Certificates of authenticity
On this page, I'll try to explain what I think about "Certificates of authenticity" versus a "Certification of opinion".
The term "certificate of authenticity" has been ruined and been made a joke. This has been done both by people who have no business writing them; based upon dubious levels of knowledge. And also by people who accept and rely upon them as solid proof that an item is original. In practical terms, the value of any certificate pertaining to the originality of an item will vary and is subject to the knowledge and respect of the person writing or issuing it. A COA is only as good as the fellow who is writing/issuing it. How "good" that fellow is ( ie; how much of an "expert" he can be thought to be) can only be judged by those who have dealt with him directly. Directly dealing with a seller is the only way that his reputation gets built. No matter from whom you buy an item; that item is original or not regardless of whatever paperwork accompanies it. The COA does not make it so. The knowledge of the seller does. Buyers all too often rely on the printed COA as the end-all evidence of an items originality and the COA will quite often fall short for the above reasons. There is no universally accepted end-all authority that can pronounce an item as 100% authentic and make it so. This is why a certificate or a certification should only be accepted as a tool; one among several, that will lend support of the authenticity of an item. That support will be only as strong as the level of knowledge of the person issuing the certification.
I offer certificates of my opinion for sale as well as paid opinions for several reasons; It took me 35 years to learn what I have learned about German helmets. Travel, expenses and handling thousands of examples. I have paid my dues several times over. Then I get e-mails from people who want me to tell them if their helmet is real so that they can sell it on Ebay. Or will ask me to estimate it's value so they can sell it at a show or on the net. I feel that this service is worth something. For the person who does not agree and believes that opinions should be given at no charge; please let me know and I will forward you 40-50 E-mailed requests per week and you can answer them all for free as well as attaching your name and reputation to each and every response.
If you pay me for an opinion or for a certification of my opinion, you are buying an answer based upon my heretofore described experience as well as my reputation among the collecting world. That answer may serve to lend support to the authenticity of your item. Conversely; unless you accept me as omnipotent, that opinion does not create truth where none exists. It doesn't make an item genuine. It merely supports the notion that it is.
I try to speak plainly. Both in person and through e-mails. So the plain message here is this: If you are looking for an opinion or a certification, what you receive from me is going to be accurate to the best of my ability. If it is not a service that you feel you need or is just not your "cup of tea"; I am not going to try to push it on you. This is a service which has in years past been requested of me far more often than it has been offered by me.
Service # 1: Opinion given by e-mail based on photos.
I will examine any photo or photos of a single helmet that you send to me either by e-mail or by printed matter. In most cases an accurate opinion may be given from viewing photos but there are cases where photos do not show enough in order to have assured accuracy. If that is the case, I will tell you that I am unable to arrive at an opinion from the material presented to me and no charge will be made. If I am able to arrive at a concrete opinion of the helmet based on the photograph(s) then I will tell you and the fee will be paid before I give that opinion. The cost for this service is $20.00
Service # 2; signed certification of opinion based upon examination of photos
After examining the photo(s) I will print out a certificate of authenticity which will include two photos of the subject helmet along with a description of it's physical characteristics, sign it and mail it to you. The cost of this certificate which is based upon my examination of photos will be $50.00
Service # 3: Signed certification of opinion based upon "hands-on" examination of the your helmet
Mail your helmet to me. I will examine every aspect and every component. I will print out a certification of my opinion which will include two photos of the subject helmet along with a description of it's physical characteristics, sign it and mail it to you along with your helmet. The cost will be $100.00 plus return postage for the helmet.
Please note: Unless otherwise stated, I do not include a certification of opinion for helmets that I sell and here I will explain why: Any and all helmets which are purchased from me carry my lifetime guarantee of authenticity. No certificate is needed in order to make a claim at any point in the future. If you bought it from me and later find a problem with it that I had failed to make you aware of, I will accept it back for full refund.
The certification of opinion is intended to act as a support of the claim of originality which will accompany the helmet in the future. It is intended to support whatever warranty is between you and to whomever you eventually sell the helmet. The warranty between myself and you the buyer is already expressed implicitly in the lifetime guarantee offered at the time that you purchase a helmet directly from me.