How To Find A German Helmet on eBay

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Published: 16th October 2009
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Collectors of military memorabilia often use eBay, since it's an excellent source of good helmets, and you could get what you want for a low price.

However, as eBay becomes a more popular place to purchase German helmets and other military items, more fakes appear. There are plenty of sellers out there creating fakes. Here's a guide on how to find a German helmet on eBay without getting ripped off.

First, take a look at the chinstrap. Most original German helmets (circa WWII) have no strap. In fact, a single vintage strap could sell for a hundred dollars! Many sellers want the increase in price that a chinstrap brings.

They use modern chinstraps, most produced in Eastern Europe, and attach them to a vintage helmet. There are many fakes already known on the market, and up to half the German helmets sold on eBay have this problem.

If you buy a helmet with a strap, and once it arrives, you find that the chinstrap has a noticable chemical or leather odor -- a "new strap smell" -- return it. Remember -- leather loses its smell after sixty years in storage. Chemical smells may indicate artificial aging substances have been used to fake the look of an old strap on new leather. Liners are also faked commonly. Use the same rules for chinstraps, and look for holes on the fingers of the liner, but not around the forehead.

eBayCamouflage is another thing to look for. Real camouflaged German helmets are extremely rare, particularly the Afrika Korps and Normandy variants. This means that most of the camouflaged helmets on the market are actually fakes. Unfortunately, it's harder to tell the difference between real camouflage on a helmet and fake paint. If the paint's still in excellent shape, without damage and scratches, there's a good chance it's a fake. After all, a helmet that's been through a war and most of a century is going to have a few scratches and dings.

Chicken wired helmets are also being sold in greater numbers than really exist. Real chicken wire helmets are quite rare, and you should generally avoid buying the ones you find on eBay. If you think a helmet is real, take a second look. The real thing will be made of either mild steel wire, and will be rusted right to the helmet, or it will be made from zinc wire, which doesn't rust. If you find wire that's just a little bit rusted, or shiny new wire, you're looking at a fake.

The decals are another common method of faking the authenticity of a helmet. Good decals raise the value of a helmet a great deal, but there are plenty of sellers putting fake ones on German helmets. A real decal will fit the helmet and will have a metallic look. It'll also be appropriate for the helmet type. M-35 helmets are fitted with a pair of decals. M-40 helmets sport an eagle decal. M-42 helmets should have no decals at all. Remember that certain WWII German imagery is not allowed on eBay, so if these symbols appear in the photos, you can expect the auction to be closed.

Last, but not least, a rare helmet usually isn't. Unusual helmets, like Waffen-SS helmets and Fallschirmjager helmets are almost always faked when you find them on eBay. Likewise, most black helmets (not made after 1939) and any "original" helmet covers are almost invariably not the real thing. Knowing about these methods of faking a helmet can help you get a good deal without being ripped off.

For more WW2 Militaria information, reviews, articles with tips and tricks for WW2 militaria, WW2 weapon, WW2 uniforms hunting or shopping please visit Militariana.Com

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