Certificates of authenticity
On this page, I'll try to explain what I think about certificates of authenticity.
#1 thing is that 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.
So why get a COA? And what's more; Why PAY for one? No doubt the value of militaria collectibles has only continued to rise over the years. German helmets have been on the cutting edge of this price/value inflation. The investment aspect of helmet ownership is something to take into account. With the increasing level of accuracy and "Talent" of those who reproduce helmets insignias; certain measures to verify and authenticate your original helmet may indeed be wise as it is true that re-salability and value is becoming dependant, to a large degree, upon the ability to verify the authenticity of the collectible item.
Not everybody agrees with this line of thinking. That is certainly understandable. Many stick with the line of thought that says a buyer must be able and ready to decide for himself whether an item is good or not. There is nothing wrong with that. But with the level of sophistication in the forgeries found today, not everybody may be at this level of comfortability regarding their own expertise.
I offer certificates of authenticity for sale as well as paid opinions for several reasons; certainly for the above noted reason but also for others. It took me a quarter of a century 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.
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 certificate 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 certificate 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 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 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 certificate of authenticity 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 certificate of authenticity is intended to act as a warranty of originality which will accompany the helmet in the future. That warranty is between you and to whomever you eventually sell the helmet. The certificate merely acts as support of that warranty. 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.