Your First Purchase : What Kind Of Helmet Should I Buy ?
The mistake most beginning collectors make is that they immediately want to go for the high-end stuff like SS helmets , camo helmets and chickenwire camo's. You will find yourself in the most faked segment of helmet collecting. The most dangerous place for a beginning collector and a lot of people drop out of helmet collecting after they discover they have been "had".
It's better to start more modest and get a feel for originals. Start with an M42 with no decal , a Single decal Luftwaffe helmet or a single decal Heer helmet.
Checking Out Before You Buy
Beginning collectors are strongly advised to post any future purchase on the forum for opinions. Please note that we will only discuss items based on good photos. If the photos are inadequate or the seller is not able to provide decent photos just pass and move on.
1) Check the maker of the helmet , see if the decal corresponds to that maker. 2) Check if the decal could be touched up or restored in any way. 3) Check out the interior as carefully as the decal , smell the leather , old leather has a specific smell. 4) Check if the rivets look untouched. Rivets with double bends in the pins should be closely examined as this can point to a replaced liner. 5) Chinstraps and drawstrings are often replaced with reproductions. Also smell the leather of the strap. 6) Take a step back and see if everything adds up. The decal , the paint , the liner , the strap. A mint tan leather liner in a very worn combat helmet , a clean white drawstring in a worn liner , a brand new chinstrap. The condition of the parts should match the overall condition.
Certificates of Originality or XRFacts certificates ?
Just ignore these. Use the forum to authenticate your helmets and if you use the forum a lot you will be able to train yourself. Don't let yourself be dependant on one person or company that tells you if what you have is real. Here you have an entire community of experienced collectors that can assist you. A more indepth look at XRF can be found here : http://www.walhalla....f-observations/
Update : In the meantime XRFacts has been proven a dud and no longer exists.
Safest Place To Buy ?
Our Classifieds section with Feedback is a good place to start looking for a nice original helmet. If the helmet you want to purchase there hasn't been discussed on the forum yet it's adviseable to post it up for discussion. When making an expensive purchase you may want to ask for an inspection period.
Worst Places To Buy From
As long as you are in the beginner stage of collecting it's wise to avoid Ebay and other auction sites. Advanced collectors know what to look for and can do good deals there even with bad quality pictures.
Generally it's best to avoid all sites with bad pictures as most of the time there's a reason for the low quality.
Never buy a helmet purely because the dealer says it's original and gives a return warranty. Often these return warranties last about 7 days , after that your money will not be refunded anymore. Don't forget the burden of prove is on you , if an item is fake you will have to convince the dealer to refund you.
Dealers that advise against asking an opinion on forums should be avoided. A non-informed customer is an easy prey for crooked dealers.
Too Good To Be True or Bargains ?
If you come across a militaria site or private seller whom has helmets priced well below the market value you can rest assured something is wrong.
Be suspicious when you come across sites that have many high-end helmets available like SS , SS camo and other kinds of camo helmets. Original SS and certainly camouflaged SS helmets are much looked for items by helmet collectors. Original SS camo helmets very rarely hit the open market as they are sold from collector to collector most of the time.