Collectors looking for original German helmets from wars such as World War II often can find themselves tricked into purchasing a replica. Unsuspecting buyers may find a good deal online and never know that the seller has replicated the helmet. Fake German helmets exist in the market today, and some appear similar to the originals. To protect yourself from purchasing a replica, you need to examine the helmet closely and know what to look for to identify it as authentic.
Inspect the paint on the helmet. Original German helmets will not have a fresh paint smell. The paint will not have a strong odour because as paint ages, this smell fades.
Look at the colour and texture of the helmet. Fake helmets will have a smooth finish, and the shade will appear too green, bright blue or black. Original German helmets have a textured surface with a dull reflective finish. You cannot reproduce the original paint of these helmets.
Examine the decals on the helmet. Look at a picture of an authentic German helmet. When you examine the decals closely, look to see if they are in the right position and combination. The decals will not be easy to remove.
Check the liner band of the helmet. German helmets such as the M935 will have an aluminium pattern liner band with a date and size stamped. Helmets such as the M1940 and the M1942 will have a second steel liner band that is zinc plated with the date and size stamped. If the liner appears rusted, it probably is not authentic.
Inspect the leather liner. All German helmets except liners that were sized 60 or 61 centimetres have eight fingers with five sweat holes. Larger size helmets may include nine fingers. The leather will be made of sheep, pigskin or goat, and the sweat holes will not be located in the forehead of combat helmets. The leather will appear tan or cream in colour but often will turn brown with age. The liners will not appear reddish-brown or dark brown.
Look at the rivets on the liner band. The original German helmets have zinc or steel rivets. They will not contain solid brass. However, the original rivets in the 1930s may contain brass with a zinc finish.
Examine the chinstrap. Smell the leather to see if it has a strong leather odour. Leather that ages will not have a new leather smell or chemical smell.