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What Does A $24,000.00 Fake Helmet Look Like?


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When I started buying German helmets a real one with a real decal cost about $20 and the fake decals of the time stuck out like a sore thumb. As time went by the price went up and the fakes got better, I bought a Black SS helmet mail order and it looked perfect with the right amount of wear, just one problem the helmet was a post war with no rivets. I picked up a few after that before the price got out of my pay grade, only a couple not tracable to the Vet who brought it back. One camoed with vehicle paint before you could buy pre-mixed paint those colors found in an old antique shop and a German paratrooper helmet my Dad had. Years before Dad had gotten sick and offer to sell me some of his treasures and I turned him down telling him he'd be okay, whe he was giving me part of his collection I paid him for those items. I paid him what he had paid for it $125, he had had it a long time. He gave me several camoed helmets and a couple camoed US helmets, I wish there was a way to know if the paint was real.

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Hopefully, this research can help the hobby in other ways, and bring the expectations of militaria collecting down to more realistic levels, such as:

 

1. Recognizing that experts and reference books can be mistaken/flawed (there's obvious errors in some M1 helmet books, for instance).

2. Show anyone that wants to label themselves an "EXPERT" that it's important to consider the consequences of being presented with a valid argument against your conclusions (in other words, be more careful with how you use your own expertise)

3. Illustrate the worthlessness of "LIFETIME GUARANTEES" and "Certificates of Authenticity" (COAs) and show how paying high-retail to a dealer is no guarantee of quality.

4. Increase the vigilance of collectors in ensuring items are 100% genuine (i.e. the importance of "buyer beware").

5. Foster more respectful discussion when it comes to disagreements (many of the problems with these helmets could have been fully explored earlier if discussions weren't censored or ended too early by overzealous forum moderators).

 

I'm sure there are countless other lessons that this situation can painfully teach us.

 

Personally, I feel the "lifetime guarantees" on these helmets should be honored if they are indeed 100% fake (I haven't been able to read the full study, so I can't comment on the validity of it). Many of the very high retail selling prices for these were based on those guarantees. It shouldn't matter if someone made the guarantee based on information found to be faulty at a later date. If you can be bold enough to make such a guarantee, you should have the integrity to honor it if necessary. Yes, it's absolutely horrible that there may be such a devastating financial impact to those who offered these guarantees, however, that is the price of making them and the possible costs should have been figured into the decision to offer them. I offer a 14-day money-back guarantee for items I sell, fully understanding that I won't be getting max-retail for my items. I am okay with that, as I am 100% aware of my limitations to fully back a policy of "lifetime guarantees". Two weeks should be MORE than enough to decide if an item is real or not. If an item isn't worth buying WITHOUT a lifetime guarantee... it probably isn't worth buying.

 

As I said, lots of stuff to learn with this. Thankfully, we DO have a lot of great people in the militaria community, including dealers, authors, collectors, etc. Events like this recent shake-up in the helmet-collecting world won't change the fact that this is still an immensely interesting and enjoyable hobby.

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...Thankfully, we DO have a lot of great people in the militaria community, including dealers, authors, collectors, etc. Events like this recent shake-up in the helmet-collecting world won't change the fact that this is still an immensely interesting and enjoyable hobby.

 

The silver lining in all this is that those who were so flippant thinking that they would never be called out before, are now sweating bullets and will have to change their selling habits... hopefully.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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This is interesting and glad its here. I have known about this issue for many years and know the players involved, including the original maker of the Pocher and champagne decal helmets discussed on the WAF. What I find funny is that so many believe what is in a book or they believe in a COA.... Its crazy! Something fairly new should have tipped off many, and that is not what was in Kelly Hicks books, but perhaps what wasn't in others books. Omission can be quite telling. I don't collect TR, I don't own a German helmet, but I can certainly explain all of this mess in about 10 minutes to anyone and they will know that this isn't new. I didn't even read the thread with the link... I would add, that many on the WAF are asking about the tan helmets. They are linked as well and I am certain more will come out someday. Great heads up Mod's and Admin, glad you are watching out. Scott

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This thread is very informative and needs to be pinned

 

Ditto that.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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Show anyone that wants to label themselves an "EXPERT" that it's important to consider the consequences of being presented with a valid argument against your conclusions (in other words, be more careful with how you use your own expertise).

 

Quoted for the pure truth it is. Well said!

 

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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...Something fairly new should have tipped off many, and that is not what was in Kelly Hicks books, but perhaps what wasn't in others books. Omission can be quite telling.

I agree, but, only to a point. We need to remember that the helmet lot numbering system we all use to date helmet manufacture on M-1's was actually only published in one book. But, to square with your thoughts, yes, you would think that some of the things that others are NOT writing about would or should cause us to ask: Why?

 

Another thing I have noticed recently on some of the other forums is the piling on of those who have said: "they knew about all this for years" or "have always questioned XRF and these other issues", yet, when the small minority spoke up calling this stuff all into question in the last 5 years, these same guys who "knew" all this were conspicuously silent. We have even seen this among some U.S. collectors but, I digress. We need to move forward and learn from this.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Just removed a few posts which had nothing to do with this discussion. Let's keep this one on task and personal stuff toward each other taken to PM's :)

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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  • 6 months later...

Recently The Champagne Rune hoax has risen back to the top with names of fakers being revealed. Surprisingly, this guys work did not come from Europe, he is right here in the good ole USA. :dry:

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Hopefully he isn't affiliated with M1 helmets...

 

Not sure, his name was not one I've heard before. Anyhow, The TR helmet collectors seem to be feeding on each other, new statements being made, old statements retracted, denial, lawsuits, forums deleting multiple posts and even entire discussions about it... everyone seems to be in some kind of tail spin over the whole thing. It's ugly and only shows us more how, we need to make ourselves accountable to each other in the U.S. helmet area of collecting lest we face the same thing.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Where was this information posted? If correct, that information would be beneficial to all helmet collectors.

Recently The Champagne Rune hoax has risen back to the top with names of fakers being revealed. Surprisingly, this guys work did not come from Europe, he is right here in the good ole USA. :dry:

Ed Hicks

WARPATH Military Collectibles

819 Hope Mills Road

Fayetteville, North Carolina

(910) 425-7000

 

Always buying U.S. Airborne & Vietnam Special Forces artifacts and groupings, Painted and Rare U.S. Helmets; U.S. Valor Medal Groupings, Fine Swords...

Buying or trading for my collection: 1950s-1970s Vietnam era Rolex & Tudor Watches...

Contact me before you sell... [email protected]<script data-cfhash='f9e31' type="text/javascript">/* */</script>

 

My Web Sites: http://www.battlefieldmuseum.org

 

http://www.warpathmilitaria.com 

 

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Where was this information posted? If correct, that information would be beneficial to all helmet collectors.

 

 

Ed, once I know for certain that the names given are correct, I will post more. This is why I have not given the information here. Currently, I'm posting as a warning as to what can happen to us. With some of the forums deleting information as it comes up, it becomes hard to reference and verify it.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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The various forum deletions are intriguing for many reasons. The helmet artists have always been a lively crew and some even do up US steel pots quite nicely. Those are the fakers I would like to see exposed.

Ed Hicks

WARPATH Military Collectibles

819 Hope Mills Road

Fayetteville, North Carolina

(910) 425-7000

 

Always buying U.S. Airborne & Vietnam Special Forces artifacts and groupings, Painted and Rare U.S. Helmets; U.S. Valor Medal Groupings, Fine Swords...

Buying or trading for my collection: 1950s-1970s Vietnam era Rolex & Tudor Watches...

Contact me before you sell... [email protected]<script data-cfhash='f9e31' type="text/javascript">/* */</script>

 

My Web Sites: http://www.battlefieldmuseum.org

 

http://www.warpathmilitaria.com 

 

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The various forum deletions are intriguing for many reasons. The helmet artists have always been a lively crew and some even do up US steel pots quite nicely. Those are the fakers I would like to see exposed.

 

I'm working on verification since once the information is out there, it is there for good. I want my name to still be in good standing when it's all said and done.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Recently The Champagne Rune hoax has risen back to the top with names of fakers being revealed. Surprisingly, this guys work did not come from Europe, he is right here in the good ole USA. :dry:

 

 

 

Just curious about why it is surprising that the guy is located here in the USA rather than Europe. I would think that fakers could be anywhere. Was there something that made everyone think he was located in Europe?

 

...Kat

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Just curious about why it is surprising that the guy is located here in the USA rather than Europe. I would think that fakers could be anywhere. Was there something that made everyone think he was located in Europe?

 

...Kat

The best fakers and those who have honed their craft the longest are known to be in Europe. Most of the local artisans were not thought to be this talented.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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The name recently mentioned is Eric Dolin, a known faker who was outed years ago by TR helmet collectors and a man who was featured in Kelly Hicks book: "SS Steel"(2004). It is said that Mr. Hicks found out he was a faker after the publication. Dolin seemingly disappeared into the shadows and my guess is that He honed his skills and just got better. Whatever the case, Mr. Hicks was either fooled again or was...[insert your own thoughts]. This is just really bad.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Just curious about why it is surprising that the guy is located here in the USA rather than Europe. I would think that fakers could be anywhere. Was there something that made everyone think he was located in Europe?

 

...Kat

 

I believe the idea was that since no Champagne helmets were found in Europe, only ever brought back and sold by "veterans" at shows in the US, it was hypothesized that the faker was domestic.

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Some fairly serious threats of legal action have begun to fly in both directions over the CR fiasco, which is probably why some of the online info has disappeared. Honestly though, the CR being outed as fake is kind of a "no duh" to many German helmet collectors...they were never completely accepted as legitimate. Unfortunately many of the people who ended up with CR helmets were new collectors reassured by their appearance in several celebrated reference books. A harsh lesson for sure. The tricky legal issue comes with the third party COAs that were purchased for many of these. Is the issuer liable for only the cost of the COA, or for the cost of the COA AND the value of the item being evaluated? Unless the document specifically states otherwise, I think it is the former....or at least a good lawyer could certainly argue that case. Another legal question is the extent to which an author is financially liable for an individual's buying decisions, when those decisions are based on his written statements? I seriously doubt that the legal threats will amount to much (they never do in this hobby). The legal fees associated with prosecuting the cases would eclipse the loss, and there probably aren't too many lawyers chomping at the bit to take on SS helmet cases.

I will pay top dollar for original WWII items pertaining to:

 

OSS

OSS Maritime Unit

NCDU

UDT

Scouts and Raiders

FSSF

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and there probably aren't too many lawyers chomping at the bit to take on SS helmet cases.

 

True that !

 

Unless D. Irving is a lawyer.

 

I've known Kelly for over 30 years and I sure hope he isn't involved.

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