German M42

SS Soldiers with newly issued M42 helmets*

General Information: In August of 1942 the German Army High Command announced that the inward crimping of the helmet rim was to be abandoned.[1] This presumedly was done to eliminate a step in the manufacturing process in order to increase efficiency and reduce cost. The helmets produced following this order are referred to by collectors as the “raw edge” model.

Displayed Example: I bought this helmet in 2006. It was a relatively early addition to my collection after my reentry into the collecting field. Prior to purchasing this helmet, I had bought an SS helmet that turned out to be a fake. Like many collectors, I had to go through a learning curve before I had a reasonable grasp on the state of current state of art of militaria fakery. The other thing that I had to learn was that if I wanted an authentic SS helmet, I would need to shell out some significant dough. When I was a young teen collecting in the early 1970s you could buy a really good SS helmet for a couple hundred dollars. Not any more… In 2006 I had a lucky, unanticipated score selling some ancient Japanese kabuto helmets deaccessioned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that my father had purchased in the early 1960s. These cool objects had sat unloved in our garage for many years until my father gave them to me to deaccession from our family collection. Turned out that the kabuto helmets were much more valuable than we thought. I took my sale proceeds and went shopping for an authentic SS helmet. I had been in touch with a prominent dealer who offered to sell me this helmet for a reasonable market price. To me, however, I questioned my sanity level for paying that much for an old helmet. Subsequently, I have been very happy to have this one on the shelf. The dealer said he had gotten it from a collector who said he had bought it at a yard sale. (How come I never find stuff like that at yard sales?)

The helmet is marked ckl64 and bears the lot number 3117. The factory code for the Eisenhuttenwerke firm, which produced this helmet, switched from “ET” to “ckl” in the latter part of the war. There were different patterns of SS decals used by different manufacturers. This one has what collectors refer to as the “ET pattern” runic shield. The helmet has traces of white wash that would have been applied for winter camouflage. There is a bullet or shrapnel strike that slightly cracked the vent on the right side just above the decal. On the right side towards the back part of the helmet there was a similar strike that left a small dent. Rough abrasions on the top of the helmet that suggest it was knocked violently at some point. Reading all these clues about the helmet’s past makes one wish that there was some kind of visual record that could be played back showing where it had been and the fate of the original owner. We are left to imagine.

Collector Notes: There is probably no other object in the militaria field that has been more extensively faked than SS helmets. Some of the fakes are good enough to have fooled respected authorities. Do some internet research on the SS “champaign” decals to get a sense of how tricky this can be. Be skeptical and be very careful. Certificates of authenticity (COAs) tend to be viewed with skepticism by the collector community. Buy from reputable dealers and do not buy from anybody who does not offer a refund. If you get something from a private sale, pay with PayPal which will give you some recourse should you get into a dispute with the seller.

* “The M42 German helmet, the End of an Era.” Alexander & Sons Restoration.  

[1] Baer. 1984. pp136

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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