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Legit 517th lid on EBay?

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What are people’s thoughts on this one. I’ve never actually seen a 517th helmet in person so I’m not really sure what to look for, other than the obvious modifications to the chinstrap and the helmet paint. Also I feel like I’ve seen this helmet before, maybe it was discussed here or maybe on another forum. Anyway I’m curious to see where people stand on this one. 
 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F383588965084

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There are so many helmets that have been sold to Americans on battlefield tours in Europe that I would never buy one with that story. Buy the steak, not the sizzle. Steak would be actual provenance.

The sizzle is "bought at a Normandy flea market" or "found in a barn in Normandy" or Belgium or similar story. That chin strap looks to have been cinched in many positions. The chell's paint chips have been overpainted with a darker base color, etc. The thin camo paint is remarkably well preserved considering the rest of it and the rotten liner. The M-1 scamfest of a couple years ago has left most of the quick commenters a little gun shy. So many got burned with wishful thinking(no offense to them). This is not a very good story and that alone would prevent my interest. 

JMO,

Dave

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Also, if you are in the market for such painted up gems, be advised that many collectors are still holding $3-5K fakes and those will be moved on in unknown ways over the years. The market has always had many fakes but this is something to consider. 

Don't buy an "anonymous" painted lid or one that "still has the original modified paint and camo net on it", etc. unless purchased from the vet, vet's family with provenance, or other substantial provenance. The military dumped, burned, or depot'd(and thus refurbished) M-1s unless they were brought home with the injured or some other reason. 

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Unless the helmet comes with solid provenance I wouldn’t touch it.

 

Also seller’s description:

 

“This is an original 517th PIR Airborne Helmet M1 FB WWII. I purchased it along with several other items directly from a “basement” museum in Belgium in 2007 while on a WWII Battlefield Tour. I was on an expat assignment living in The Hague at the time. I have been collecting US Militaria for nearly 20 yrs and this helmet comes from my personal collection and has been in it for 13 yrs now.

This is an extremely rare helmet. If you are in the collecting community then you are aware of that. I will answer any questions, however please don’t send me notes with your opinions on authenticity and / or “I heard that....etc”. You will see from my history that I am active in this field.

 

Some background on the 517 PIR:

 

The 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment (517th PIR) was an airborne infantry regiment of the United States Army, formed during World War II. At times the regiment was attached to the 17th Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division and later, the 13th Airborne Division. During most of their combat, the unit was an independent combined force of 17th Airborne troops called the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team or 517th PRCT /517th PCT /517th RCT.

 

Specific to the fighting in Belgium:

 

The 517th was attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps following the liberation of France, along with the 82nd, 101st, and 13th Airborne Divisions. Elements of the 517th participated in counter-attacks near the Belgian towns of Soy, Sur-Les-Hys, Hotton, and Manhay, pushing the German offensive past its starting point. The 517th suffered heavy casualties in the ferocious fighting during the battle, during which 1st Battalion, 517th received the Presidential Unit Citation for its successful assault on Soy and Hotton.

 

I reserve the right to cancel the auction at anytime. If you don’t have good feedback then please do not bid. I will sell to overseas bidders - assume additional shipping costs for secure shipping with signature on receipt. Those costs will be communicated via receipt so you know your not being charged more than actual shipping cost. I will only accept PayPal and all costs need to be paid prior to shipment. Finally, I have the helmet listed in a couple of communities. 

 

No refunds - if your don’t know “your stuff” don’t bid.”


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no way Jose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what kind of weird buckle is on that chin strap??? looks to be from some sort of web gear. put on your sun glasses and walk away.

 


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I want to point out something about that net dust pattern on the outside.

In under a year, any helmet with a net will collect dust on it and leave a pattern when you remove the net. Sits on a shelf 5-10 years... The dust gets thicker.

It doesnt mean a thing. Its just dust. Looks cool but ...... lol its dust.

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I don’t think that is dust nor is it to give the impression of dust. JMO 

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Just googled images of 517th helmets. Found some old USMF threads from our confirmed faker. Some even said, looks good to me and similar to the way many other 517 lids are found. So looks good. Testing the waters with his creations even educating members on what details made his offerings legit. Some might say he only faked a few and passed many legit kids. Don’t buy that. They were all fakes so...

There’s a nice museum in Belgium with so many patinated 551st helmets you wouldn’t believe it. You get excited at first then after a few minutes you see them laying around in the dioramas like they are nothing. They are. Same with 509th lids. Also a M1943 with “Winters” name strip hanging there and zero explanation. Very nice museum but it’s like a replica haven. 
My point? This stuff isn’t just laying around. It darned well better have a good story. 

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Isn’t the helmet camouflaged?

 

Is it supposed to be green?


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1 hour ago, Costa said:

no way Jose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what kind of weird buckle is on that chin strap??? looks to be from some sort of web gear. put on your sun glasses and walk away.

 

 

 

You're not familiar with the rigger-modified 517th PRCT helmets?

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1 hour ago, Costa said:

no way Jose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what kind of weird buckle is on that chin strap??? looks to be from some sort of web gear. put on your sun glasses and walk away.

 

517th helmets had chinstraps made from (what I believe) were musette bag straps, then they had a chincup sewn onto them.

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Only reason I mentioned the dust pattern is that I took a net off a helmet this morning that been been laying on the shelf awhile,

It has that same pattern in dust all over it.

I cant say either way anything about this helmet.

Its just it looks like someone recently removed a net.

Thats all I was getting at. I think that the pattern is dust.

It may not be, but it looks like it. Would someone have sprayed paint on it at some point?

If so why? Was spray paint in use in WW2? Where is the net?

The pattern looks like too thin to be paint applied with a brush over a net.

I dont get the net ghost ??? I dont understand it.

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It looks like paint to me.

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It's definitely paint.

 

I would definitely stay away from this one unless you're looking to buy a "replica" 517th helmet.

 

Pieter Oosterman's book has an example of a 517th helmet on page 294.


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38 minutes ago, GSP said:

517th helmets had chinstraps made from (what I believe) were musette bag straps, then they had a chincup sewn onto them.

if you like it------------- buy it. next to medic lids, paras are the next faked. is there a name in it? something is there and ask the guy if he researched it.


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Why would it have net pattern paint on it? Especially fine overspray paint on it.

Pre aerosol, spray paint went on pretty thick. 1949 is when spray paint in a can was invented.

Why would the pattern even be there. And it does'nt have airborne straps or an airborne liner.

Would'nt necessarily have to but.....

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Our resident faker explained in old threads that the 517 sprayed the camo pattern over the net.

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Guys,

 

I am selling this helmet. We can pull back on the conspiracy theories. Its the real deal. Its from my collection. The story is real. I would not sell a fake helmet. I have a couple of fakes that I was ripped off on in my early days of collecting and wont list them - gave those to my boys. I am moving some items out of my collection to pay for my restoration on my 71 Vette. I have attached a pic of me on the battlefield tour. I bought it the following day with my Dad who I took on the tour with me. 

 

The helmet was with a bunch of other M1's and I sorted through them. I don't think the guy knew what he had. 

 

I recently sold a named M42 set to a forum member just a couple of months ago as well. 

 

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8 hours ago, Costa said:

no way Jose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what kind of weird buckle is on that chin strap??? looks to be from some sort of web gear. put on your sun glasses and walk away.

 

 

6 hours ago, rooster77 said:

Only reason I mentioned the dust pattern is that I took a net off a helmet this morning that been been laying on the shelf awhile,

It has that same pattern in dust all over it.

I cant say either way anything about this helmet.

Its just it looks like someone recently removed a net.

Thats all I was getting at. I think that the pattern is dust.

It may not be, but it looks like it. Would someone have sprayed paint on it at some point?

If so why? Was spray paint in use in WW2? Where is the net?

The pattern looks like too thin to be paint applied with a brush over a net.

I dont get the net ghost ??? I dont understand it.

 

The chinstrap and the paint sprayed over the net is are the distinctive characteristics that make this helmet identifiable as a 517th Helmet, without them it would be just a helmet. Although I cannot speak to the originality of either, there is nothing wrong with the concept of them. The chinstraps were rigger made due the shortage of M2s and parachutist's liners. A few days before Operation Dragoon they sprayed everyone's uniforms, web gear, and helmets. These were not sprayed with spray paint cans, they were sprayed with spray guns which were commonly used to paint vehicles and such. 

 

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In this staged photo taken on August 14th you can see both the rigger chinstraps and the sprayed helmets. The man on the left clearly has an outline on the net where the paint was blocked by the chinstrap fastened behind the helmet at the time of painting.

This photo is from http://www.517prct.org/ which I suggest you take a look at if you want to learn something about these men


A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow!!! and thank you. As johhny Carson once said..... "I did not know that"

Thank you for teaching me and explaining that about the pattern !

Cheers !

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The 551st PIB was another unit that was known for their use of  paint gun applied camo to everything as mentioned.  Not saying it is, but this helmet reminds me of Lawdogs work from "back in the day".


Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

 

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Yeah, all the info about the 517 & 551 spray paint and rigger straps is correct but the “story” of that helmet is as common as it gets - particularly with fakes. I’m sure you would not intentionally sell a fake but how do you know it was authentic when you obtained it? Neither of us can without provenance. That’s the problem with buying things like this. I mean no offense to you - this is not an uncommon issue. You purchased it from a place where helmets like this were dropped by the dozens and then picked up by locals and well-preserved on the mantle of their Impoverished war-torn homes? I’m sorry to sound so harsh but now, as seller, the burden of proof is on you. Unfortunately, things don’t magically grow proof of their authenticity over time.  
Incidentally, you pictures the exact suspicious small-town museum in Belgium I was talking about. Many rusted out lids in piled up displays of dug items and then dozens of 551st and 509 lids all in identical patina and condition - nothing in between. No stories of vets or where things were found, just beautiful displays. The SS stuff and clean white camp was prevalent as well. We were the only ones there. Super kind guy who walked out with us and asked about us but had he known my interests(or had I revealed them) and nodded me to a private stash I would have smiled and politely said, “awesome displays but no thank you.” 
That tiny town museum(44 Museum) is not a hidden gem - it’s in all the museum guides there and those people, or that one old man, knows exactly “what he has”. It’s remoteness implies authenticity and a treasure trove of found items. I just showed my completely uninterested wife this thread and when I scrolled to your pic of La Gleize all she said is “Wow. That pretty much proves what you said about that place when we were there...”

Again, sorry to be so blunt and I hope you don’t despise me but Occam’s razor is double edged. 
D
P.S. Did the M42 set come from that museum?

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11 hours ago, davidwh1 said:

Guys,

 

I am selling this helmet. We can pull back on the conspiracy theories. Its the real deal. Its from my collection. The story is real. I would not sell a fake helmet. I have a couple of fakes that I was ripped off on in my early days of collecting and wont list them - gave those to my boys. I am moving some items out of my collection to pay for my restoration on my 71 Vette. I have attached a pic of me on the battlefield tour. I bought it the following day with my Dad who I took on the tour with me. 

 

The helmet was with a bunch of other M1's and I sorted through them. I don't think the guy knew what he had. 

 

I recently sold a named M42 set to a forum member just a couple of months ago as well. 

 

 

 

As Dmar said, also with a ton of respect, a conspiracy theory - as you say - is partially defined by there being a more probable explanation.  

 

In this case, it comes down to the individual to decide what is most probable; and, the authenticity of the helmet itself, not whose collection it’s in, the story of where it came from, and so forth.  In 2020, if you post a helmet online for sale, it is very likely going to get circulated for opinions.  Accepting the story of where you got the helmet as true, “buy the item, not the story” is the mantra we hear frequently.  Careful buyers do just that.  When benefitting from the exposure selling online brings, this vetting comes with it.

 

When I first got into collecting helmets, I had a guy sell me an FJ helmet that he SWORE his father-in-law brought home from WWII.  He told me his wife remembers it being in the house her whole life, etc.  I posted pics online...  Fake.  This was from the family member of the veteran, of whom, they showed me pictures, paperwork, etc.  Where did it come from?  Who knows, but not from WWII.

 

Lacking iron-clad provenance, an item is left to be judged by its own merits.  That’s not something anyone should take umbrage over, as it’s logically the option that is left.  

 

 

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Mon ami,

 

I am not offended  - only one clarification which you may have missed that I stated earlier. I did not purchase it from the December 44 museum. I don't even know if they sell historical items. - I said I picked it up the following day with my Dad who is a 28 yr veteran with two tours in Vietnam under his belt. He knows his stuff too. I added the pic of me with the Tiger to ensure one of the commentators that I was in the area in Belgium - which as you have been there then you must know is about a three hour drive from Den Haag if the traffic in Antwerp is not at a standstill. I guess my second point is we are all entitled to our opinions and I would agree with some of your points and I would have had some of the same concerns. Here is the good news - you don't have to buy it.

 

For the M42 - I bought it in 2012 while I was living in Berlin from a seller in the US. You can ask Andy about its authenticity as he had other items from the paratrooper to join with it- I sold it to him six months ago and now its in his collection.

 

I added a couple of pics from my collection just to give you a little confidence that I may have some knowledge in this area. Before you ask - yes - all of the firearms are real. I live in Texas.  

 

With that....my day is starting. 

 

 

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David, Great displays!

I did note you did not say you purchased anything from that museum. Apologies to those I have misled. I went off on that museum as I feel it exemplifies what is claimed to have been left in the area. The curator does know what he has but that is indeed a separate issue. I imagine the nearby seller didn’t know and that’s how you found each other? The story, though true, leads to more questions than answers - I’d leave it out. As with my comments earlier on Normandy, I would be very careful (as in I wouldn’t be) purchasing battleground relics on location especially from elite units. Being caught up in the moment is risky. 

Im not trying to be snarky but as you say, just my opinion,

Dave

 

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