Whereas most people love early items for their quality, I have a thing for very late-war German militaria for the opposite reason. I love seeing the industrial quality of militaria from a nation in despair.
Looking for WWII U.S. dog tags
I prefer earlier years, pre war, especially for the helmets. The look of the M35 is superb with the high quality decals can sharp graphics. But I still hold a special place in my heart for the war time helmets produced while things began to go down hill. The evolution of the helmet, the dropping of the air vent grommet, then the decal and rolled edges, etc, it makes for interesting combinations in the collection. In the end I still love all of it!
I don't prefer one over the other. My collection has examples of both. I think I have more post 1938 items just due to the fact they are more easily found in my area of collecting. The earlier items are sometimes harder to find.
I have to say I do love late war militaria much more than early war, that last ditch effort but still with quality manufacture. My favorite shape of helmet is the M35 but I now have more M42's in the collection and I have to admit I am getting very fond of the shape