Lot numbers : Often misunderstood

I touched upon this subject briefly when answering question 10 in my previous blog article ’10 questions for the German Helmet Vault’ but it seems necessary to make it into an article all of its own as I see more and more people posting questions or making wrong assumptions based on the information they got from a lot number list.

HOW MANY SUCH LISTS EXIST ?

First of all there are only 2 Lot numbers lists out there. One is posted here on the German Helmet Vault and is maintained by me and shared for free. One is in the form of a book. I have only seen some excerpts of that one.

There is a distinct difference between the 2 lists. My list has a description of the helmets which helps me to add helmets with similar lot numbers which in turn gives us better insight at how similar or disimilar in build they are particularly with regard to the installed liner , size and branch.

THE START … WITHOUT AN END

The idea of the creating a lot number list started a long time ago. Must have been 2005 maybe earlier on a forum that no longer exists. I’m not sure anymore how it all got started , I remember members sending in their lot numbers and they were put into a topic on that forum.

When that forum was closed and I got the chance to set up and run the German Helmet Walhalla forum we revived the idea and started working on a completely new list with moderators adding to it as they saw fit.

At a certain stage the list became unmanageable because we were working in a forum topic. The data input was uncoordinated because everybody used different codes and language and there was no way to check the data integrity.

So I decided to make it my own personal project , create the list in Excel. Add descriptions of the helmets so I could also add more helmets with the same lot number. As for the data integrity part I only added helmets that I had seen in hand or were posted on forums with enough details to ascertain authenticity.

I worked fevershly the first few years to get a 1000 helmets in the list. I can tell you it is A LOT of work.

Today there are 2200 helmets in the list , still a microscopic sample of all German combat helmets made during WW2. It is roughly estimated that 25 million German helmets were produced in WW2.

Q&A ABOUT LOT NUMBERS

I found my helmet lot number in your list does it mean my helmet is authentic ?

No. A visual inspection is always required.

If my helmet does not have a decal , can a lot number tell me what branch it used to belong to ?

No. We discovered thanks to the lot number list that a lot number is not branch specific. So one number can be Heer , SS , Polizei , KM and so on. Only if the paint color is Luftwaffe blue can you be sure your helmet is a Luftwaffe helmet. No Lot number needed for that.

Are helmets with identical lot numbers all from the same branch ?

No , the lot number is unrelated to the branch. So one lot number can have helmets of different branches and sizes even.

M407360SE 66SD Heersteel liner
M407360SE 64SD LWalu reinforced liner
M407360SE 62SD LWsteel liner

The green colored entries in my list show this clearly , these are helmets with identical lot numbers.

Can I tell from the lot number if my M42 helmet should have a decal ?

The lot number list can help with that depending on the factory. We have a pretty clear view around which number CKL started to produce no decal helmets and also the Quist M40 decal drop is visible. For the other factories it’s still rather vague.

One watchout , any conclusion drawn from the lot number list must be accompanied with a visual inspection of the helmet in question.

Can the lot number list tell me what year my helmet was made ?

The best indicators that can help you with that are the liner band date and the dome stamp (if your helmet is an M35). In case you can’t see them clearly you may be able to ascertain the approximate year of production by cross referencing the lot number with my list.

Can the lot number tell me if the components on my helmet are original to my helmet ?

A visual inspection is key of course but you can use the lot number to check if your liner band conforms with entries listed in the list but of course you have to compare apples with apples. A reissued M35 with lot 7XXX can have a later steel dated liner when compared with a factory untouched DD M35 with the same lot 7xxx number.

I see dealers adding lot number list print outs with the helmets they sell , should I have more confidence in buying a helmet that is listed in a lot number list ?

No. Having a lot number match means absolutely nothing so using this information to sell a helmet is useless.

Remember that lot number list present only a minute number of total helmets produced.

So what are lot number lists useful for ?

It’s usefulness has proven itself more on a higher “factory production” level than on an individual helmet level.

It helped us to see some interesting things about which factories produced for which branches. For example SE only produced Kriegsmarine helmets in a very small time frame (1940) and used M35 shells. NS never produced for the Kriegsmarine.

And as more and more helmets get listed we will get a better view on around which lot numbers the decals stopped being applied. For ckl and Q we already have good data.

Also useful when comparing component of helmets with identical lot numbers or very near lot numbers.

Do you use the lot number list when buying a helmet ?

Depends on what I am buying and where I am. On a fair I never check the list. If online I will have a look in exceptional cases. I will check for a late war M42 for the decal drop date or for a very early helmet for the liner band type and also for a late M35 for the liner band type.

But I don’t let the lot number overrule my visual inspection. If a helmet is untampered with I will buy it whatever the lot number data tells me , experience and knowledge trumps the list.

That’s it for this newsletter/blog , if you want to discuss it with other collectors you can do so in our community forum here : German Helmet Vault

Or leave a comment.

Stay safe and keep collecting !

Frank

Tracking the fakes #9

Fake news

Most of the helmets shown in this newsletter are often considered ‘easy fakes’ by experienced collectors. But they must be easy fakes to spot for the dealers selling them but apparently they are not or they are throwing them out there hoping they will turn real in the near future. It’s like a blast of fake news , once people keep seeing and reading about fake news chances are some will start to think it’s real. In that regard there are entire websites in business for decades dealing in these obvious fakes and asking top dollar. If they can get one such fake SS helmet sold per month for 6000 euros they already done good business. So don’t buy anything for huge amounts that you are not familiar with , always check with fellow collectors first.

Military Antiques in UK

Here’s a nice helmet that got a new set of decals and a new much higher price tag. Always a red flag helmets with these decals , in all my years of collecting I have not seen a good one yet.

Wharton Militaria

It should be so obvious this is fake , why omit this information from the description and compromise your integrity as a serious dealer ?

An M42 ‘raw edge’ German single decal Luftwaffe helmet in very good condition. The helmet shell is in excellent shape, marked ET64 and batched 2019. The steel integrity has not been compromised at all, there are none of the usual bumps or dents. The helmet shell retains its paint finish across its surface, decal is approx. 60%, a dot above the right wing is visable as second pattern type, a single strand type wire is fitted around the helmet outer, there are two initials painted into the rim. The liner is in good condition with the leather being reasonable though stiff in parts, liner is dated but difficult to read and sized 57. A good used Luftwaffe helmet.

Dealer’s description

Franz Furth Militaria

Franz wasn’t paying attention when he listed this HKP helmet with the obvious most common fake big foot decal for a hefty 990 euros.

Ebay

Ebay always has been and will be a cesspit full of Third Reich fakes and frauds. Experienced collectors can pick them out easily but people hoping to score a rare helmet at half the price will be left with a hole in their wallet. Even sellers with a 100% are no guarantee and shill bidding happens very often.

Here’s a fake (not mentioned) FJ that can fool a lot of people. Remember sellers that know what these are worth can sell them faster to a dealer or private person. There’s no gain to sell an original FJ on ebay if you are a collector or dealer. Why give 10% to ebay ? (note 100% feedback)

By the way the below FJ was sold on the 29th of September for 1150 USD but apparently the buyer bailed or a shill bid won the auction instead. Now it’s relisted.

Here’s another piece of crap , a Normandy camo featured in a book with buy it now price of only 600 GBP. From a trusted ebay seller no less !

For the civic helmet collectors this would be something special , helas do walk on. Complete fantasy piece. Interior also repainted.

Relics are especially vulnerable on Ebay. Add some wire and price it up a 100%.

Original grid he says 🙂

You see that price or quality does not come into play when upgrading TR relics at any level helmets are getting humped up.

To close , another ‘cheap’ fake wire camo like there are so many. Fake dome stamp and painted name as well.

The sales text is funny though.

Original WW2 German Helmet. Size 68, Great condition minimal damages some scratches and the paint is messed up under the wire. SD, named, stamped, and marked well is in Brian Ice’s book
This listing contains no offensive markings and I do not support nazis or their ideas, my 98 year old grandfather was tortured by them 80 years ago and still remembers it better than he should.
Minimum offer is 400, act quick could get taken down!

That’s it again , have a great evening.

Frank

Burglary Eyewitness Museum – Netherlands

In the night of 3rd of August burglars broke into the Eyewitness museum which is located in Beek in the Netherlands.

It is estimated that the burglary took only 5 minutes and that they knew exactly what they wanted to steal. The break in is suspected to be placed ‘on order’. Multiple cars were used and witnessess speak of 6 to 8 men that were involved.

The thieves stole 9 full mannequins

The museum which was founded in 2013 shows predominantly the collection of the owner. The thieves stole 9 full mannequins that were displayed in diorama’s behind glass. Also weapons and helmets were stolen.

(sourced from https://www.1limburg.nl/eyewitness-museum-dicht-na-inbraak-alles-kapotgemaakt)

Below some images of the stolen goods that was asked to be shared by the museum. If you come across any of the items please send a message to peter@libertymaastricht.nl

Review : Jan Meland’s German Helmets 1916 – 1945

234 pages – Hardcover

About the Author

I know the author from the online forums for more than 14 years. He made it his trademark to source helmets out of the Norwegian woodwork. On regular basis we are treated with topics on his new finds on the German Helmet Walhalla forum. In 2014 he published his first book showcasing his Norwegian finds. With this new book he takes it a step further and goes into detail about the specifics of the German helmet.

Book Review

The book starts with a very nicely detailed chapter on the first German steel helmets as used during World War 1 and moves on to what we collectors call the Transitional helmets , First World war helmets re-used in the Third Reich period.

Gladiator style helmets and the Medium weight Edelstahl helmets are only touched upon briefly and then it moves on full speed ahead to the German combat helmet models. Of each model (M35 , M40 and M42) we get chapters with nice examples of each branch of service (Heer, Luftwafe , Polizei , Kriegsmarine and SS). Helmets shown are from the author’s collection or from friends.

Also the for the first time published is the correlation between leather size stamps and liner band makers

After those chapters the book dives deeper into the specifics , these are my favorite pages especially because there are so many photos that can be used as a visual aid. We get to see the many different shell stamps , learn about the liner band and all its components. The chinstrap maker section is probably the largest brought together to date. I counted more than 90 photos ! Also the for the first time published is the correlation between leather size stamps and liner band makers. This study was done by 2 Italian collectors Andrea and Marco. The decals are up next and get a detailed breakdown by type and branch. The decal photos are really superb.

There’s an excellent chapter on reissued helmets and camo helmets

The above is just a review of the first half of the book and there is much more. There’s an excellent chapter on reissued helmets and camo helmets including winter camo helmets , wire camo’s and net camo helmets of which most were found in Norway. Even Wehrmacht and SS cloth covers are shown in detail. The final chapter of the book is about Fallschirmjäger helmets.

The photos in the book are of very high quality

Conclusion

This book is a must have for anyone interested in German combat helmets of the second World war be it as collector or history buff. The photos in the book are of very high quality and every chapter is supported by period photos as well.

How to order ?

This is a self published book so first editions may sell out fast. You can order it directly from the author via this e-mail : janmeland@hotmail.com

Tracking the fakes #8

Dedicated to the victims of the infamous fake Big foot decal.

How this decal can still feature on so many helmets on dealer websites is unbelievable. We know already for 20 years that a good Big foot decal is only found on Quist helmets. Still dealers present us with a plethora of shells with this cheap fake plastic knock off.

GUNSTAR.CO.UK

Type in German helmet in the search box and some hideous fakes will appear from the likes of Antiques storehouse.

A typical and common abuse of such platforms by people that lack knowledge on the subject or that have downright criminal intentions to rip someone off.

Yes the below shell is sold as an authentic DD SS for 1100 GBP , they are serious.

The next one a Heer with that typical cheap fake Big foot decal and a horrible fake liner. The shell is SE.

They sure like their SE’s with fake Big foot decal.

ANTIQUES.CO.UK

This website provides a similar service or disservice depending on the way you look at it like the Gunstar website that started this blog article. Scam or clueless seller of that website seems to be Breedon antiques.

Here he is selling some Chinese fake commercial M18 looking contraption for 995 GBP.

The next one is kind of funny taking his sales pitch into account :

Good condition and liner, complete nothing missing, some slight rust but would clean off and make good, large sized, rare helmet, offering free worldwide delivery reference OSS

I’m sure a kid in Asia painted this one thinking that German paratroopers were present when Jesus was born which may explain the comet symbol.

Yours for 1250 GBP.

Any seller that knows all about German helmets must have the iconic Afrika Korps palmtree helmet for sale ? And of course it’s the rare DD M40 kind that don’t exist. He is kind with the price on this one though he only ask 795 GBP.

JC MILITARIA

I found this NS M42 for sale as a Kriegsmarine and I am sure you recognize our friend the fake Big foot decal.

PARADE MILITARY ANTIQUES

A no decal with a decal. CKL lot number 4462. The wire of course is someone’s hobby project and a rubbed off fake decal.

Strachan Militaria

Another UK based dealer with a serious crappy helmet inventory and while his flavour texts don’t tell you what he’s selling is fake his prices seem to say ‘hey I know it is crap that is why I price a Normandy SS camo for 30% the value of what an original would cost’. (which is still 95% too much)

n M35 single decal Waffen SS helmet in Normandy camo. Large size helmet shell has screw-in vents and is stamped with serial number 6033 on inner skirt. Camouflage paint has a rough cork-grit texture. A large darker patch on the crown suggests the helmet has been standing in water at some time in its life. SS decal has a margin of original paint around it which is brown in colour. Decal is 50 per cent present with some flaking but the runes are clear. Eisenhuttenwerke maker and size stamp ET66. Tan hide liner, and black chinstrap. This helmet can laid aside and paid for in interest-free instalments.

Strachan militaria

1495 GBP

AX MILITARIA

Let’s close with this fake TENO M42 , for sale for 1295 GBP.

NO EFFORT ONLY SALES

If you just look at the poor quality of the fakes I posted here it seems that most of these dealers with their fancy names can’t seem to be bothered to do any kind of research. They just throw it online and hope to sell at a high price. It does not seem to matter to them if their descriptions are completely wrong. Easy money of course unless they themselves bought the fake helmets believing them to be original. But dealers have large networks and should know what they are selling and if you do the job do it right.

Happy hunting everybody , the real stuff is out there !

Frank

10 Questions for the German Helmet Vault

I will answer here some of the questions I often get via e-mail , about the website , about my collection , about buying and selling and so on.

The Questions !

1. Are all helmets presented on your website yours ?

No ! I wish they were. I have asked to use the helmet pictures of many collector friends to make the website as complete as possible. You can find all contributors listed on the Acknowledgements page. Here.

2. You must have a big collection ?

Comparing it with other collections I consider mine a smaller one. My collection is also no longer expanding even decreasing as interests in specific helmets change when time goes by. I also sometimes buy helmets as study material and sell them. This way of working has helped me getting my hands on a great volume of helmets.

3. Where does all the information on the website come from ?

The backbone of the information comes from the early books like Baer’s books. But online forums have been the biggest source of knowledge simply because it is a venue where many knowledgeable collectors meet and I have been able to learn a lot from them. I dare to say that in the last 15 years there’s been a serious increase in what we know about German helmets. The only drawback of online communities is that the information is scattered. You have to know what to look for which is why I created the German Helmet Vault. To gather all that knowledge in one place.

4. Where do you buy helmets ?

Over the years I have bought everywhere. There was a time when I bought 90% online from dealers and collectors. The last 3 or 4 years I seem to find a lot on local fairs and I find more enjoyment buying a helmet in hand these days. Helmets are offered to me as well by dealers and collectors that know what I look for.

5. Do you sell helmets ?

Yes , that happens. I like to keep my collection within some boundaries I set for myself so when something new comes in something else aways goes out. I prefer to sell via the online forums like German Helmet Walhalla and Wehrmacht awards.

6. Why do you collect Nazi items ?

I collect because I always have had an interest in military history. I actually started out with edged weapons but when visiting a friend and seeing a couple of German helmets there I began to look for them as well. If you look at all the helmets of the armies involved in the war the German helmet is for me the most visually appealing and it is fascinating the extent Nazi Germany went through to make everyone feel proud with the uniform they were wearing by issueing so many different decal designs to so many different organizations both military and civilian. This variety in helmets and decals is a dream for any collector. It is also very important that historical items are preserved , cared for and acknowledged. It saddens me when these old artefacts are often misunderstood in what should be an enlightened 21st century.

7. Why don’t you write a book

I have always found that books have limits , especially in the photo department. Also if a mistake is printed you can never correct it unless you print a second edition.

8. What is your view on fakes in the current market ?

I have never been concerned with helmets with fake decals , we know so much about which decals should fit on what shell and also the exceptions , we know when a certain decal fits on certain reissued helmets. There is a traceable logic in what we know on that subject and the USB microscope has helped us a lot what decals are concerned. Take also into account that good helmets fakers can use are rather scarce. You have to find the right shells in the right condition and you can’t get enough of such quality helmets to start up a production of fakes. So the fake decal attempts I am seeing are usually the work of individuals rather than big conspiracies.

Camouflaged helmets , medic helmets or helmets with wire additions are a whole different ball game. Here the fakers have a bigger source of helmets to use because the helmet need not follow a decal appliance logic. And the profit gain will be double or even triple when you can re-create something that fools a collector. At this moment and already for 2-3 years wire camo’s are especially doctored up using authentic helmets as base. I have known a 10 year period where a wire helmet was considered scarce. If you look around now you it’s almost common to see one for sale. The same happened with white painted medic helmet with red crosses a couple of years ago , they went from scarce to easily available for purchase. Now it seems like the supply or interest dried up and they are again more scarcer. Unfortunately there is less or almost no science involved when authenticating camo’s. One needs to be confident in ones ability to detect real patina , wear signs and tampering. My advice on these is to reach out to as many experienced collectors as possible for second opinions.

9. What’s your advice for new collectors

The best and fastest way to get up and running in this hobby is by joining the several international collector communities found online. You can get advice from experienced collectors from all over the world.

Advice # 2 is to realise that collecting is no bargain hunt. Don’t think you will be that person that can buy helmets at half the market price. Every helmet you see for sale that costs significantly less than market value will have issues that explain the price , on top of that it’s also how scammers work on second hand websites. Buy from trusted sources and pay the price.

Advice #3 Start with decalled helmets (and no decal M42’s) and learn first how helmets should look , feel and smell without camo or wire additions.

Advice #4 Choose quality above quantity. If you have the choice to buy 2 helmets or one better one , the better one is always the best choice.

10. What can a lot number list help me with ?

This is a question I have to answer regularly on the forums. There is a big misunderstanding about the power or use of a lot number.

It’s actual benefit has been to see patterns with regard to production and decal application. This allowed us to have certainty about which factory produced for which branches , for a long time it was thought that all helmet factories produced for all branches of the Wehrmacht or Polizei. We know now the NS factory did not produce Kriegsmarine helmets and SE did not not produce SS helmets. It became very clear thanks to the lot number list.

For looking up individual helmets it’s use is very limited. It can give you an approximate year of manufacture , what liner band can be expected (with what date). But none of this is very conclusive , it can not help authenticate your helmet if you have a match with the lot number list. Only a visual inspection can do that.

For M42’s and Q M40’s with a rear marked Q stamp it can be useful to check if the helmet should still have a decal. We see the decal drop clearly in the lot number list.

One of the most asked questions probably is , my helmet is lot number XXX can you tell me what branch it was ?

Answer = No. Lot numbers are not tied to specific branches or sizes even. The decal is what identifies the branch or the color in case it is Luftwaffe blue.

Next step is joining up !

So that’s it for the top 10 questions , it was fun compiling those and I’m sure that maybe I overlooked a couple. Stay safe at home everyone and if you haven’t joined up yet here are some links to communities that should help you get on track with collecting. Have a good week-end.

Frank

German Helmet Walhalla : http://www.ghw2.com

and my own small platform can be found below.

Chinese fakes and Repro Fallschirmjäger helmets

Sorry dear readers , no blog article this time but a new article that has found its place on the website with useful information on Reproduction shells currently on the market.

The new page is under the Fake and Repro menu or you can just click the below link to go there.

If you want to further discuss it or chat about other aspects of our wonderful hobby please register at https://germanhelmetvault.com/forum/ my platform for German WW2 helmet collectors.

Have a good week-end and stay safe. The Corona virus is very infectious.

Frank

Tracking the fakes #7

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.

Collectors Guild

The chinstrap looks great remaining completely intact and is maker marked “Luttringhausen & Co. Klon 1940”. The steel buckle works well.

Lakeside trader

BLACK CROSS MILITARIA

This SS helmet for sale for 3655 $ is orginally a no decal M42 that has the fake round bottom decal added.

WEITZE

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.

Germania Militaria

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.

Germania Militaria

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.

See you there ,

Frank

Lot number database UPDATE

A small e-mail just to inform you that a new version of the Lot number database list is now available.

Lot numbers database

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.

Have a great week-end ,

Frank