As with all our tips articles, our advice to you is to do your research, get hold of a good set of example pictures, check the seller’s feedback and go into an online sale informed of what to look out for, the questions to ask and above all with some common sense. It is buyer beware out there.
With this in mind, here are our top five tips to help you buy a Vietnam War era M-1 helmet online today:
1) Check the cover carefully
M-1 Helmet covers need to be analysed carefully for authenticity. Not all Vietnam War helmets had the Mitchell Cover many assume all Vietnam lids should have, and many online sellers offer 1977 and ’83 dated ERDL (Engineer Research and Development Lab) and Woodland covers as the real deal. Look for covers that are un-dated, or dated 1973 or earlier. The most collectable covers are dated 1964-69 when America’s involvement was at peak, so expect helmets with these covers to carry a premium.
2) M-1 Steel shells are typically authentic
Steel pots are in the main, the real deal. Last M-1 helmets rolled off the line in 1976 (the war ended in 1975) and are almost identical to production items from as early as 1966. As many World War Two helmets were repainted and repurposed, it’s not uncommon to find a front-seam M-1 with Vietnam War connection. Not much to worry about here.
3) Authentic bands have characteristics
Camouflage helmet bands were deployed on around 80% of all G.I. M-1 helmets. Look for bands with no markings for early period helmets, or "US.Band.Helmet.Camouflage."
4) Chin straps also have identifying marks
The most common chin straps are marked with an anchor and typically big enough to be looped around the helmet for ease of storage. Airborne chinstraps were attached directly to the liner, infantry chin straps to the steel pot – this is the M-1C helmet, and very collectable. If the chin strap has a split chin-cup and angled clips, this is a post-war helmet, so avoid it.
5) Liners should have appropriate dates
M-1 liners also require careful checking. There will be a date printed on the right or left parallel strap and, if the sweatband is included, there will also be a date near the adjustment buckle. Helmets with pre 1973-74 dated liners are the most sought after with the late 1960s earning a premium.
So now you know our top five tips for buying a Vietnam War era M-1 helmet, where do you go next? Visit www.warstuff.com of course.
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Like eBay, but just for militaria and war relics. WARSTUFF is a non political, specialist auctions marketplace to buy and sell antique arms, militaria and armour online. Founded in 2009, WARSTUFF offers a destination to unite militaria dealers and collectors under one brand. Services include militaria auctions, buy-it-now, classified ads and 3rd party site listings transfers and more. If militaria and military history is your passion, then WARSTUFF is for you.