It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.
I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...
I have Höidal's first book Deutsche Erkennungsmarken des Zweiten Weltkrieges and it's a decent basic reference- but mainly useful only for the timeline list (what changes happened when), and the abbreviations list; the photos are good but there are a few I'm dubious of, and there's such variation among Erkennungsmarken, one would have to show thousands and thousands to really be of any real use. I've heard about his second book and the SS one but haven't ever seen a copy myself. Generally speaking I don't think books are really terribly useful- that is save for unit lists and books on unit structure, which are; although granted much of that information is available online too. The key to Erkennungsmarken is looking at lots and lots of examples- you have to get a feel for what real ones look like, and learn the unit structures of the Wehrmacht- and all the ins-and-outs of how fakes are recognizable, and none of this is sufficiently covered in any book.
You're better off using the Internet and reading posts on fora like this. If you really want to learn about them, my suggestion is to save images- real ones and fakes- so you can compare. I use my real an fake 'databases' all the time- the real one to search for comparison examples (since only the exact same unit is a valid comparison- and that's why a few photos in a book aren't much use), and to find matching fake fonts since they're one of the most straightforward ways to identify a fake.
Oh and thanks guys LOL I appreciate the compliment.
Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...
Matt write a book buddy. Im buying it!
However, books are useful, provided not TOO MUCH emphasis is place on them (IE. reliance). They are a good starting point, especially for those entering the dark side of Erkennungsmarken collecting. I recommend the 2 books I mentioned as well as a solid grounding in the German order of battle (get a book on this or check the net), and a familiarization with correct unit descriptions/grammar (how a unit is described on a tag more often than not catches a hell of a lot of fakes out straight away). Understanding of documents - soldbuchs especially - is handy.
Experience is the key. I agree with you. Ask questions of knowledgeable people on various forums. Check out the fonts used - be familiar with the good types of fonts on tags. Familiarize yourself with the fake aging techniques. Don't believe the story that comes with the tag. Know your units (order of battle).
If one reads on various forums what even advanced collectors of Third Reich items say, many avoid Erkennungsmarken like the plague. Too many fakes, easy bucks to be made.
As one long term collector said to me once - he will only purchase any Erkennungsmarken when - a) it was purchased directly from the family, preferably with other (genuine) documentation confirming the tag is a good one, OR if he found it in the ground himself. It really is a midfield.
Even photos on the net may not be good enough. A tag in hand is the BEST way to evaluate one.
Luckily, there are always good people willing to share their knowledge with you.
The book about SS erkennungsmarken may be interesting but I have very few chances to get SS tags and therefore it would have no use.
I find Hoydal's book very useful not only for tags but for the code list it has : sometimes I used it also for ID stamps inside belts or other equipment.
You also have this handy link on the forum for abbreviations on Erkennungsmarken:
Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...