This example is about as real as it gets without actually being the real deal. Allow me to explain. Last summer at an out of town re-enacting event
(yes I also re-enact as a German soldier when not working on helmets) their was an impromptu swap meet where guys giving up the hobby had laid all of their kit on a table to trade and sell. Behind the table was a rather tall older man about 6' 2" 240 lbs+ with all his gear out for sale. His shoes were a US-12 and everything else was monstrous in size. On that same table he had this helmet for sale but when I picked it up I was shocked to realize that the Heer decal was actually the real deal a textbook ORIGINAL Huber Jordan & Koerner decal used mainly on EF and re-issued helmets. I know the particular ins and outs of this decal because I have had near mint examples in the past and even once a KM golden HJ&K eagle which I stared at for months at a time.
I quickly asked him how he got the helmet which is by the way is an ORIGINAL shell EF68 rear marked 1731 and he told me that a restorer friend of his "made" it for him and added the decal about 15 years ago. You can see by the way the decal is applied that there are some tiny areas of distortion where the eagle must have shifted around a little bit while being applied. The inside paint and outside paint is absolutely perfect in color and the outside has that sharkskin texture which is exactly what you want to see with later war EF M42's. Half of me believe the paint might even be original but looks a bit too fresh and so most likely is not. As can be seen from the pics the liner has a nice darkened sweated in appearance to it and really does blend in perfectly with the rest of the shell.
No offense to the larger re-enactor I purchased it from as I don't even really know him but he did seem like the type who preferred to play dress up most likely assuming an ambush position and manning the vehicles or Wehrmacht radio rather than humping it out in a trench or swamp and so the helmet although aged just doesn't have that much field wear to it.
The chinstrap is marked 1942 and comes from Czech Republic and was added by myself personally as the old was was some repro garbage from the 1980's. This helmet 100% original would probably be in the $1400 range and so it's priced quite fairly in my view.
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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