When it comes to a WW2 item, there’s little that’s more iconic than a WW2 German helmet. Famously associated with Darth Vader and the stormtrooper helmets from Star Wars, most new collectors want a German helmet as their first purchase to get them into the hobby. Because of this, all dealers and collectors have been asked, “How much is a German helmet?” And the answer is never an easy one. A relic helmet could cost you as little as €10 at a European show but you can go all the way up into the tens of thousands for some of the seriously rare examples.
Today we will look at the upper end of WW2 German helmets for sale. These are the gems that most collectors strive towards owning. One issue is, such helmets rarely come on the market!
German WW2 M35 Double Decal SS Helmet
Let’s start at the top! There are few better helmets, rarer helmets or more expensive helmets than an M35 double decal SS helmet with its original apple green finish. They are right up there and for sure one of the most interesting. This particular helmet, as with many early M35s, has started its life as a double decal combat police helmet before being reissued to the SS with the lightning strikes on the right hand side and the party shield on the left.
The SS party shield is around 90% intact and is covering over the police shield that by default must be there (for uncensored photos, please check out the seller’s website). Continuing with the overall condition; the liner is in overall great shape with no tears or repairs and its original drawstring.
Named and regimentally marked
On the inside of the shell you can make out the dome stamp ink from the original manufacturer in 1938, plus a handwritten name in pencil at the rear. The writing reads “SS Hauptsturmführer Gohl”. This was thoroughly researched and it was learnt this soldiers was in the SS Foreign Office (Amt VI) of the Reich Security Main Office (German: Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA) under Walter Schellenberg.
If you were to purchase this helmet you would receive the full dossier in the first photo. It is over 45 pages of research by Ross Kelbaugh. This fantastic German SS helmet also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the author and German helmet dealer Kelly Hicks.
Available from The Ruptured Duck in the USA for $18,000.
Single Decal Kriegsmarine M35 Combat helmet
Up next we have another textbook M35 German combat helmet; however, this example is Kriegsmarine, marked with the golden eagle. The golden adler eagle is still around 75% intact (please see seller’s website for uncensored photos). It retains all of its liner pins, and the washers are tight to the inner shell, indicating that the liner is original to the shell and hasn’t been removed at any point.
Inside you will find the lot number is stamped A885 and the size/manufacturer code is SE62. This translates to a size 62 helmet manufactured by Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G Lauter. The chinstrap is also marked “G. Schiele Loburg” and dated 1940, which is likely the reissue date of the helmet. This is also a fairly common combination of makers in Kriegsmarine helmets. The liner is in overall good condition as well, and as I say, likely never left the helmet.
Available from Eagle Relics in the UK for £950.
WW2 German Luftwaffe Model 1942 Single Decal Combat Helmet
Here we have another classic combat helmet but this example is an M42. This means that it dates from 1942 onwards. The M42 helmet was the cheapest of the German helmets to manufacture as they had removed the rivet in the air vent and stopped rolling the outer lip over when compared against an M35. As the war drove on, even the metal got cheaper.
This helmet retains around 80% of its original combat blue paint job and the decal is near untouched over the years, giving this helmet a great overall look. The liner is a size 55 and complete overall, with some minor wear from being used. It has a 1940-dated liner band, which is possibly original to the helmet if it left the factory with an early liner; however, there’s a chance it has been replaced over the years (sadly it’s impossible to tell). It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t an issue. Many liners were replaced and as the liner is original, it makes no difference. The only replacement part for sure is the pull string on the interior of the liner.
In the rear of the helmet you can see the maker’s code stamp is “NS 62”, telling us that it was manufactured by Nickelwerke of Schwerte and it is a size 62. The lot number for this helmet is D228. This is a textbook helmet and in overall great condition. Luftwaffe helmets such as this were used by a large array of troops but mostly combat troops, be that ground troops or flak defence.
Available from The Ruptured Duck in the USA for $850.
Re-issue German Ear Cutout M18 Combat Helmet
At the outbreak of WW1 the German army couldn’t produce helmets fast enough. Consequently, there was a reliance on reissuing WW1 helmets to WW2 soldiers. Normally this was done by adding a WW2 pattern of liners and adding WW2 decals to the left or right of the helmet. This particular example, however, has a double level of interest. The original “ear cutout” helmets from WW1 are rare in themselves. They were originally issued to radio operators so they could get the headphones to their ears. As so few were originally produced, they are a highly desirable item.
This example, however, was reissued for WW2 with a Wehrmacht eagle added to the left side of the helmet and a size 55 WW2 leather liner on the inside. The eagle is at around 90% intact and the original paint is mostly there as well. Overall this is a fantastic early WW2 combat helmet and a rare thing to find.
Available from Military Antiques in the UK for £2,200.
WW2 German Army M40 “Whitewashed” Camouflaged Helmet
All of the other helmets on this list today could have seen combat almost anywhere, but with whitewashed WW2 German helmets, you know the potential combat areas are more limited. Predominantly used on the Eastern Front, they also saw combat in places like Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge. Much like the other helmets on the list, they are hugely collectable and getting hard to find.
The example we have here is an M40 with a total over-wash of white paint. All three pins are correct and appear original to the liner and helmet. This is indicated by the flow of the hand applied white paint showing straight over the pins. The interior of the helmet is equally untouched, with the correct M31 liner all complete and the rear of the shell stamped “DN105” and “Q62”. The “Q62” tells us the helmet was manufactured by F.W. Quist, G.m.b.H. of Esslingen and that the helmet is a size 62. “DN105” is the lot number which could be researched further, should you chose.
Available from The Collector’s Guild in the USA for $1,300.
German Army Transitional M16 Double Decal Helmet
Finally, another transitional helmet. This example was originally a WW1 M16 helmet; however, it has been reissued during WW2 as a double decal Wehrmacht helmet. It retains its textured finish and around 80% of each of the decals. The interior is the classic M35 WW2 pattern with a slightly later dated chinstrap added. This could very easily have been period done. It is a size 56 liner which is fairly standard issue for the period but the interesting add-on is a name tag. Well worth some research. Overall another nice, untouched helmet in good overall condition.
Available from Antiquities of the Reich in the UK for £1,495.
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