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Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

Article about: Reading some posts recently it occurred to me experienced collectors say the same thing over and over again to the myriad of fakes posted, many by new or just hopeful collectors looking for

  1. #1
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    Default Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Reading some posts recently it occurred to me experienced collectors say the same thing over and over again to the myriad of fakes posted, many by new or just hopeful collectors looking for that elusive SS (or insert -any- here) helmet. So I thought I'd make a thread on what to do to increase your chances of finding a good one and saving you time.

    1. Know your resources.
    Your resources are time, money and knowledge. You need all 3 to capture what your looking for. Without 1 of these resources you will fail and risk wasting the other 2.

    2. Time equals money.
    Time is spent like money only with time once spent you never can get it back. Use your time wisely. Learn the subject matter rather than engage on fruitless and frustrating searches. Don't waste your time looking on eBay and ioffer but use your time to study up, network with experienced collectors, and build a database you can refer to. Patience is also rewarded but don't mistake patience for foolishness. Looking where fakes reside in the hope one might turn up as real is not patience but folly. Patience used with money and knowledge however is usually highly rewarded.

    3. Invest in the hobby.
    Using money often new or hopeful collectors waste it on spurious purchases. Instead purchase some top reference books to study. Join forums and pay the fees to study and network with people who know the subject matter. These small investments, a few hundred dollars, before you wade out and start shopping for a helmet, will save you time and increase your knowledge therefore your confidence. Buy a good 20 power loupe with a light. You will need it and bring it with you to any show or fair. Buy a decent camera. You might not have a helmet on your shelf yet but you've invested into the future meaning you will enjoy the hobby more and have greater satisfaction when you make your first purchase.

    4. Knowledge is power.
    The greatest resource in this hobby is knowledge and requires the other 2 resources to attain and improve. This is the most daunting of tasks for the new / hopeful collector and they lose patience learning and waste their other precious resources time and money in their quest. Collecting is not a fast food business but it seems that way with so many ways to shop online. But shopping online without knowledge is akin to walking through a minefield, your going to get blown up sooner or later. Network with collectors to study and learn. Every advanced collector I know is more than willing to assist others, so long as they see the collector investing in advancing themselves. Knowledge takes time and money but is the key to the collecting hobby.

    5. Confidence is everything.
    The more you learn the more you know, the more you know the greater your confidence becomes, the greater your confidence the easier it is to make a purchase, the more purchases you make that are real the greater your satisfaction becomes and you've increased your knowledge by having a real item in hand to study and your confidence becomes greater. Confidence is the force multiplier in this equation.

    6. In hand is a must.
    There are some collectors, new and old, who believe you do not need the real deal in hand and can look at pictures to acquire knowledge. While images are critical to a knowledge path, they cannot stand alone. You must get the real article in hand. This doesn't mean you need to buy it. Real articles can be also be seen at shows, museums, and other collectors. But without knowledge it's hard to tell real from fake or Frankenstein. Therefore, buying is part of the equation, so use your money wisely and buy small to start. Don't buy an SS helmet as your first helmet. Buy a no decal M-42 to study the components, the paint, the smell, the look and feel. Then buy a single decal Heer or LW, to study what a period decal looks like. Magnify it. Buy another one. At 3 you can now look at paint wear patterns and compare, real scratches, real decals. Then sell them and begin to upgrade. You will have not wasted your time, you will get your money back and can reinvest, increased your knowledge and your confidence will be elevated.

    7. Learn to Network.
    Networking is huge with getting access to real articles. Most collectors are more than happy to help new collectors. With forums networking is easier than before. Conduct yourself on the forum with respect and as a gentleman and collectors will have no problem talking with you. From this you can build a network and become friends with others who are happy to assist you. Don't collect on blind trust and faith however. But through networking, you will find where the good helmets grow.

    8. Use the forums wisely.
    Don't be afraid to ask questions pertaining to what makes something good. But don't be demanding, or appear to collect for monetary purposes. The worst question you can ask is "Is it real and whats it worth?". You've just slammed the networking door shut on yourself. Post anything before you buy it. Then learn who to listen to but be prepared as you advance to become confident enough to challenge. Sadly forums are full of people who are there to inflate their ego's but post nothing of their own collection so as to provide a basis for their opinions. Ignore post count, it does not equate to knowledge. Forum consensus on an item is nice to have as well.

    9. The devil is in the details.
    Learn to be a good photographer. Clear closeup head on photos are a must to evaluate anything with pictures. Do not accept or post any blurry pics from sellers, strange angles, faraway photos, small pictures from any sellers. Do not waste your time with poor photos. Learn to be a good photographer as pictures will make or break your item. It's as simple as that. If you lose patience with photography then go back and re-read this article.

    10. Never stop learning.
    Once you think you know it all your dead in the water. There are always new discoveries out there, new knowledge, research, source documents, hidden knowledge that will broaden your horizons. And be prepared to admit when you've made a mistake. It's part of the learning process and investment into the hobby. If you take a mistake take it as a learning process rather than a waste of money you will grow immeasurably and the pain of the loss keeps you sharp. Be cautiously skeptical, it is a good thing but being a cynic is a hobby killer. Nobody likes a cynic. Don't ever feel as if you've conquered a hill and be open to other opinions and conversation.

    I hope this helps you in your quest.

    Doug

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Great advice.
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  4. #3

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Solid sound advice!

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    great Advice. I have so limited knowledge on helmets.
    Thanks,
    John
    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    How can you argue with that? Sound and spot on advice from the man himself.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Very well said Doug.
    This is exactly what it's all about!

  8. #7

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Excellent advice, and not limited to helmets but to all aspects of collecting, any time period and any article. Thank you for taking the time to post this.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    An excellent thread. This thread should be a sticky.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Great well written info !
    Looking for following WWII German items:
    - anything dealing with Allenstein (Olsztyn) and Wehrkreis I in East Prussia,
    - entrenching tool carrier (straight and folding),
    - forestry and hunting items,

    Polish Militaria 1914-1945 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/124584324789966/
    GTA Militaria - Discussions and Sales - https://www.facebook.com/groups/890720157646923/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Advice for new helmet collectors looking for that elusive SS helmet

    Well worth reading, thanks for taking time to share
    Regards
    Al

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