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.
Authentication of pictures by email no longer 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.
I will be starting an Authentication "Vlog," providing commentary on SS helmets, decals, components and cloth items. Watch this space!
General Questions / Feedback, Contact E-mail:
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:
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 dependant, 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.
(Summer 2018, A few words on the state of the hobby and the current and future ridiculous attacks on helmet books written by
noted authors--ALL authors.) Before Ludwig Baer's English translated version of 'The History of the German
Steel Helmet,' there were the works of Goodapple and Weinand (which I kept in close reach), and frankly very few other literary resources available as guides to collecting
German helmets. Baer's book is considered the helmet 'Bible' because he stuck to pure archival references and avoided much comparative analysis that lacked
archival underpinnings. This keeps his great works untarnished through time. When I put out 'SS Helmets, a Collector's Guide' in 1993 and again in 1998, it was an effort at getting all the information
I had learned into the hands of as many collectors as possible. It was not enough, and lacked analysis. Years later, in 2003, my 'SS-Steel' was the
first reference that tied each major known style of SS decal to a specific helmet maker--I did that for the first time, like breaking a code. Other works by other noted
authors followed in that same vein for Heer, Luft and KM helmets, etc. Information became power, and collectors went all out with greater confidence
to obtain these relics. We had come out of the 'guessing age' and into enlightenment--or so we thought. If an author, such as myself, makes an assumption about decals being
tied to specific makers, but new evidence indicates that certain makers potentially did not make their own decal; a flaw in my overall assumption (such as the
infamous CH rune); then that is a risk that I assume when doing comparative analysis based on hands-on inspection of dozens and dozens of helmets over the years, across
the finest collections in the US (and later the world) that had these helmets in them. And I am talking about the great collectors and dealers of the old
days--all had them. So my assumption, whether mistaken or not, was made in an honest and forthright manner, and I have and will honor the consequences. I am saying this to say
that it is harmful when loud voices behind keyboards sit late at night and cook up collusion theories about those of us who have taken honest and
well-intentioned risks to enrich the knowledge base of the hobby-- saying we are fixing it for each other or whatever nonsense they come up with--while this damages
individuals wrongfully, it also damages the hobby. It is like a Nazi Book Ban (read about that if you don't know what it was), but done in social media,
which we all know is not only an excellent and effective means of communication; but also most often can be a platform for narcissistic, ego-driven hate.
Be conscious of that and don't become an unwitting participant of group think. Make your own judgments based on your own findings, not on the 'that guy shot JFK theories.' Good luck and happy collecting!