Terry Goodapple Q&A, author of German helmets, a collector’s guide


World war 2 ended 78 years ago and collecting World war 2 memorabilia is more popular than ever!

So I thought it would be fascinating to chat with a collector that started collecting in the early 60’s.

The first time I learned about Terry Goodapple was in the late nineties when I started my collecting career. My father had German Helmets a collector’s guide in his library and the book was a Godsend for me as I had only one collector to fall back on that had some knowledge on German WW2 helmets.

Take into account that the book was written in 1981 and the photos were in black and white. It touched upon all subjects that are still important today : decals , liners and how to recognize the different models.

A couple of years and helmets later I became a member of online militaria forums, still a rookie collector and you never guess whom I met there ! Terry Goodapple.

Terry joined German Helmet Walhalla in 2006 when I was administrator (GHW started started in 2006) and we probably already interacted on the Wehrmacht awards forum before that which I joined in 2005.

Terry for me has always been one of a select group of experienced helmet collectors who’s opinions and views have importance to me and his 1981 book was the inspiration for my own collection. Terry also has contributed helmet photos for my website.

Q&A with Terry Goodapple

When did you decide to become a collector of WW2 militaria and specifically helmets ?

When I was 10 years old I started building model airplanes with my Dad. He was a WWII vet and built plastic models of warplanes from the war.My favorite airplane was the ME109 and I started looking for picture books about the war and reading about the war. I immediately noticed how much better looking German uniforms were than the drab US uniforms, especially with the medals and insignia most German soldiers wore in the field.Plus they had these intriguing and great looking steel helmets with insignia on the sides.It became my dream to own just one of those helmets.

Was it hard to find helmets for your collection back then ?

Next to impossible for a 10 year old kid in the early 1960’s.My Dad was in the army in the Pacific and he brought home a few Japanese souvenirs but I had no idea where to get a German helmet.I did not know there were people who collected this stuff.

My first German relic was a party flag I found at a local antique shop for $6.  Then I noticed there were ads in the back of a gun magazine my uncle loaned me, advertising “souvenirs” from WWII.I wrote away for lists – my first list was from a guy who called himself Der Alte Oberst.I could buy a German helmet for $18 but I didn’t have $18 and my mother wouldn’t let me buy one even if I did.So for the next 5 or 6 years until I got a part time job, all I could do was read and look at pictures and watch TV shows and movies…… and dream.Even though all of my friends and schoolmates had Dads or uncles who were veterans, I had no idea they might have souvenirs from the war like my Dad.

I think I was about 15 years old when I bought my first German helmet from a mail order place for $8.It was painted olive drab and I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a German M40 helmet used by Spain with a Spanish liner and bracket welded on the front.I didn’t get my first REAL German helmet until I was about 18 years old.It was an M16 DD Heer with the NC decal scraped off. As it turns out, it was a pretty special helmet though, which I did not realize until much later.It was an ET60 with a 1931 dated size 52 liner with incised maker/size stamp and early carbine clip chinstrap. Very well worn.I bought it from a newspaper ad in our local paper for $25.I still have the M16, but I gave away the Spanish helmet to a kid, a budding collector, years ago.

How did you learn what to look for to avoid fakes , did you have a mentor ?

I bought the book Stahlhelm – Evolution of the German Steel Helmet by Floyd Tubbs which was published in 1971.It was the only helmet book in print at the time.I read it word for word and cover to cover many times and my goal was to find an example of every helmet shown in the photo section of the book. I checked them off in the book as I acquired each one but I never found them all. For example, I never owned a Berndorfer, or a frontal plate, or a Turkish visorless helmet. Eventually my tastes changed and I stopped collecting civic helmets. 

My new strategy was to have “one of each” combat helmet.I met a local collector around 1971 who was also a part time dealer although he was not a helmet guy himself he bought a lot of helmets via motel buys and running newspaper ads so I was able to study originals and learn what to look for. This guy introduced me to a fellow student at my college who came to my hometown from the east coast. He was a longtime young collector with many contacts in the New England area. He collected German hats but also owned and knew a lot about German helmets.  He was a gold mine of information and a pipeline to acquiring good original helmets. He is still one of my very best friends. 

My philosophy has always been to study, analyze, and never stop learning.

Did you ever buy a fake German helmet ?

Yes for sure, mostly before I was introduced to the first two collectors I mentioned. Until I met them, I was limited to mail order dealers and I bought 2 or 3 helmets that were pretty sad.

One that sticks out in my memory was a DD black SS helmet on a lightweight shell. I ended up giving it away later when I found out the truth about it. I can only think of a handful of helmets I bought over the years that turned out to be bad so I’ve been lucky in that regard.

Probably the worst one was the “Champagne rune” DD SS I bought almost 30 years ago.I did not like it when it arrived in the mail but I showed it around to other collectors at the time and they all thought it was great, so I kept it. I still have it, but it is hidden away in a closet.  Quite honestly, I think we ALL probably have one or two items in our collections we firmly believe (or believed) are real, but they are not.  

In the early days how did collectors look at replacing liners ? Greasing leather or oiling the helmet exteriors ?

In the late 1970’s I met and became good friends with a helmet collector who lived in the Chicago area. He wanted all of his helmets to be mint or near mint condition. He would routinely swap out helmet liners that were dark or worn for mint liners. He was also a big fan of using Pledge to wax the exterior of his helmets and he used vaseline on the liners as preservation.

I never did any of those things because I like my helmets in overall “used but not abused” condition. No one really objected to what he did. It seemed to be accepted as just one personal preference. Of course, as years went by, collectors became more and more obsessed with “untouched” helmets and I think that is a good thing, although you know that very few are literally totally untouched after 80 or 90 years.  The best I hope for is that everything matches as far as condition, age, vintage components, completeness, and so on.

What triggered you to write the 2 volumes of the German helmets books ?

It was not my idea. The only helmet book available in the USA in the 1970’s was the Tubbs book. The Baer book was written in German in 1977 but it was not translated and published in English until 1985. My local (first) collector friend suggested we go together and write a book about helmets. He felt there was a need and a market. He had contacts with a local printer and said he would handle that part including shipping and sales and I could write the book. We’d share profits, if any.  He finally wore me down and we started the project in 1980.

Can you tell me how you went about creating the books ? The content, the photographs in the book , how did that all go practically ?

As mentioned, the writing and the content of volume I of the book was up to me.I have to admit I was influenced to a great extent by the Tubbs book and some of the other collector books on the market on other subjects, some of which briefly mentioned helmets as well.

I have always been a studious person, good at analyzing things (my job for several years was an analyst for the federal government) and I loved to see how things worked and were made. I had been studying helmets since I got my first one a decade or more ago. I just tried to bring together what I knew and what I observed and what I had discussed with other dedicated helmet collectors. Basically the collective wisdom of the day back then. 

As far as photographs, I was far from a good photographer. We had no digital cameras. I took hundreds of black and white photos on film and had them developed and picked the best ones. I hit up my collector friends for photos of their helmets that I did not have myself. I wanted a good general cross section of the basic helmets available. It was my friend’s insistence to include current market values. 

I never expected there to be a volume II. However, two years later, once again my friend convinced me to write another book with more in depth information, a condition grading system, photos of rare and seldom encountered helmets, and some color photography. My friend from the Chicago area, who is an accomplished artist and photographer wanted in on the project and he actually ended up writing a good portion of the second book and furnishing photos of many of his helmets.  I did not agree with everything he wrote (such as using vaseline on liners and waxing shells) but since he did much of the work we left it all in. All 3 names went on that book.  Sadly, I am no longer friends with either of my co-conspirators on the books.

When did you notice the decals vs shell correlation ? Was it something collectors were aware off before the Tom Kibler and Kelly Hicks books mentioned it around 2003/2004 ?

I have to admit that I was slow to accept this as fact. I knew for years that you only saw 2nd pattern SS decals (what we called them then) for example on ET manufactured helmets, and you only saw 1st pattern SS decals on Quist helmets. I also knew or at least theorized that NS did not make SS helmets at all. I also noticed big foot Heer decals only on Quist helmets.  But with everything else, I only cared about whether a decal was real and if it looked like it had been on the helmet forever. 

So my answer is that when the Kibler and Hicks books came out, I was reluctant to accept their theories, and I did my best to find exceptions to their rules. The more I researched however, the more I became convinced they were right. I am 100% behind these theories now and it is usually the first thing I look at when examining a helmet.  Kudos to them for their ground breaking research!

Is there a certain helmet type or branch of helmet that gets you more excited ?

I love just about any German combat helmet. But I do like some more than others. My absolute top favorites are early M35’s, followed by early M38’s. Double decals are best but reissued from DD to SD or even ND are high on my priority too. 

As far as favorite branch, almost everybody likes SS and I do too but my honest preference is for anything Heer. Camo helmets have always been a favorite as well. 

When I first started seriously collecting in the early 1970’s I bought every camo helmet I could find while most collectors avoided them. Part of my collecting philosophy was to avoid having duplicates, and the great thing about camo helmes is that no two are exactly alike. DAK and tropical camos have always been top of the heap for me, Normandy/3 color camos are okay, but not my favorite. I’ve never liked wire camos as to me they take away from the beautiful shape and the aesthetics of the German helmet design.

I’ve attached photos of some of my absolute favorite helmets.

(Note : You can see more of Terry’s favorites at the end of the interview)

To see the photos in a large format read the article on my website here : German Helmet Vault BLOG – German Helmet Vault

Based on what you know now , how concerned are you with the fakes in our hobby in both decals and camo helmets ?

Concerned but not frustrated. I actually consider it a challenge to figure out if a helmet is good or not. I obviously want to find out BEFORE the acquisition but it is what keeps me going. Do I wish there weren’t so many fakes around? Sure. But I do not think it is killing the hobby. I recognize it is incredibly hard to be a beginning collector now though and I wish that was not the case.

How do you see the future of the hobby , for your own collection and in general ?

Everything I see tells me the hobby is going strong. The prices are crazy and anything good that is listed on a website or forum or at a show seems to sell almost immediately. It is especially strange for someone who has collected for 50 years and who was paying $25 for SD helmets and $35 for DD helmets and $75 for SS and paratrooper helmets when beginning to collect. I have no intention of stopping, or selling what I have. But who knows what lies ahead. 

Is Terry still buying helmets ? What was your last purchase ?

I am still actively looking for helmets and buying whatever strikes my fancy, but remaining shelf space is limited. My actual want list is very short but I am always on the lookout for anything unusual or striking or one of a kind. Basically anything that jumps out and grabs me. Attached are photos of a few of my recent purchases.

What advice can you give to a new collector that wants to get into collecting German WW2 helmets ?

The same advice that has been offered time and time again on the forums. Start slowly, be patient, don’t buy junk, save up for quality purchases, ask for opinions, study collector books and reputable online sources like forums, go to shows to get hands-on experience, talk to other collectors, don’t trust most dealers but find the ones that are predominantly good. Don’t give up if you get burned a few times and in fact, expect to learn the hard way occasionally. It is an insanely satisfying hobby but also very frustrating at times.

That’s great advice to end this Q&A with ,Terry thank you very much for sharing your stories and experiences with us. (and the very nice helmets 🙂 )

Below you can find some more of Terry’s favorite helmets. Enjoy !!!

Tracking the Fakes moves to the GHV community forum

Dear readers , you probably have noticed that I did not continue with my series ‘Tracking the Fakes’ for a long while now.

Due to time constraints it took me too long to finish new instalments making the information out of date and less useful.

I decided instead to put up fakes that I come across in a forum section called Tracking the Fakes on the community forum that I have set up on the German Vault Website.

All you need to do is log in there and “follow” that forum and you will receive a message each time a new topic is posted there.

Click this link to go there : German Helmet Vault

Have a great week-end


Facebook versus Third Reich militaria collectors

People have asked me quite often why is the German Helmet Vault not on Facebook ? There are various reasons. From the onset I have never been keen to throw my life online for all to see. In recent years so much data has been harvested from people’s accounts , data that’s offered to the highest bidder , that I’m glad that I did not participate in that scheme.

I don’t think it’s smart to walk in the online world under your birth name.

I find it still remarkable that Facebook was able to get people on their platform with their full names as usernames. Seeing how things progressed for the worse I don’t think it’s smart to walk in the online world under your birth name. I’m for 100% anonimity as far as it is possible to do so.

But that’s my personal motivation , so what about the website ? In the early days of the website I was considering a Facebook page but there was a reluctancy of course due to my personal reservations , another factor was taken into account as well. Censorship.

Facebook policy gives them power to delete whole pages and Facebook groups without looking at the context. The swastika is a forbidden symbol and pages , photos or groups are deleted without investigation.

Couple the swastika ban with the fact that they have your name and data and it becomes a little bit creepy.

On one hand I understand the necessity to police their platform against extremist groups but they should make the distinction between groups dedicated to military history and collecting and bald people with swastika tattoos on their forehead. We are miles apart. Couple the swastika ban with the fact that they have your name and data and it becomes a little bit creepy. True World war 2 militaria collectors don’t run around the neighbourhood showing their German helmets or flags , it’s first and foremost a personal passion shared with like minded individuals. But online , on Facebook , we don’t do that , we show and tell. I think that’s a mistake.

Funny thing is even now the platform has been proven not to be ideal for WW2 collectors that are into Third Reich militaria , it’s still being used , people go to the trouble of photoshopping the swastika’s from their photos.

Forums are a much safer environment where you are only showing your collection to like minded individuals.

The alternative ? Facebook has emptied out the smaller forums but it’s not in the interest of the hobby as forums are a much safer environment where you are only showing your collection to like minded individuals. Where a posting history shows someone’s track record and where you can hide behind an alias. But not just that , forums have a good search function that allows you to do serious research. I use it a lot to find examples of rare helmets. The bigger forums like German Helmet Walhalla , Wehrmacht awards and Warelics have been around for almost 2 decades and the amount of information they have gathered is a treasure trove for both new and old collectors.

I want to make it clear I am not discrediting some of the excellent Militaria groups that exist on Facebook. There are several that set high standards. (I have been told) But Big brother is watching them all , that is no conspiracy theory. Just fact.

It’s not about us or them. Facebook versus forums.

In the end it’s about learning and informing and different venues can have different benefits. It’s not about us or them. Facebook versus forums. You can perfectly be part of all venues and let your participation depend on the quality of the venue. But for those that seriously want to dive in feet first into this wonderful hobby I strongly recommend to subscribe to the forums mentioned above.


The Black Stahlhelm

Dear readers , with this article I want to get a closer look at many different types of black painted helmets that were used in the Third Reich. When we think about black helmets we immediately think of the transitional M16/M18 and Austrian helmets used by the early SS. But also M35’s and medium weight Edelstahl helmets were repainted in black for the SS and as you will see also for the Wehrmacht.

A mixture of (probably) black painted M18 and Austrian transitional shells.


New collectors often think the Germans were very strict when it came to altering their helmet’s appearance. But in fact the opposite is true. Crookedly applied decals were accepted. Despite general orders a lot of soldiers kept their tricolor on their M35 helmets and putting camo paint on a helmet was common practice done by the individual soldier or at unit level.

DAK soldiers adding desert camouflage to their helmets
Adding camo or overpaint to helmets

But it didn’t stop there. The Feldherrnhalle division and auxilliary units like the NSKK and Bahnschutz polizei overpainted their factory decalled helmets with their own color. A kind of brown for the FHH , a blueish grey for the Bahnschutz and NSKK had a variety of shades from green to greyish blue. Also M35 Reicharbeitsdienst helmets and some M40’s are observed with overpaints.


It looks like two methods were used. Brush repaint or spray gun repaints. Very often the interior was also painted but always only right up against the liner band usually leaving such paint traces visible on the leather and on the liner band itself. The early transitional SS helmets were already painted this way. According to Kelly Hicks a cardboard template was placed inside the helmet to protect the leather from being sprayed. (reference SS steel page 45). Below an example of an Algemeine SS transitional helmet with interior painted , note the black on the chinstrap bale and the first green color in the dome.


All the units talked about earlier in the article at some point decided to stand out more and have their own helmet color. Was there ever an official order for it ? So far as I know it has not surfaced. It was also never uniformly done , what I mean by that is that there is a big variety in paint colors. Helmets were being repainted all over Europe and everyone interpreted their ‘official color’ a little differently. Especially the NSKK have more different overpaint colors. For the RAD it seems it was not that often done. Early RAD used Luftwaffe helmets as they were. Some got overpainted when the RAD decals arrived but most M40 and M42 were never overpainted ,they just got a RAD decal stuck on them.

So to answer why ? Unit proudness , the practical need to be recognized amongst other soldiers. These are the only two answers I can come up with.


Only commercial helmets seems to have received a factory black paintjob but the Feuerschutz traditionally wore black helmets so that makes sense.

Bahnschutz / Railroad protection

Apart from the SS we also know the Bahnschutz used black transitionals with Heer decals. These black transitionals may have been SS helmets initially as they are painted in the same way. The connection to the Bahnschutz has only been very recently discovered. One helmet was found with a card attached to it that it was attributed to a Res. Lokführer = Reserve train driver.

You can view this helmet here : Black M18 Heer Transitional w/ Property Tags – Heer Fire Brigade? – Transitional Combat Helmets 1919 – 1945 – German Helmet Walhalla (ghw2.com)

Others have been found with railway stamps in the dome.


Very little is known about exactly which Wehrmacht units painted their helmets black. We see black helmets in every branch of the Wehrmacht. Luftwaffe , Heer and Kriegsmarine. With each come some possible expanations of their use based on unit markings found in the helmets or where they were found. Militaria dealers refer to all these black Wehrmacht helmets as Flak helmets. Some are Flak , some are not.

1. Kriegsmarine

When I bought the below helmet the story was that the helmet was worn by a guard of Kriegsmarine installations in Denmark. It’s an SE 64 M35 painted also up to the liner band , you can see more details on my Kriegsmarine helmets webpage.

In Norway some local collectors also found black KM helmets out of the woodwork related to Kriegsmarine installations. Check out below topic on GHW2.com.

My first helmet..a black KM M40 – Third Reich Combat Helmets 1935 – 1945 – German Helmet Walhalla (ghw2.com)

2. Luftwaffe

Black painted Luftwaffe helmets are called Flak helmets the most often by collectors on forums. Unfortunately most are lacking unit markings. But here’s a fine example from Ron Richter’s collection.

The feldpost number is a Flak one.

(28.4.1940-19.9.1940) 2. Batterie Reserve-Flak-Abteilung 256
(8.9.1942-11.3.1943) 4. Batterie schwere Flak-Abteilung 166
(8.9.1943-22.4.1944) 4.10.1943 4. Batterie gemischte
Flak-Abteilung 166 (v)
(25.11.1944-Kriegsende) 13.12.1944 gestrichen.

You can see more black Luftwaffe helmets in this topic on GHW2.com : Black Luftwaffe – Third Reich Combat Helmets 1935 – 1945 – German Helmet Walhalla (ghw2.com)

3. Heer

Whom were using the Heer black helmets is at this time still difficult to pinpoint but an exciting research project nonetheless. Could be also Flak as Heer Flak batteries also existed. Could they have been used by the Bahnschutz or otherwise railroad related , guards ? A third theory suggests the black helmets belong to Panzer units. A black overpainted gasmask cannister which links to a Panzer abteilung was posted on a topic about a Black M35 on the Wehrmacht awards forum. It could even be all or some of the above.

The below helmet is an M35 reissue with Methner and Burger decal , the black paint was painted over the reissue paint , decal painted around. 1940 dated liner.

Example 2 has some interesting features , none of the rivets have washers. It makes the most experienced collector scratch his head. Judging by the overall patina these were intentionally installed that way. Lack of washers available ? Another very similar example surfaced recently also without washers. See further down.

This helmet looks more brush painted , the decal like the first helmet I showed is also a Methner and Burger. The rivets are 1944 dated.

On the Wehrmachts awards forum a gentleman shared his M35 black overpaint with ET decal. The black brush paint reminded me of mine. Guess what ? None of the rivets have washers. You can read the topic if you click the link below. There you will also see the black overpainted gasmask I mentioned earlier that belonged to a Panzer abteilung.

Heer M35 DD “blackie” – Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums

The 3rd Heer helmet I can share is one that’s not been painted inside and the decals have been overpainted , a very nice wartime example without a doubt. The stamp in the shell reads : 2.flakregiment 11. batterie (photos kindly provided by Quentin on GHW2)


It is always exciting and perhaps a little strange to find a gap in the knowledge we have about certain helmets because so much has already been written. Unknown is often unloved in this hobby of ours but I hope this article will renew the interest in black helmets and result in even more knowledge becoming available. Also to avoid any wartime black helmets being destroyed by people feeling the need to remove the overpaint.

If someone reading this topic has a black helmet with unit markings you can share it with me via e-mail. (see the contacts page)


Thanks to all of you who share their collections on forums , you make them a treasure trove of information. Also thanks to those who reached out to me privately with information. Also to my friend and co moderator of the German Helmet Vault Andrea who tipped me on the black Kriegsmarine helmet and Scott B who tipped me on the black gasmask can.

Keep collecting and keep sharing (not on Facebook)

Check out : http://www.GHW2.com (German helmet Walhalla) and the Wehrmachts awards forum helmet section : German Helmet Forum – Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums

And for those looking for a smaller venue can register and post here : German Helmet Vault

Helmet chinstraps – Big business

I see more and more chinstraps being sold separately the last couple of years , especially in Europe. Prices having moved up from 100 – 150 euro to 200 euro and more. The big question of course is , are all chinstraps that are being sold real?

We know about 80+ different wartime chinstrap makers

The reality is that the chinstraps for sale are often a mixed bag. Fakes and originals , the price being asked however is the same. So anyone looking for a chinstrap to add to a German helmet should do careful research as if buying a German WW2 helmet. We know about 80+ different wartime chinstrap makers so the playing field is big for those looking to make an extra buck with fake chinstraps.


You can put chinstraps in two categories.

  • Aluminium buckle chinstraps (pre war till approximately 1940)
    • They will have a maker mark and a year stamp
  • Steel buckle chinstraps (1940 till 1945)
    • Between 1940 and 1943 They will have a maker mark and year stamp
    • From 1943 to war end they will have an RB / RF nr or letter code , occasionally accompanied with a year stamp

Fakes with aluminium buckles are rare and the buckle is not comparable with war time ones , same with the maker stamps on these chinstraps. So you will encounter less fakes amongst the straps with an aluminium buckle.


Aluminium buckle chinstraps are the safest to buy

Steel buckle chinstraps are the territory of the fakers. There is one infamous fake steel buckle that’s been on the market since the nineties which is still being sold today as original (loose or with helmets). The buckle is quite unique as no German wartime manufacturer ever produced such a buckle. Collectors call it the humpback buckle or just humpback fake. It is the easiest of fakes to spot once you remember its shape.


The majority of steel buckles produced are thick steel buckles with thick pins. There are a lot of possible shapes for these wartime buckles. Thinner or more flimsy looking buckles can be found on some later chinstraps but these are rather uncommon. Buckles can have a grey overpaint or be bare steel.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR : Maker stamps

Maker stamps come in many different fonts and styles. We can put them in three groups.

  1. Fully marked ones have a Name , city and year
  2. RB / RF number marked one (From late 1943 to end of the war)
  3. Letter code marked ones (From late 1943 to end of the war)

Fake chinstraps can carry authentic wartime makers and RB / RF numbers so make sure to compare the stamps with known accepted originals. Check the font and style , location of the stamp. Also in addition judge the leather and shape of the adjustment holes. Wartime used straps have a good patina both on the buckle and leather. Like with the leather of helmet liners the leather darkens with use from sweat and dirt.

Straps that look brand new should be looked at with suspicion.

Here’s a fake example. Note the thin leather and adjustment holes. Also the buckle is not a correct wartime buckle.

Straps that look brand new should be looked at with suspicion especially if you are buying online. New leather will smell.


New straps being made with wartime buckles (often ground found buckles are being used).

Hoard finds , while hoard finds are perfecty acceptable and exist they are also used to explain an inexhaustible supply of chinstraps by some sellers.


  • Avoid brand new straps altogether even if you find a mint authentic strap it will not match well on most helmets.
  • Buy a used one with a nice patina and make sure the leather is still in good shape enough to attach it to a helmet.
  • Buy a strap with a verified maker or RB/RF nr or 3 letter code. Use the resources I will list at the bottom of this post.
  • Don’t spend top money on unmarked , shortened straps or broken ones.
  • If you have even the slightest doubt , don’t buy.
  • Go for the thicker steel buckles or aluminium ones.
  • Double verify the authenticity of so-called late war straps , chinstraps that are a bit different and lack a maker are often called late war straps to help them sell faster. More often than not these are to be avoided.
  • Demand high quality photos


To help you there’s an abudance of resources online and in books. First of all there is my page on chinstraps which I am working on expanding.

Chinstraps – German Helmet Vault

Another very good online resource is German Helmet Walhalla’s chinstraps gallery. I use it a lot myself. You must be a member to see it.

Chinstraps – German Helmet Walhalla (ghw2.com)

And the third is Jan Meland’s book German helmets 1916 – 1945 which has a large photo section that shows many different buckles and chinstrap stamps.

Review : Jan Meland’s German Helmets 1916 – 1945 – German Helmet Vault

That’s it again for now , thanks for reading my posts and for those that want to interact feel free to join our small German Helmet Vault communty.

German Helmet Vault

Stay healthy ,


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.


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 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.


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 !


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 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.


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


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