know NOTHING about militaria will comment out of boredom or maybe they are just a *** disturber and there’s no way to really see the quality of their other comments or what they have posted. The search function is very basic. The typical quality of replies is very low.
3. People can remove their posts or comments whenever they want. If someone posts photos of a fake or is selling a fake, it can be easily removed later.
I’ve been watching a lot of Facebook groups and to be honest it seems like we’re taking a step back as collectors. What is most upsetting is seeing a lot of items for sale on there that would never pass muster on here or even WAF from people who know better. Often these people have appointed themselves as “Moderators” and “Admin”. Some groups truly feel like a dumping ground of fakes. Some groups are okay, and some are really awful, most have at least a few con artists.
In some groups only “admin” are allowed to sell items, and only “admin” are allowed to comment if items for sale are real or fake. You can immediately see the issue there.
Collectors need to stick together for the simple reason of safe guarding our knowledge on German helmets (which is also the purpose of this website).
A splintered community is a weak one. So if you want to spend your time efficiently and not on several different mediums there is just one spot. See you there !
10 Days ago the most insulting and useless publication ever made was released. Peter Nash’s German combat helmets. The book was universally rejected on all collector communities where dedicated helmet collectors roam.
It’s not difficult to understand why the book was dismissed , apart from the many high amount of fake helmets (paint , decals and horrible liners) the author also attacks many well established facts about German WW2 helmets in order to support his collection of fakes.
I will explain here what any collector that wants to get into German helmet collecting can take as fact.
THE DECAL VS SHELL CORRELATION
What is it ? To put it short. We found out which decal types were applied to which helmet makers. Hold on while it may look simple it really isn’t. Some companies used several decals , some just on M35’s etc… All decals have been mapped now and it helped collectors worldwide a great deal.
Anyone who has not read the books released in the last 15 years about German helmets has missed a great deal. On top of that a lot of that knowledge comes from collectors that interacted via forums. People like Nash tend to be dismissive about what they call internet collectors. You can be conservative and anti internet but that doesn’t mean the world stops turning. There are just as many generations of collectors interacting via the internet than there are off line collectors. It’s not just the new kids on the block. Online you can find Ron R’s fabulous collection of over a 1000 helmets. That one collection in itself blows all false intent of Nash’s book right out of the water. Pick up 5 , 10 or 20 ET/ckl factory ET helmets from Ron and they will all have the what we call ET-style decal. Ron’s collection all by itself makes the decal vs shell correlation fact. But we didn’t stop there. People that have a passion for research know that before theories become fact that they have to be tested repeatedly and helmet after helmet it all fell into place. This has never been a one man’s project but a group effort by passionate collectors.
Jan Meland is a very well known Norwegian collector who build his collection almost purely by sourcing helmets via ads out of the Norwegian woodwork. His book German combat helmets a Norwegian collection showcases his finds with super high definition photos. Just scroll through that book and look at the factory helmets. You will see time and time again the decals we mapped out on the shells they should be on.
Already in 2003 Tom Kibler mentioned the relation between decals and helmet makers in his book German combat helmets of the Third Reich – a study in photographs.
Kelly Hicks’s SS steel did the same in 2005 but specifically on SS decals.
In 2006 collectors of the German Helmet Walhalla forum started reference sections where decals posted on the forum were grouped by decal style for making the mapping easy and accurate.
In 2009 Ken Niewiarowicz’s study Germany’s combat helmets appeared with again confirming the finds within the community. This book was followed up in 2016 with a study purely on decals. The helmet decals of the Third Reich. (made with help from Anders Lehrman).
And in 2015 another great work from a passionate collector was released , Frederik Suppo’s Le casque Allemand. tome 1.
That’s 15 years of knowledge right there which covers data from many thousands of helmets , probably far over 5000 helmets (not 300 as Peter Nash falsely claims in his book). Helmets found today in veteran’s footlockers , attics or basements all fall into the same patterns.
Below M35 helmet was recently found in an attic in Holland , the ET style decal while a most common decal is not even featured in Peter Nash’s decals gallery. Photos courtesy of https://www.ww2-militaria.nl/
CKL is ET and HKP is SE
For some strange reason Peter Nash does not believe the ET factory changed over to CKL/ckl mid war and he does not believe SE became HKP/hkp.
So did the Thale plant stop producing mid war ? Of course not ! It changed to CKL/ckl.
There are so many indicators that confirm the change over : CKL/ckl continues to have Thale dome stamps , they still used the same decals already mapped out which are the ET style Heer decal , the unbordered Polizei eagle (unique to that factory I might add) , the very well known ET style SS decal , the same Luftwaffe adler and so on.
ET is also the only company that made Fallschirmjäger helmets which also changed to the CKL stamp mid war.
On top of that the font of the stamps is identical. Recently even a QVL helmet was discovered with a crystal clear Thale dome stamp.
For SE we can make the exact same case , SE started later with the M42 so they started marking their M40’s mid war with HKP/hkp.
Also SE did not stop making helmets mid war. They continued as HKP/hkp.
Same decals , same font used in their markings and same typical bulgy vents are found SE and HKP/hkp shells.
It does not take a rocket scientist to add this all up.
HELMET LOT NUMBERS
If your read Peter Nash’s ramblings about lot numbers you would think it’s some kind of Voodoo pseudo science. The problem is that he doesn’t understand what it is about. Like with everything he is afraid of what people in the enlightened 21st century have learned.
Simply put a lot number database is a list of helmets.
Data we collect in such a database is :
When enough data is gathered one can derive conclusions from it. The list does not authenticate other helmets with similar lot numbers as that would be silly , it exists to get a bigger view on decal applications , how long liners were used , basically to see patterns emerging from it (or not). And we do see patterns.
Certain decals correspond to certain makers , you see also the lot number list seals the discussion on that matter.
We can see decal drops in the database (late 1943) corresponding to lot numbers
We can even see which makers produced KM helmets and which did not. Which produced SS helmets and which did not.
It’s a fantastic tool that has helped further the hobby in conjunction with many other projects started by passionate collectors. Like there are collectors that have taken it upon themselves to study liners and liner stampings , dome stamps and using the USB microscope to get 200x zoom signature close-ups.
THE HELMETS IN PETER NASH’S BOOK
The book is a gallery of Big foot fakes. A decal that’s known to have been reproduced since the eighties in various forms. While Peter Nash himself talks about variations he shows in fact the same fake decal over and over again.
Nowhere does the book have any connections with reality , it is completely disconnected from all previous book releases which have great support from the collecting community.
An original Big foot decal is only found on Quist shells.
This one is from the book page 166 , on an ET shell.
We know thanks to the lot numbers list that tricolors were not added by the factories on M40’s anymore. Only a handful of M40 helmets with tricolors are known to exist. The idea being that these must have been added for reasons unknown after the helmet left the factory.
In Peter’s book are 3 ET M40 DD Kriegsmarine helmets again all with a Big foot fake decal and fake tricolors.
ET only used the ET style Kriegsmarine decal and on M40’s never with a tricolor.
For comparison a real ET Kriegsmarine decal with ridge as universally accepted by collectors worldwide.
Some USB close-ups. All authentic decals have the same look under high magnification. Polizei eagles , Heer , SS , etc…
FAKES under high magnification. Flat , lacking depth and the metallic content looks like cheap plastic which they often are.
If you think filling a book with a sub standard fake Heer eagle is a feat than the low quality fake Luftwaffe decals in the book will blow you away.
I actually got HQ photos of a helmet that’s been used in the book because it was already discussed in a topic on German Helmet Walhalla in 2017. Click here for the topic.
The second type eagles fakes on the helmets in the book are even more disturbing.
CONCLUSION : FAKE NEWS
While I could further break down the SS decals and the reproduction liners , I have I think with this article covered the many aspects of what is wrong with Peter Nash’s book. Why this book was released with its many errors and attacks on known facts we might never know but I am sure time will tell.
In any case it put our noses on the fact that anyone these days can write a book , the days are long gone when the collector only had a book to guide him and was at the mercy of information he did not have control of. Today the German helmet collector is probably the best informed collector of Third Reich militaria. Forums have inspired collectors to study for themselves and share knowledge and information. Now we can say without a doubt , writer your book is full of mistakes.
Got me a book to review via a friend today , he said “Frank you have to see this book” and sent me pictures and video via Whatsapp. The book in question is a self published book by author Peter Nash on German Combat helmets 1933 – 1945.
The photos and video preview I received prompted me to jump in my car and drive to my friend to get it. You will understand when you read the review.
REVIEW German Combat Helmets 1933 – 1945 by Peter J Nash
Warning : This review may contain traces of sarcasm
So there it is a hardcover book with 360 pages.
But what’s that on the front cover ? Not a very convincing example of a period German WW2 helmet but I guess it’s just my suspicious nature. Right ? We will see…
Page 1 and another suspicious looking German helmet with a fake tricolor ? There must be an explanation , let’s skip to the introduction.
The introduction tells us that the helmets are from the author’s 30 years collection , counting back this means he started collecting in 1988. Dangerous times. No internet , no color books to help you. Dealers reigned in those days as did fakers.
Other helmets come from his sons 25 year old collection and the icing on the cake Weitze and Oakleaf militaria also provided images in return for some advertising. Just what the community needs , another helmet book with dealer involvement.
So let us assess what is in the book , the disappointing cover aside.
Page 6 and 7 again 2 fake helmets. I know it is hard to tell from the photos but the right helmet is quoted as being an ET and carries a Big foot adler. Don’t get me started on the Kriegsmarine one , just too crazy for words.
Peter do please educate us on helmets because we are obviously missing something ? Skipping the fakes from page 8 to 11 we find on page 12 Peter his take on decals.
Peter says that the decal vs shell correlation is false. In his words “This false theory has resulted in de-valuing many collections and the smearing of well intentioned dealers.”
Dealer protection again…
Ok so I’m now on page 12 having read the most inane drivel from someone that has seemed to make a living from collecting fakes and then imagining them as authentic. What treasure is there still to gain from this book Frank I hear you all wondering ?
Hold your horses , check out this gallery of authentic decals. Sorry for the poor photos but you will see that in Peter Nash’s world the Big foot fake fits on all helmets.
The authentic Kriegsmarine decal gallery does not have a single authentic decal either. It shows again all Big foot fakes.
The Luftwaffe adlers he shows are all fake. The easy kind !
The books has 90 helmets in it , generously counting I came out at 68 easy identifiable fakes of which 9 out of 10 had fake big foot decals. Even M42’s. The liners are all cheap Eastern Euro crap.
Oh yes there is also SS stuff in there but we have already proven Peter is in above his head here. The gallery of crap continues.
Then come the even more insane pages in the book. Peter tutors us on what’s the difference between a fake and a fake. What !?
Steady guys , in Peter’s world he is showing the difference between a fake and an authentic decal. Look he’s written it above the decals.
In our world however I am looking at a person that has lost his marbles comparing 2 identical fakes.
CONCLUSION : Why was this book written ?
One would think that it makes no sense that anyone would write a book filled with fake helmets BUT in the world of Third Reich Militaria collecting it does make sense. It is not the first time fakes were inserted in books to make them authentic. The subtleness of previous cases is missing here altogether.
I can only speculate but the book challenges several generally accepted facts on German helmets. I say facts because testing theories based on observation is an accepted scientific process. By such observations we have made huge leaps forward in decal and helmet knowledge in general. To refute these findings made by collectors worldwide is utterly stupid.
The only party that really benefits from undermining collector communities are shady dealers.
Another reason why this book has seen the light may have to do with the fact that the collection would be put up for sale soon. Maybe or not the author only recently discovered he’s been collecting fakes for 30 years.
“Look it’s in a book” has made many victims. If he knows the helmets are fakes and I can’t imagine that no-one told him the book is made with fraudulent intent pure and simple.
Whilst digging through the internet I came across some items , outright fakes , that were sold as original.
The fake chinstrap business on which I blogged about few months ago is still booming here in Europe. I wonder when they will pop up on US dealer sites.
Fake M42 RAD – CKL 4741
I would think by now dealers would be more studied on lot numbers and would know this helmet is supposed to not carry a decal. And let’s not even start on the decal it’s a RAD chicken…
From Griffin : SOLD FOR 1200$
Ongoing trend : Upgrading CIVIC helmets
Civic helmets have been candidates for post war upgrade since the eighties. They are cheap and are available in volume. They are often upgraded with logo’s of famous manufacturers and caution is always required when you encounter one.
Here’s a so-called Krups factory helmet , the shell and liner is original and this was an early firefighter helmet with tilted swastika and tricolor. Now upgrade with a fake Luftschutz decal and fake Krups decal. This helmet is for sale at Paradesantiques for 600 GBP.
This example below pretends to be a factory fireman’s helmet of the Steiff factory which is a famous German Teddy Bear manufacturer. Eigentum tags are mostly found on fake examples and they are a red flag to begin with. Fakers like to make less interesting helmets more interesting by adding such small details to make it ‘all add up’.
Below another example of a Steiff factory helmet.
Here’s a fake red cross BMW Gladiator shell , the shell and liner are original. The decals and again the Eigentum tag in the dome have been added.
On Ebay fake templates are being sold just for the purpose of creating fantasy pieces.
Both have the authentic RB numbers but watch out for these , they are being sold in volume in Europe by the most shady dealers like Haas and Spree and infecting other dealers their inventory in singles.
I have finally completed my page on the fake Champagne runes decals. Instead of putting it all in my blog I decided to put it under the fake and repro section of the website. At the bottom is a link to the website page.
While outed already in 2015 it is still a hot topic today in 2018. Just yesterday a topic was closed by the moderators on German Helmet Walhalla after 2 dealers had their say on the matter (one of them was Kelly Hicks , author of SS steel whom first published the Champagne rune decals). If you haven’t read their responses you probably can guess the gist of it. See no evil hear no evil. Right.
Today another CR topic popped up on the Wehrmacht awards forum. It brought back the times when Kelly Hicks was involved with XRF authentication. Some of you will remember the business he was starting up with another collector to try and monopolize the authentication of German helmets , decals in particular. With a ray gun they would point at a decal , pie chart it in components and tell you for 250$ it’s real or not. Not only is it absurd to try and monopolize and monetize helmet authentication I would even call it unethical. The fact that they started churning out certificates of originality for fakes marked the end of that. So this topic from 2009 that was just bumped up relives those interesting times.
Sometimes things can be as simple as 1+1. Don’t be a victim and keep in charge of your knowledge , the next fraud is already lurking in the dark alleyway ahead.