This is one of my latest finds out of rural West Texas. I believe the almost pristine condition of the outside paint and decal owe their longevity in large part due to the arid conditions this helmet experienced throughout it's post war years. The paint is so fresh that the blue really pops out at you unlike most LW helmets which have naturally darkened over time and so almost appear to be jet black. If you love perfect decals as I do that you will really love what this helmet has to offer with a virtually flawless Luftwaffe eagle untouched and unmarred over 75+ years of history.
The helmet was made at the Quist factory in Esslinger in the year 1941 according to it's rear lot number DN148 so this helmet is definitely a mid war fighting man's example. The liner is 1940 dated and reflects an interesting transition period when re-enforced aluminum square bale liners were being phased out and replaced by metal and zinc liner bands. In this particular case the rounded chinstraps bales are actually zinc which the rest of the outer band is still re-enforced aluminum. The original chinstrap is full length and otherwise unmodified with an early war aluminum buckle. Although difficult to make out but when you have enough experience in reading chinstrap markings you need only 4-5 legible letters to figure out that it reads "Rahm & Kampmann Wuppertal 1940". This was as transitional year for the Luftwaffe procurement office when the earlier brown LW chinstraps were being phased out for black ones to fall in line with Wehrmacht standards.
The inside liner is 100% original to the helmet and is made from goat skin with the appropriate size marking of 56. A very difficult specimen to upgrade and as far as single decal Luftwaffe helmets go this one is pretty much as good as it gets.
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GERMAN HELMET FACTORY PRODUCTION CODES
(Every original German helmet produced from 1935 to 45 had two factory stampings punched into the side and rear or both in the rear. The alpha numeric number refers to the factory location and the inside metric circumference in centimeters. The rear lot number refers to the production run and was used as a quality control measure. The font styles used at each factory were slightly different but highly consistent throughout the war and so fakes or reproductions will either not have these numbers at all or they will use the wrong font style or letter spacing and so are easily identified as post war made.)
(FS or EF)-Emaillierwerke AG, Fulda, Germany
(ET or ckl)-Eisenhuttenwerke, Thale, Germany
(Q)-Quist, Esslingen, Germany
(NS)-Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, Schwerte, Germany
(SE or hkp)-Sachsische Emaillier u. Stanzwerke, Lauter, Germany