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Rust on a unit marked WWII lid

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#1 36thIDAlex

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 05:57 PM

Hey everyone, a friend of mine recently found and is now offering to me a dream find— a named 36th Division double sided unit marked FS FB helmet with a follow me stripe. I don’t doubt it’s authenticity but my biggest concern is the rust gathered on the surface of the helmet. Before putting down the investment on the pot I wanted to see if any collectors had suggestions on ways to remove it without hurting the decals or if I need to worry about it spreading. My biggest concern is losing my investment as rust continually takes over the helmet through the years. I am not much of a helmet collector so perhaps I am overthinking it but I figured I would be safe and see what the pros think.

Here’s a couple photos my friend sent me of the main spots

Posted Image

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Thanks for the help


#2 Blacksmith

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:15 PM

I would not do anything to that helmet.

Simply store it in a place that is dry (read, < 50% RH), with consistent temperature.

It will be fine. Some folks will recommend RenWax and other stuff, but it has been fine for 75 years - why mess with it?

#3 doyler

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:41 PM

+1 Blacksmith


I have a 3rd ID from the vet.It is as I bought it from his house hold auction.Untouched.


People ask what are the rarest WW2 helmets...basically the untouched,unmessed with kind.

#4 Government Issue

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:14 PM

I agree with everything that has been stated! Don't do a thing to it. So many things have been messed with over the years. It's better to just leave it the way you found it. Any chance we can get more pics of the lid? You rarely see 36th div helmets. 

#5 Reforger

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 03:43 AM

I wouldn‘t clean it either. By the way, the rust could possibly come back after cleaning anyway.

#6 Bugme



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Posted 06 March 2019 - 06:15 AM

The rust(patina) that is currently on the helmet was the result of garage, shed or basement storage where humidity and temps fluctuate. As mentioned, after 75 year if this is the worst it looks, it certainly is not going to become a pile of rust in your lifetime. If it is in a controlled environment in your home, the spread, if any, will be nil.

As a collector myself, to me you would devalue the helmet, not increase its value by cleaning it.

#7 36thIDAlex

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 06:37 AM

Thanks for the responses everyone, I just get worried with it being a big investment and all and I know that it’s best condition is the one it is in naturally. I am meeting my buddy on Friday to look it over and finalize the transaction and should hopefully have some more/better pics then. It is also named so I’d like to do a little more research before I make an official forum post.

#8 917601

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 12:48 PM

Museums use Renaissance wax. I have posted much about this wax, it is inert, and seals even rust - no oxygen or moisture, no rust or oxidation formation. I use it on everything, even items in side my house. Reason, you never know when items may be inadvertently put out into the garage, basement, storage, etc...and especially if you plan on handing down items when you are no longer around. My own thoughts are I have been blessed to " own" certain items, I will go an extra step to make sure they will stay " preserved" ( or at the least stabilized) for future owners.

Edited by 917601, 06 March 2019 - 12:52 PM.

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