Fake items and Repro's

The policy of this organization is that we will not sell fake German Helmets. However, reproduction and refurbished German Helmets are acceptable. Let us outline the difference.

Reproduction and refurbishment is common practice for use in reenactment, film etc. Many hobbyists refurbish these German helmets for fun and even profit.

We believe reproduction items should look authentic on film. Remember though, It is important to recognize that on film or reenactment you want the appearance of newly issued gear and clothing, because at that time they were!

A helmet becomes a “fake” when efforts have been made to restore the helmet, or any part of the helmet as to affect the appearance of age and authenticity, in an effort to make it appear original when in fact it is not. At this point the restoration becomes fraud.

We do not sell helmets that are “faked” in any way. If we did sell a helmet that has been faked, and we were to price it as such and identify the false details, there is no doubt that someone less scrupulous would purchase the helmet, with the intent to resell it as authentic at a much higher price.

More information on how to determine authenticity is coming soon. For the time being we have borrowed some information from another web site.

The following was copied with permission from the knowledgeable gentleman at www.germanhelmetsinc.com who is a large dealer of reproduction items for film and other living history reenactment. He also has great experience with a broad range of original military items.

Liners...This is an area where the collector does not have too much to worry about. There are reproduction liners being made today but they are, for the most part, being made to sell as reproductions for restoring Helmets. The quality is very good but will not fool any collector with an ounce of common sense. Normally, the leather backing material that cushions the leather from the inner band is made from synthetic foam rather than the wool felt that is found on originals. The hardware on the reproductions is zinc-plated steel rather than solid zinc alloy. The best current reproductions are maker marked "B & C, Litzmannstadt" This mark has been copied from an original maker but the liner itself should not fool anybody. NOTE: there is soon to hit the market, a new improved reproduction liner that is a copy of the early aluminum banded liner. It will display certain features that will make it easy to discern as a copy.

The collector should be more aware of liners that are made from original components with new leather added to replace worn or missing leather. Watch out for the correct size marking on the leather. Original liners are ALWAYS size marked on one of the fingers. Original liners are precision cut from dies. Watch out for leather that seems to have been cut with scissors or shears. Remember that all original liners have small leather grommets on the inside of the "finger" tips to re-enforce the drawstring holes. Original liners will often have various markings on the reverse of the leather. These markings may be an RB number (from the particular leather company that supplied the leather to the liner maker.) The markings may also be a date or simply a drawing-lot number. Not all original liners bear these markings and the absence of them does not tell that the leather is new-made.

Chinstraps ...There are many many reproduction chinstraps being offered for sale as originals. Many of them are advertised as mint un-issued, found in a ware house. I can tell you that I have been traveling the world, buying and selling helmets and militaria for 20+ years. There is NO SUCH THING as a warehouse of un-issued helmet straps and there has never been an un-issued supply of them "found". The reproductions mostly come from eastern European craftsmen who will produce extreme quality work. (At what we would call "discount" rates.) Watch out for chinstraps that have never been mounted, watch out for chinstraps that still smell of leather. (new leather will retain its smell for 5-10 years)

MARKINGS: Chin strap maker markings alone are not the way to tell if a particular chinstrap is authentic or reproduction. The people who are manufacturing chinstraps with the intention of fooling collectors, are making metal stamps to mark their product in an authentic fashion. These markings, for the most part, are copied from known originals. In my travels in eastern Europe and through my contacts overseas, I have visited these places where the "fakers" have established their "factories". I have seen what they are doing and have viewed the best reproductions currently being made. Another note on markings; a full 50% of original straps I have encountered are unmarked in any way.

BUCKLES: More than 50% of all original steel buckles were painted grey or grey green. I have observed many that were unpainted. As far as reproductions, I have observed at least 5 different variations. Only one of them comes close, in my opinion. There is a new reproduction that is being made with specially struck aluminum buckles. These buckles are practically indistinguishable from originals. Fortunately, the leather tanning is not exact and the makers are not attempting to fool collectors. These aluminum mounted straps bear the markings "R. Larsen, Berlin".

Below is a sampling of reproduction chinstraps that I have encountered. Some of them are good, some not so good. Some are intended to fool collectors, some not. Some of these, I know who the makers are, some I do not. This is certainly only a partial list of what is out there. I will add more as I run across them. The opinions as to quality are my own.

           Maker mark copied from known original                           Note Quality on scale of 1 to 10
G. SINGER, KLATTAU 1941    yes  Klattau was a German re-named city in the Sudetenland Original chinstraps found dated 1941, 1942 and 1943. I have found the repros to be un-impressive    5
 Lohmannwerke Bielefeld 1940    yes  One of the better fakes, made today in Warsaw    8
Voegels Koln 1940    no  Made today in Prague, not intended to fool collectors    6
RB Nr 0/0390/0204    yes  Made today in Prague, not intended to fool collectors    6
RB Nr 0/04190/0709    yes  Made today in Prague, not intended to fool collectors    6
Wallisch & Co. Vien, 1942    yes  One of the better fakes, made today in Warsaw    8
 R. Ehardt, Poessnick, 1941    yes      8
 R. Larsen, Berlin 1938 and 1939    no  Made today in Prague, not intended to fool collectors    6
 dtv 44 unknown      5
 dtd 44    yes      5
Otto D. Muller, Eislebe, 1942    yes   One of the better fakes, made today in Warsaw    8
ANY strap with SS markings    I do not believe originals existed  

 

 

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