I was chatting with another collector of many years on line and was discussing how anyone who has collected at one time or another has been defrauded. It brought back a memory of the first time it happened to me. It was 1957 and I was 12 years old. I would save up my chore money and then venture down by bus to Doc's Trading Post on Broadway Avenue in Chicago. Many times I would arrive only to find the store closed. When open, I would go in and spend my $3-$5 I had saved on something. The man had a large pail full of tinnies at twenty five cents each or five for a dollar. Maker marked SA daggers with a hanger were $5.00(and he had a wall full of them)Army daggers and 2nd model Luftwaffe daggers with hanger and portopee were $7.50. I told Doc I wanted a SS helmet. A few weeks later, I went in to the store and Doc sold me a battle damaged single decal "SS" helmet for $5.00. It was a M-42 with a shrapnel entry hole in the neck guard and a bump on the visor where it came out. I thought it was the neatest thing since I discovered pizza. Girls were still a little ways off! Six months later, I brought it in to another shop only to discover that I had a helmet with a fake Heer decal. The decal was the quality of those used on plastic models. I was crushed!! Of course, at that time, I had no idea what an SS helmet looked like. Reference books were non existant. I scraped off the decal and kept the helmet for a couple of years. I eventually sold or traded it off as it always was a bad memory for me. I wish I still had it today .
Shortly thereafter, I found out why Doc Mann had irregualr hours at his shop. One day while reading the newspaper, I read an article about how Doc had been robbing banks in neighboring states on a regular basis. Seems that Doc had a bad heroin habit! The FBI broke in to his store where he had tried to hide and was taken away for a 20 year vacation.
I would be interested in hearing other stories like mine from our fellow collectors. Anyone have a similar story to add?