I'm sure I'm pretty much a novice at this stuff compared to most here.
I guess I've been a collector of mainly WWII-era items ever since I found a clip for a K98 Mauser still loaded with four rifle rounds stamped with the Nazi Eagle and 1943 at a flea market as a kid. I got more into it when I married my wife - her grandfather was in the 7th Armored Division and once he learned of my interest, he started telling me a lot. I have a few of his items - his bayonet, compass, and duffel bag. I also have the flag from his casket.
One of my grandpas (not a veteran) had a German helmet and a Japanese bayonet that I inherited when he passed. I don't really know why he had them, and didn't know about them before he passed, but they remind me of him none-the-less.
I've picked up other items along the way, but the stuff I treasure most has some connection to someone I know.
A rather distant cousin of mine has started sharing some of his items with me, as he has no descendants and wants to make sure they are cared for and appreciated after he passes. He was an MP in the Vietnam era, as was his brother. He gave me his brother's Purple Heart, the wrappings it was mailed home in, and a framed certificate that he was given.
More recently he gave me a belt buckle that I'd like to learn more about. He (we) have a common ancestor that fought in the Civil War, and while I know this resembles a buckle used then, there are also tons of later models, reproductions, etc. I'd like to know more about this if anyone can help.
I've noticed it has 12 stars - most I've found pictures of have ten, but this has two above each side of the silver crest. I think it's bronze. It has no proof marks that I can see. I have no idea if the red canvas is original to it or not. The catch on the back seems longer than many I've seen pictures of.