From what I was told, well, my father was told by an ex-FBI guy, is that agents are trained to identify counterfeit money not by looking at all the ways bills are faked or by studying fakes but rather by studying only the authentic. Enough of that and a fake becomes obvious as such just based on experience. From what I have observed, there just aren't many demonstrably authentic examples of such helmets nor those with that much experience in only vet-gifted or proven helmets. Additionally, originals varied greatly whereas things like authentic 100 dollar bills do not. What we as collectors get to study are examples that other "expert" collectors say they have held "in-hand" and testify that to them it is real. We also get to study more fakes than not. That's about as good as it gets without provenance. We've seen where that can lead us.
To me, comments like "Looks good", and "I like it" are not very meaningful in a world were such helmets, if known to be authentic, would command very high prices. Plunking down even 1/4 of such prices would be risky to me for something that will only collect more "I like its" over time and never grow provenance. I don't know of an objective "expert" who, in a hushed room of awaiting hopefuls, would squint at a helmet through a microscope and then look up and declare, "Its good!" to a now rumbling room of gasping bidders all now yelling and climbing towards the stage with wads of cash in hand.
A little dramatic scene, I know. But really where is the objective truth in all this? What if we're wrong? Insistence and arrogance is all that stands as proof over time. What if we're are right? Still will never know and relies on the same hunches. Heck, "Came from my personal collection" or "from the collection of..." is where many well-known fakes have been found. Best evidence to me would be that it was found as-is in the bottom of a crate of $5 shells in an old surplus store in the 80s.
I do know this - I could be one heck of a helmet counterfeiter but I couldn't cringe long enough to perform such a sadistic experiment on others. I couldn't sleep either.
It's a neat looking helmet is about all I would ever say and then could imagine if it was real. To me the strength of the bond to those collectors I can embrace that agree with me can't translate into a lust to own it for more than any other M-1(within reason of course).
What about the powdery rust lower on the base color and also under the chipped green camo? Is that old rust that was waiting to pop through both factory paint and the field applied camo paint? Did chips occur in the camo over the years that then rusted with the same appearance of the diffuse rust on the factory paint layer?