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Buying a helmet without a COA?

Article about: I have seen this helmet on German Helmet Depot and I think its nice. But should I buy a helmet without a COA from an expert (Kelly Hicks)? I need some advice. I dont want to be 99 % sure of

  1. #11

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    Quote by SFC View Post
    There must have any significance in these certificates because many traders have that information in their advertisements and calling them to, as I understand it, further enhance the authenticity of their merchandise. If you're an amateur like me, it is not enough with pretty pictures in a reference book that I can compare with or opinions in a forum to convince me to buy a helmet for 6 - $ 7000 on the internet from an unknown person to me on the other side of the Atlantic .... Perhaps it is best to refrain from collecting helmets if you can never feel completely sure not to get scammed, but there must be someone you can trust and buy from. I can not afford more education money on fakes, so thats why I am asking you for advices and help.
    Lets look at it this way , the forums contain really experienced collectors who spend thousands on helmets yearly. To whom collecting and studying helmets is a passion. So via forums you will have access to many experienced opinions. (you will come to know who's who when you actively participate in a forum).
    Forums are collector communities where people help and advise each other.

    The other option is to ignore all that and get a helmet with a COA. A COA which is made by one guy you know diddly squat about other than that he has a militaria business. (so he has a vested interest to make money and the COA will help him sell it to people with your mindset).
    Then you show that helmet to a collector and he says it is fake. What happened ? Which organization is qualified to say he can write a COA ? No-one. You're royally screwed but hey you got a COA ;-)

    I collect since 1997 and none of the helmets I own or have owned have a COA , likewise with all the other German helmet collectors I know across the boards.

    Education is right here under your nose. The power of being a member of a collector community.
    So the answer to your question , no COA's are not significant.

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    Quote by Schwerpunkt View Post
    Lets look at it this way , the forums contain really experienced collectors who spend thousands on helmets yearly. To whom collecting and studying helmets is a passion. So via forums you will have access to many experienced opinions. (you will come to know who's who when you actively participate in a forum).
    Forums are collector communities where people help and advise each other.

    The other option is to ignore all that and get a helmet with a COA. A COA which is made by one guy you know diddly squat about other than that he has a militaria business. (so he has a vested interest to make money and the COA will help him sell it to people with your mindset).
    Then you show that helmet to a collector and he says it is fake. What happened ? Which organization is qualified to say he can write a COA ? No-one. You're royally screwed but hey you got a COA ;-)

    I collect since 1997 and none of the helmets I own or have owned have a COA , likewise with all the other German helmet collectors I know across the boards.

    Education is right here under your nose. The power of being a member of a collector community.
    So the answer to your question , no COA's are not significant.
    Well done Frank.
    chris

  4. #13

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    COA? Certificate?
    I have a friend in Germany who had a ss helmet. One Colleague told him it was fake.. But he sent the helmet to a pro and after had a COA, so he paid 180 and he have a paper and a fake SS. helmet!!!! (180 = price of study, photos...)
    COA = zero for me

  5. #14
    SFC
    SFC is offline
    ?

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    Who can you trust? I have been on many sites on the internet and looked at helmets that are for sale. There are nice things from Bill Shea (The Ruptured Duck), Ken Niewiarowicz and many others. But when I then read the articles on this and other forums, there is always (small...) doubts that they sell authentic items ...

    It seems that no retailer in Europe sells real things but only in the U.S., but even here there seems not to be 100% serious traders.


    Many traders from the United States has in its description of the helmet a great story that just this helmet belonged to a guard in Dacha or how a veteran picked up the helmet in a particular place in Europe and how it is then dealt to the dealer ...


    These amazing descriptions with nice pictures on the internet pages of the experts make that I almost decided to buy a helmet from them. But just before I do this buy I search articles on the internet and various forums and find things that make a small doubt.

    What should I do - who you can completely trust and who should I invest in?

  6. #15

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    You can pretty much trust Bill and Ken, amongst some others, I would suggest you find an item from a very good reputable dealer as suggested by the people on here(because they know from experience) then post photos of the item your interested in just to run in by the experts on here, and between them saying its good plus a very reputable dealer selling it to you there should be no worries, over time you will be able to pick out the good from bad, this is how I went about buying my helmets. as far as your doubts, I feel my helmets are still only 99% original because IMO nothing is truly 100%, unless the german took it off his head and handed it to you himself, there is always doubt, but decreasing the amount of doubt you have to a comfortable level of collecting is done through research/knowing the seller/expert opinions. hope this helps.

  7. #16
    ?

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    You should trust in yourself first and foremost.

    If you don't have the experience to buy a high end helmet with out being told what to buy and with the false comfort blanket of a COA you should look to spend your money on another hobby.

    You buy the item, not any fancy story. I could knock you up a COA with a great story attached to it and some nice colour photos and a really fancy signature across the bottom.

    It doesn't make the helmet real though does it?

    Forget the COAs, they mean diddly squat. As already said, a genuine helmet will stand up on it's own without the need for a piece of paper saying it's real. COAs have been faked for years. COAs exist for fake items because people believe in them. They are not worth the paper they're typed on. If you really have to have a COA you should not be in this hobby because you will end up stitched up.

    Dealers might try and give you a story or a COA because they actually want your money - surprise surprise.

    The members here have absolutely no interest in how you spend it and will not gain from how you spend it so their opinions are worth more than most others. They are being honest with you and won't be getting anything from giving their thoughts.

    Who are you going to trust?

    Those who want your money and want a sale or those who can give an open and honest opinion without gain?

    Those members here who have spent a lifetime and many many thousands or /$/ on their hobby?

    U.S. dealers can sell fakes and original items just as easily as European dealers.

    Forget the stories, forget the COAs, look at the items, post them here for honest opinions and make your own judgement on how to spend your money.

  8. #17

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    Quote by SFC View Post
    Who can you trust? I have been on many sites on the internet and looked at helmets that are for sale. There are nice things from Bill Shea (The Ruptured Duck), Ken Niewiarowicz and many others. But when I then read the articles on this and other forums, there is always (small...) doubts that they sell authentic items ...

    It seems that no retailer in Europe sells real things but only in the U.S., but even here there seems not to be 100% serious traders.


    Many traders from the United States has in its description of the helmet a great story that just this helmet belonged to a guard in Dacha or how a veteran picked up the helmet in a particular place in Europe and how it is then dealt to the dealer ...


    These amazing descriptions with nice pictures on the internet pages of the experts make that I almost decided to buy a helmet from them. But just before I do this buy I search articles on the internet and various forums and find things that make a small doubt.

    What should I do - who you can completely trust and who should I invest in?
    Did you even read the posts we wrote here ???? Waste of time it seems...

  9. #18
    SFC
    SFC is offline
    ?

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    "Schwerpunkt"; thank you for your kind reply. It's comments like yours that I as an amateur collectors really benefit from. So again, thanks for your reply.

  10. #19

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    No dealer-from any country-will ever be 100% totally without Someone Somewhere who either bought something from them that they did not like, or someone who has unfounded but niggling doubts on something no matter what they see, learn or hear. I guess the key being-Research out the seller with whom you are seriously interested in doing business with. Yes, people like Bill Shea and Ken N. are very high on the respectability and trust list, as they are some of the most knowledgeable sellers in the hobby. Can they Ever be wrong? Of course they can-No One is omniscient and infallible. The difference being, though, that if you are dealing with a seller who is knowledgeable, respected and honorable, they will Always back their items with a true guarantee in the event of a future problem arising. Never purchase a Toothpick from a seller, no matter how expert they sound, if they will not accept a return under any circumstances. That is just common sense and sound business practice. Sellers keep records-especially of high end sales, so they are not about to deny any accountability for something they just sold a month ago and say "Sorry, I don't remember selling you that. You're stuck with it."

    Bottom line here is 1. Research out Both the Seller and the item you are looking to buy. No one is going to go blindly into a high ticket purchase for an item of which they have no clue about. That would be the same as buying dry land in a Florida Swamp. 2. Once you are satisfied that 99% of the word that you have found on a seller is solid and good, make sure that they honor reasonable returns. If they do not-do Not purchase. 3. Talk to the seller. Ask questions-Lots of them. If you have Any concerns-tell him. If they want to make a big ticket sale and have a satisfied customer who will do nothing but pass on the good word to others about them, they will not mind talking. It's how decent sellers do business.

    Inexpensive buys, you can take a risk on. Expensive buys-not so much. As has been said, COA's are worth what you want to make of them. The True value of an item is what you know about it and that it has come from a Respectable and Honorable seller who will stand by his sales, his reputation and his customer satisfaction.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  11. #20
    ?

    Default Re: Buying a helmet without a COA?

    SFC you seem to be looking more for 100% trustworthy certifiable dealers versus spending time to educate yourself. There is not a single dealer no matter the country that will sell bad items, knowingly or not. You commented on staying away from helmets if there is no 100% trustworthy source. The only 100% trustworthy source is yourself. Be patient and educate yourself, the information is all in front of you.

    Regarding forums, many collectors want what I call "forum COA's" versus knowledge. They have no clue about the item but want the praise and hand clapping of forum membership to validate thier purchase. But I have seen forums be wrong on many an occasion. Nobody can validate something by mere (usually bad) photographs for one thing, and second forum opinions can be tossed freely without any culpability and you don't know the knowledge base or experience of whose offering you opinions. So it's on you to still spend the time on learning whose opinions are trustworthy and whose are not. Even trustworthy opinions can be wrong as I have said as the item is not in hand.

    Either way, you need to spend time in the hobby educating yourself or you are buying simply on trust. This forum has some good collectors with some good articles pinned in various sections that are worth far more than even reference books as information gets updated on forums such as this.

    Finally regarding COA's, let me relay a little experience I've had with one in my time. I bought a top shelf helmet owned by some of the top collectors from a very reputable dealer and the helmet came with a COA from a highly respected source. After getting it in it didnt sit right with me but I thought - look who owned it, look who sold it and look who wrote the COA. Who are you to be going against the grain? Well instead of accepting it I needed to prove it right or wrong. It took 3 years but finally proved without any doubt it was bad and the seller and COA writer agree now with my new information it is indeed a high end fake. So, did I get any financial recompense? Nope. So what's a COA really worth? Jack shit in the end. Nothing beats knowledge.

    In the end I totally understand the hesitation your feeling but don't be intimidated. And don't be put off by Franks blunt response. He is very knowledgable and respected in this hobby but I know he is tired of new collectors slitting their wrists and committing collecting suicide over and over again. Every experienced collector has become blunt at times when clear simple advice given is ignored and mistakes or the same questions are oft repeated. If you look past his blunt reply and ask yourself why was he blunt you will see he has a very valid point.

    Don't be intimidated by the hobby but don't commit collecting suicide either. Learn who to trust (Frank is one whose opinions I value over most) and learn to trust yourself. Then you breed self confidence but it doesn't happen overnight.

    Sorry for the long winded reply but couldn't figure out how to be brief and make several points, as is usual...lol

    Let me know if I can help as well. Some very good collectors helped me when I went deep into helmets and I always like to repay the favor,

    Cheers

    Doug

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