German-Helmets.com  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

    Collector Topics:  Helmet Dome Stamps

Dome Stamps

In order to ensure the quality of the steel helmets being produced it was determined that a system be put in place where representatives of the Ministry of War Production (Reichskriegsministerium) would be on hand at each manufacturing facility to monitor the quality of the final product.  One person was responsible for the inspection of a limited number of combat helmets manufactured in a given production run.  In order to identify the helmets that had been inspected an acceptance stamp was created for the purpose of marking the helmet lots that had been approved for purchase and delivery.  It is important to note that not every helmet produced received the acceptance stamp (Abnahmestempel).  Rather, a system was designed where a series of helmets were inspected from the total number of helmets in each production lot.  A detailed examination of surviving helmets indicates that perhaps only 25% of all combat helmets show this inspection stamp.  During the inspection process the outside of the helmet was examined including the dimensions, weight and the lacquer finish. Documents indicate that 101 pieces were selected from a given series and assigned a sequential number.  One helmet was selected for inspection from the total in the given lot.  The inspecting agent was granted the freedom to choose any helmet in the series regardless of their sequential numbering.  The stamps themselves were inked into the dome of the completed helmet.  As a result, these oval ink marks have come to be known as "dome stamps" by modern collectors.  The nature of the dome stamp was such that it was applied with permanent ink.  Various dome stamp types exist with many having the year of inspection centered in the middle.  In some cases dome stamps exhibit Roman numerals which might indicate the inspector's number or perhaps a given inspection lot.  Collectors should be aware that dome stamps have been extensively faked in recent years as a way of driving up the value of the counterfeit helmet.  The quality of the counterfeit stamps varies from the very poor to the near perfect.  Some reproduction dome stamps are even sold as decal transfers which are in fact nothing more than historical fantasy.

 Collector Topics

Chinstraps

Camouflage

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  Photos at Left:

(Top) An original dome stamp dated 1938 appearing in a double decal combat police helmet.

(Bottom) An original dome stamp appearing in an unissued M1935 double decal Waffen-SS helmet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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