Like decals chinstraps have been re-produced for several decades now. Most reproductions are made for re-enactor helmets but often these chinstraps are also used by collectors to complete a helmet without a chinstrap. My view on this is that a nice original helmet is better displayed without a chinstrap than with an ugly copy chinstrap.
Most single chinstraps sold on E bay as original are fakes , authentic chinstraps sell fast amongst collectors so there is hardly a need to take them to auction.
Some dealers sites are also known to take stock of reproduction chinstraps made in Eastern Europe and they sell them as authentic.
Fakes vs original straps
There are only three things to consider when judging a strap and it does require quite a lot of experience and ‘feeling’ to know what’s what.
- Buckle – original buckles are sturdy and have recognizable shapes , late war buckles are tougher because they are slimmer and thus closer to copies. Look for over the top aging on the buckle (too much oxidation). Of note : So far I saw only one copy of the aluminium buckles , see gallery below.
- Maker stamp – The way these stamps are pressed into the leather often shows the difference between a good and a bad stamp. Look at the depth , the font of the letters.
- Leather – Perhaps the toughest part , do a smell test. if the leather smell is wrong it is probably fake. Check point 1 and 2 to confirm.
Be weary when you see mint straps being sold in large quantities at original prices.
When studying the gallery examples also take special note of the maker stamps.
REPRO STRAPS ON EBAY.DE – 2014
- Produced in a large batch
NEW FAKE THAT POPPED UP 2/08/2017
- Fantasy maker mark
- Incorrect buckle style and rivets
- Leather , stitching and holes incorrect.
NEW FAKE BEING SOLD AS ORIGINAL #1
- I started seeing these for sale in 2015 on several European dealer sites (en masse)
- Font and buckle all wrong
- There are several models of this strap presumably all made by the same person
Another similar one sold in Europe in 2017
NEW FAKE BEING SOLD AS ORIGINAL #2
- Another version of the strap shown above also available en masse by several select dealers.
- Copies a well known original maker
NEW FAKE BEING SOLD AS ORIGINAL #3
- Exotic looking buckles that do not match with this wartime maker.
- Note the large holes
- Be weary with mint straps found in quantity selling for original price
NEW FAKE BEING SOLD AS ORIGINAL #4
- From the same website as examples above.
FAKE RB nr CHINSTRAP
- This strap pops up occasionally on original helmets.
- It’s very easy to spot as copy. Bad buckle , typical fake maker stamp and light leather to match.
FAKE ALU BUCKLE CHINSTRAP
- Below is a copy of an aluminium buckle strap. So far the only one I have seen over the years. As you can see they are made with different makers stamped into the leather.
- The buckle does not resemble original aluminium buckles.
- Better view of the aluminium buckle fake
FAKE HUMPBACK CHINSTRAP
- The example below is called the “Humpback” fake in collector circles. It’s a chinstrap that originates in Europe and is on the market for more than 2 decades. You can buy it for 20 euro these days and they come with many different maker stamps. The nickname comes from the strange buckle shape.
- It should not fool a studied collector