Authentications / Knowledge-based Collecting

51 Years Collecting and Researching WWII historical memorabilia.

20+ Years writing books and presenting at MAX Show and other collector venues

M35 Helmet worn by SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Karl-Hermann Frank

Welcome to Authentications and Knowledge-based Collecting

This page offers video presentations and quality imagery of helmets

and other artifacts, with the goal of providing straight talk knowledge to collectors. 

This link will take you to the SS-Decal Compendium, for quick reference to the various types of

SS helmet insignia Click HereSS Decal Variations mar20b.

Contact me with any questions or requests, thanks.

Issuance of a COA based on pictures by email is not offered.

All authentications will be done in hand; cost is USD 80.00 plus return postage. 

Upon determination of authenticity, a COA will be issued at no extra charge. 

Contact me for shipping instructions and other information, thanks.

Kelly Hicks & Ludwig
Kelly Hicks and the late Ludwig Baer, in a rare opportunity, met to discuss Baer's fascinating journey in the field of German Helmets. Among topics covered was the use of XRF technology as a potential tool in the authentication of helmets and helmet-related materials. Friedrichsdorf, Germany, 2010.

Authentications for the purpose of rendering a Certificate of Authenticity are obtained via in-hands inspection. The first step is to contact me by email ( so we may determine the appropriate service level. Shipping is at the expense of the customer, consisting of postage both ways. The fee for in-hands authentication and a hard copy COA is $80 USD.  (Please note, I always am willing to help collectors who frequently seek a ‘thumbs up or down’ evaluation of pictures by email. However, given the limited nature of pictures vs the real thing, this service cannot result in a COA, nor is it binding. It is simply an expert opinion).

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“SS STEEL LLC.” Offers collectors the opportunity to protect the value of their helmet collections or individual pieces through an array of authentication services. These services are provided by:

Kelly Hicks; Over 50 years as a collector and established expert in the field of German helmets; the author of 5 reference books relating to the field of SS helmets including the acclaimed “SS Steel,” and the 2005 release “SS helmets” with Michael D. Beaver.

For anybody involved in the collecting of original German helmets, it is no secret that values are on the rise. Helmet values/prices have continued to rise at a steady pace since the early days of collecting. In recent years, the values have attained significant levels and certain examples are known to command very nigh prices. Consequently, the field has been inundated with counterfeits and fakes. These forgeries vary in quality from the obvious to the not-so-obvious. The situation has grown to the point where helmet collecting has become something of a mine field. With startling frequency, there has occurred the instance of an unwary collector obtaining a helmet at considerable financial cost only to discover later that the helmet is not what he originally thought it was.

Protection of re-sale value. Re-salability and value is becoming dependent, to a large degree, upon the ability to verify the authenticity of the collectible item. With the number and high quality level of forgeries on the market, the collector may find himself in need of such ready verification of the authenticity of his item. Both for his own assurance and for the assurance of any potential buyer in the future, having a tamper-proof certificate from a noted or published expert in the field gives the collector a solid basis for obtaining insurance protection for his collection, and if necessary legal assistance. Moreover, the resale value of the piece is upheld and enhanced with an accompanying certificate. Protect your investment and protect the future of the hobby. Take note Collectors: I honor my COAs, 100% of the time, that simple.

As important as sports memorabilia, where a certificate means everything, a certificate of authenticity provides a basis for the provenance and re-sale value of your helmet. Unlike the sports memorabilia collecting arena, there is currently no ongoing support from government, state or local anti-fraud or other enforcement agencies. Nor does an international body exist to protect collectors, with the possible exception of Interpol, whose primary focus is art. This leaves militaria collectors with limited options for recourse to recoup losses from dishonest dealers and helmet forgers.



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Three links to my  Authentication “Vlog,” providing commentary on SS helmets, decals, etc., is now live. 

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Welcome to SS-STEEL!

This Website is dedicated to researchers, archivists and collectors of historical military memorabilia. This site carries no affiliation whatsoever with any political ideology, especially of hate or intolerance. Any visitor to this site does so with the understanding that it is strictly for the purposes of historical collecting and research as stated above.