"In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem
09-10-2009 01:11 PM
If you are new to the hobby, first buy a few reference books. Join forums (you are already in one - join some more and compare) and read posts, compare pictures and information. Learning and knowledge is the only way to avoid fakes - there are too many of them. Reading and learning is (almost) as exciting as buying items.
For first purcases, I suggest to go to some reputable dealers - Espenlaub is one of them, I like alot Detlev Niemann from Hamburg, and several others. They mostly sell original stuff, offer life-time guarantee for authenitcy and good money-back policy. Avoid e-bay and other auction sites until you get experienced, as these sites are a common palce for selling fakes, with little possibilities for retrieving your money. At dealers you'll pay a bit more, but you'll get more security, and usually an unquestionally good item. Start buying common items of most common variants, these are the safest. Two more advices for beginners - buy an ITEM, not a STORY. Seller can swear 1000 times the badge is original and his grandfather personally took it from dead Wittmann's uniform, but this tolk costs him nothing. It will probably cost YOU. Don't buy any story if it is not unquestionably proven. I actually don't buy anything from sellers who tell fancy fairytales. The other advice - if the price is too good to be true - it's probably not true item.