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Why do you collect?

Discussion in 'Other Militaria' started by tfer13, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. tfer13

    tfer13 Member

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    Not trying to get deep here.
    Just wanted to know as a non-collector what you guys derive from this? Why do you do it? Fun, Profit etc.
    Do you have other hobbies or does this pretty much consume your time?
     
  2. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    For me, militaria collecting is something that i've done since i was a kid. A family friend gave me a british civilian gas mask when i was aged seven and this set me on the road to collecting.

    I now have a fair sized militaria collection which includes both british, american and german items, although the bulk is made up of german bits.

    I see my collection as a possible investment for my son in later life...should he wish to sell it (although i'd like to think that he will hold on to it).

    I do have other interests, but militaria collecting is my main hobby. ;)
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    you don't know Ted by now ?

    collecting is part of history, whether an individual, a unit, a branch of service. personally for me it is the relationship between members of my Familie and what and whom they served for, part of my own personal background much of it still remaining in the fog.

    also very strong aid in the form of research of Identification and allocation of time.

    and although it appears in a positive way it does not consume me as I will not allow it too, there other things much more important than relics of the past and present
     
  4. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Ted, actually my Mother is the one to blame for me getting interested in collecting Militaria.

    As the story goes, my Grandfather who was a Merchant Marine Ships Captain in WWII, lost his ship; SS Fort Lee) to U 181 in Early November 1944 and in foul weather. To set that long part of the story aside, after the war, my Grandfather actually met and became friends with, one of the men who served on U 181 who also was on board when they torpedoed his ship.

    Well, as an act of friendship from the German Sailor to my Grandfather, he gave him his Destroyer War Badge (which he earned before he transferred to Uboats) and in exchange, my Grandfather gave him his Merchant Mariners medal for War Wounded. Well, my GF passed away in 1969, and on his passing, this German Vet somehow contacted our family and sent us his Merchant Mariners Medal back because he felt it was the right thing to do and also asking us to keep that Destroyer War Badge, so that we would also remember their friendship. This Vet felt it important to have two items always side by side and so that we could learn from them. Well, I inherited this badge & my GFs stuff when my Mother passed away. I still have all the items and some never mentioned before stuff.

    A few times as I was growing up, my mother told me the story of her Dad being torpedoed as well as the story about the German Badge. I was fascinated with the badge when I was younger thinking it a cool looking badge with the ships design on it not knowing how these were earned or why they were passed out?

    That Destroyer War Badge is still in almost mint condition with all of it's finish intact and this badge was made by: F.O. for the firm of: Friedrich Orth. Well, fast-forward about 6-7 years, and that was when I bought my first ever German Badge-which was a WWII Black Wound Badge-in mint condition but the paint on the Swaz was scraped off by the man who wore it so that the swaz was seen easier. I paid $35.00 for it then not knowing that I paid way too much for it. However, I liked the badge and I still have this one as well. After that, I think my next purchase was a very nice 1939 EKII-and then I was seriously bitten by the militaria collecting bug and my passion for collecting has only increased.

    I collect only German for now, but have been thinking of getting into Russian, Polish & more into French stuff. I have several French items thanks to a kind gent here ;-))

    I think that mostly I got into collecting because of my Mother, but also once I owned a few pieces, I decided I needed to own more ;-)) As the years rolled by, some of the items I collect mainly are not only of interest to me but, that I do my best to try to keep collections from being split apart just so some jerk can make a huge profit.

    The last three cases in point are, when I bought 4 award docs (minus two docs as they were not with the group and are probably missing to history) and six awards that were once the property of a Hermann Grell. With the purchase of his stuff, I was able to save the items from being sold seperately because I made the dealer an offer he couldn't refuse. With this grouping, came a snapshot photo taken of all the men in his Platoon-which I have also displayed with his award docs and awards.

    Case Nr 2: I was contacted by that same dealer a few months later with another but much smaller grouiping that he got his hands on. He decided to give me first crack at it and I got what I thought was a great deal for a mans two award docs and accompanying awards.

    Case Nr 3, was earlier this year when I was able to keep together (after everything was sod as seperate items and there wer over 100 items being split apart) and I managed to keep together 1/5th of the total amount of photos of this grouping together, as well as got a Regimentstagesbefehl along with it-21 items in total of 100. This is the stuff I got that was the property of the official photographer to Gebirgsjager Artillery Regiment 79. I tried for more but missed out on probably 20 others thanks to a slow running computer and also I was getting low on savings that I could use to purchase this stuff with.

    Ill probably never quit buying German stuff, unless the average Black Wound badges are priced at $100.

    I also collect in order to help preserve history as well as that I like the idea that I possess some of the items I have seen in so many photos, documentaries, movies, TV shows and such. It's kind neat to "fondle" a Uboat badge-or have it sitting in front of you, while reading a book about the German Submarine Service ;-)) Igrew up watching classic shows like: Hogans Heroes, McHales Navy and COMBAT-where you saw a lot of that "neat-looking" German stuff.

    Other items I collect are due to certain things I am really into that deals with the war-such as items men had who fought in certain battles such as-Rank insignia from men who were at Stalingrad, Kursk, etc etc. I have found that having an insignificant item from a significant happening in history, makes it THAT much more interesting to me-as well as when I show stuff to people who inquire.

    One thing I have never done is, to collect for investment. I just don't have the kind of money available to me to do that. Even if I did? I still wouldn't collect for investment.
     
  5. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    I have nothing on the serious collectors here...I collect mainly US stuff. I collect it so I can show it to my kids, so they will know what WWII was and why it was fought, after the 2 weeks they will spend on it their ENTIRE school career. Because it's important to remember the past, and to remember that the present is possible because of the past.
     
  6. tfer13

    tfer13 Member

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    Interesting responses all.
    It is obvious that you take this very seriously and do a great job of learning about the items. It is fun to see the expertise on display.
    When I handle the items I have that belong to a friend I can't help imagining what the person was like who wore the medals. What it was like when the award was given then what they felt when my friend (US GI) took them. If I were to collect I think I would try to get those items that could be tied to a name-groupings. I find it amazing that this can still be accomplished for many awards.
     
  7. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Luke, its good you collect US stuff because, that stuff is also starting and or has been, skyrocketing up in value. Lt.Col. John R. Angolia and a lot of other well known German collectors, sold off most of their German stuff in order to buy American. Me thoguh, I just can't leggo my German stuff to invest in another area. ;-))

    Here is something of a rarity to happen but, about 2-3 years ago, I was crusing through various militaria sites-many I only look at once a year or so-and only just to see what their prices for things are at. Well, my former roommate was a platoon sergeant in the Army for 14 of his 16 or so years service.

    Anyway, his father had been an a Tank Destroyer unit in WWII, and the only items that his dad had ever kept were few-one was his jacket which had the TD and rank insignia on it and such as well as a name tag he had sewn onto one of the jacket pockets. Well, fast forward to sometime in the 1980s, and he passed away. Well, his Sister deemed it necessary to throw out all their Dads stuff except for two German Officers DOvehead Swords-which the Sister still has, but they threw out all the Dads stuff including whatever parts of his uniform that he had kept-throwing all this stuff in an alley.

    Well, Bill, my former rommate-was stationed in germany at that time and couldn't get his dads stuff so he thought the items were lost forever.

    Well, on a Militaria site I visited that is in England-I happened by chance to check the American section they had-which I never had done so before-till that visit. I saw some amazing WWII and other American uniforms listed for sale and at very high prices-when I saw a jacket that had the TD patch and Master Sergeant stripes on it, and other stuff like the Ruptured Duck and brass ribbonbars and such. My eyes almost popped from their sockets when i saw the name sewn onto the jacket-the last name of Vahaly.

    Well, Bill had long ago accessed his dads and Uncles service records and such from WWII, and found that only two men with the last name of Vahaly, had served in the Army in WWII. One was his Dad in that TD unit, the other was his Uncle who was in the 101st Airborne Div and was killed at Bastogne. As Bills Birthday was coming up within the next few weeks, I figured I would surprise him with something I knew he'd like. I had by then already heard the story a few times about his Sister having a cae of The Stupids-when she threw out her dads Army stuff.

    Well, I didn't let on that what exactly I saw or that I saw anything for that matter, but that I was thinking of buying a Master Sergeants TD jacket that was for sale on that site. Before I couls say anything, Bill had asked if I had seen a nametag sewn onto onf of the pocket flaps, and I said I did. He then asked my what the name was? and I said it was Vahaly. That was then when he showed me the records on his dad and uncle and also in that they were the only two men with that last name to serve in the Army in WWII. There are variations of that last name-but only two-which is spelled: Vahaley & Vahaleigh.

    I then told him that what I believe to be his dads jacket was for sale ona British Mil dealers site. We went to the library the next day for me to show it to him and he verified that it was his dads jacket. Well, Bill didn't have the money available to buy it as it was listed at about 550 pounds-I forget then what the USD came out to? but I was thinking of buying it for Bill. Well, when we saw the pics of it on that site, the darned thing had already been sold. At least we knew his dads jacket had survived the garbage pile, and probably the other items too.
     
  8. tfer13

    tfer13 Member

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    Great story Carl

    What are the chances

    Ted
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Ted it's all very cyclic like the weather, the US militaria as well as German and all nations will drop soon enough then go back up. have seen this in the 1960's when most of the forum board was not even born yet, do some takes in the early 70's and even in the 80's. If I had financially now what I had had in the 60's I would have an arsenal/museum, ah but it is not to be and am fine with that.
     
  10. fischer

    fischer Member

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    I think it's due to my obsessive-compulsive personality...:D

    Best Regards, fischer
     
  11. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thank you Ted ;-))

    Heh heh, Fischer, you and I are incurable of this-eh-hem "disease". ;-)) I am beginning to wonder if this can be considere as some sort of "disability"? ;-D
     
  12. AndyPants

    AndyPants Ace

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    makes me happy.....learning the history / or what i can from a piece of history


    now im an addict though!
     
  13. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Andy, thats also another reason why I collect, that and most people don't think that some of the ""average"" items can't be researched on to their original owner-but that's wrong. If my current deal actually takes place? I have something that will come in that I can 100% positively ID to having belonged to one of two men ;-))

    I don't want to jinx myself by saying what this item is untill the deal is sealed and done. The last time I counted my chickens before their eggs hached, I must have jinxed myself a that deal fell through, but because of an aides blunder.

    PS, im also pretty positive I can already name that item to one man. But either way, if I get it wrong on the one guy im leaning more towards of owning it, I don't care because I know it belonged to one or the other ;-))
     
  14. AndyPants

    AndyPants Ace

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    exactly Carl, you can almost always find someting - no matter how little about a peice of history / militaria. Best of luck with the deal Carl, fingers crossed and i'll thow some of that irish luck your way ;)
     
  15. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi my friend, i could use some of that good Irish luck ;-)) Ill keep youi informed ho it goes. Im HOPING to have more about it tonight or hopefully no later than tomorrow. All I can say is that this is a very nice piece ;-))
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    An interesting thread. I'm not a collector. Although in the past I've started a few (non-military things), I've never had the urge to go through all the processes needed to learn what to get and what not to get. I enjoy reading and hearing why people collect the things they do. Carl, yours is a particularly fascinating tale. Thanks for sharing it. Like Ted, I am curious as to what motivates people to collect.
     
  17. 107thcav

    107thcav Member

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    I collected for over 15 years I started when I was in my teens while other guys did drugs and spent on foolish items. I have a love of history and country. Years later I travel to schools and talk about the war because I see it will be up to us to carry the torch to teach future generations about the greatest generation. Collecting has brought me satisfaction and respect for the men and women of the armed forces. Last week I bought a 1942 jeep and trailer, will probably still be restoring it the day I retire. It is also about the thrill of the hunt!
     
  18. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Than k you Lou, and sometime fairly soon, you will get to at least see copies of about 85 or o percent of my photos collection ;-)) Im hoping I can start getting copies out by mid Dec and no later than mid Jan. ;-))
     
  19. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hey Andy, thanks for some of your good luck because, im getting all the items I wanted which is going to be a fairly large trade. Ill divulge what the items are after I get them all in. I think some fo you guys here will like this stuff ;-D
     
  20. 36thva2

    36thva2 Member

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    I started collecting WW2 items years ago. Maybe 20 or so. Have been collecting War Between the States items for at least 35 though.... Nothing really special is left anymore except for a Parrott 20lb shell recovered at Shiloh, a few Confederate Reed shell bases and a ton of bullets.

    WW2 items I collect are German Collar tabs and shoulder boards, with a few medals thrown in.
     

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