Romanian M39


General Information: In September 1938 the Romanians signed a contract with the Dutch company Verblifa (Vereenigde Blikfabrieken[1]) to produce helmets for their armed forces.[2] The helmet was an exact copy of the Dutch Model 1934 but for the badge which was egg shaped rather than oval shaped like the badge used in the Netherlands. The Romanian badge had two “Cs” topped by a crown which represented King Carol II, the monarch of Romania from 1930 until his forced abdication in 1940. In the dome of the M39s there is an ink stamp with the letters “CCR” which stands for “Comisia Romana Receptie” or “Romanian Control Comity” in English. These stamps would have been most likely applied in Romania. Following King Carol’s exile, the use of frontal badges was discontinued.[3] The Romanian version of the Dutch M34 is referred to as the Model 1939. Sources vary about the number of helmets produced by Verblifa for Romania, but two sources report that the number was 628,000.[4][5] Kevin de Joode, in his book, says that 800,000 M39 helmets were ordered. Of course, it could be that 800,000 helmets were ordered, but only 628,000 actually produced.

Displayed Example: I bought this helmet from a numismatist in Lausanne, Switzerland. The helmet was part of an exceptional collection of Romanian militaria. The collection consisted mainly of military orders, but also contained three helmets: the one pictured here, an extremely rare French M15 with a “CC” badge like the one used on the M39s, and a German-made Romanian border guard helmet with an eagle on top. All of these very rare pieces were in mint condition. The helmets sat for months in the coin dealer’s shop for months until a Swiss collector colleague brought these items to my attention. I bought the M39, but declined to buy the French M15 with the King Carol badge. I have since greatly regretted not buying the latter as these are almost impossible to find.

The helmet is a standard M39 in mint condition. As far as I am aware, it is the best surviving example. It has the “CCR” stamp in the dome.

Collector Notes: The Romanian M39 with the King Carol badge is the rarest of the standard issue Axis helmets. Significant numbers of these helmet were produced, but most are rusting on old battlefields in the Volga region or elsewhere. Among the surviving examples, the majority either had the badges removed, or they were later production helmets that were manufactured without badges. Occasionally ground dug ones turn up from Russian sources. An early production M39 in any condition is a difficult thing to lay hands on. These are being faked, naturally. Look for signs of tampering around the badge. The badges should be finished as they were for both the Romanian and Dutch versions of the helmet with copper badges painted matte black, but with the outer ring of the badge in green like the rest of the helmet. Presence of the “CCR” stamp in the dome increases the probability of the thing being original, but its absence does not necessarily mean it is a fake.

* Citation sought

[1] Dagnas. 1984. pp221

[2] de Joode. 2007. pp129

[3] Marzetti. 2003. pp328

[4] Marzetti. 2003. pp328

[5] Dagnas. 1984. pp221

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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