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When the Family comes calling.........


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#1 Jack's Son

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 10:16 PM

It happens all to often, that dreaded Post, or PM (personal Message.) The family of a veteran wants to reclaim there loved one's property.
And, we as collectors, are called on to do the "right thing". But what is that?

All to often, it is to give up a part of our collection. It may be a piece that is highly treasured for it meaning to our collection, or valuable in
a monetary sense. Regardless, the family wants it, and they expect us to relinquish it.

When this subject comes up, we all agonize with the member involved. We put ourselves in their situation and give advice. But none of us
truly knows what we will do when it's our turn.

I would like to hear from those who have faced this head on. How they felt, what they thought, and what they did to reach a solution to this
inevitable drama.

I hope that all who wish to add their thoughts, do so in a well thought-out manner.
Perhaps we can leave a history that may help others when it is their / our turn.

#2 Jack's Son

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 10:54 PM

Before I began this addition, I held two posthumously awarded Purple Hearts that I am currently researching.
In each case, I am in direct contact with the brothers of each of the recipients. These two gentlemen were
only eleven, when their older brother went off to war. Each of them have memories, each of them want closure.
I am helping each of them find it.

This is as close as I have come to the subject of this thread. These men do not know I have their brother's medals. And as far as I am concerned, they will never know. I am doing this research to get to know the men behind the medals. Who were they? How did they grow up? How did their sacrifice effect their families?

I have already come to my decision about returning the medals, asked or not.
One of the first pieces of information I wanted to learn was; How did the medals come to leave the family.
The answers weren't surprising. And, over the years the family has done nothing to try and get them back.
Nor have they tried to get replacements.

The answer to my first question, told me I had no responsibility to return the medals. I will not lavish on
them, what they do not care to seek themselves.
A bit harsh? Not for me, each situation is different. But the excuses can make you grow cold.

#3 gpw_42

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:31 AM

I bought a group about a year ago, which came with some baggage - an email address to a family member who was interested in part of the group. Somehow, it'd gotten outside the family and she wanted portions of it back. After a lot of agonizing, and consulting some friends with more experience (in this category and other ethical issues), I finally wrote the family, explained that I had the items they were interested in, and that I'd paid a healthy chunk for the group, and I really thought the group represented their family member's service best when kept together as a group. However, if they were still interested in the parts, I'd sell for $X, which was reasonable market value.

I never heard back from the family.

This is a good topic, and I'll bet the answers will be as varied as the number of posters to it!

Steve

#4 hawkdriver

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:44 AM

As I posted in another topic I see it that we collectors are the ones that collect, protect, and hold the history of items that others have thrown out. If someone wants a specific family item back, then they should be ready to pay market price to get it back. If there is some extenuating circumstances that an item was lost or stolen, then I would go out of my way to make sure they get it back. However, if they want it back because someone else in the family sold it off, then there should be no expectation of "getting it back for nothing". I have had some items in my collection for many years. I had to pay for it, I have spent money getting items restored, I pay electricity cost to keep it in a prime environment. If they come to me and expect it to just be given back to them, they are going to be sadly disappointed. I may not sell it to them, but I will charge a maintenance and storage fee and it will probably be close to what it cost me to buy and maintain the item. It will all depend on the attitude they impart
My grandfather was a waist gunner on a B-17. When he got home, he got rid of his shearling flight gear because he lived in Oklahome and in his words, "who the hell would want that crap". Well, if someone were to pop up and have his outfit, I would never presume that they would just give it back for free and I would expect to pay top dollar to recover it.
Attitude and humility will go a long way to getting an item back. Pompus attitudes and a sense of entitlement may get you an encounter that isn't in your best interest... or I may be wrong.

#5 wildcat123

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:53 AM

My grandfather was a waist gunner on a B-17. When he got home, he got rid of his shearling flight gear because he lived in Oklahome and in his words, "who the hell would want that crap". Well, if someone were to pop up and have his outfit, I would never presume that they would just give it back for free and I would expect to pay top dollar to recover it.


This is an excellent point and really sums up the argument for me. My Grandfather was a bomber crewman as well, and I would pay ANYTHING to have his uniform or anything relating to his service back. If the relative has good intentions, they should be willing to pay the going rate...

#6 SARGE

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:54 AM

This is a good topic, and I'll bet the answers will be as varied as the number of posters to it!

Steve


This is an excellent topic and this situation happens much more often than we might think. With today's internet search engines anyone can google a name and find this very topic and any thread on this, or any other, website and read it. Always bear in mind that nothing said on the internet is "private" or only seen by our target audience.

I collect named and identified edged weapons and militaria. I have severely restricted naming soldiers on the forum because extended "family" does pop up from time to time saying that their dear old uncle's family heirloom militaria was stolen / sold by an evil drunken grandson / inadvertantly given to Goodwill... etc. And, of course they want it back. Sometimes this is a legitimate family member and sometimes this is a crook who contacts you wanting you to give Uncle Harry's OSS uniform back for free. Sorry to sound harsh but I don't give anything in my collection away unless I want to. If they want to pay market price for Uncle Harry's uniform (and I want to sell it) they should have it, IMHO. Otherwise, show me a police report of the theft dated prior to the date they contacted me... and we will talk.

My advice is do not write the soldier's name on the internet unless you wish to risk the above scenario. It is always a hassle and it always spoils the fun of a new find that we wish to keep in our collections and share with others. But, beware the relatives who often come out of the woodwork when it is discovered that Uncle Harry's old military junk is actually collectable and worth some money. These are the same relatives who fight over Aunt Harriet's Tiffany vase at the funeral when they find out what it is worth on Antiques Roadshow. :think:

#7 doyler

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:16 AM

I agree with Sarge.I too have refrained from listing a name both on line and in public.

All sound advice.The internet has really made it a small world.I am all for the family having the item(s)but more often than not the intentions of the person may not be above board and it not only family you have to worry about.I have had other collectors do the promting of the family.The craze of getting everything with iron clad "provenance" and documenting every little detail or photograph may get you more than you ask for.
Be careful turning over rocks...you may not like the result.

There is a post on this subject done about a year ago.Maybe a moderator can merge them as there is a lot of good advice.

RD

#8 Dave

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:23 AM

The first time I had an issue with a family member was when I contacted the widow of a veteran whose medals I had just purchased. She FLIPPED OUT (in a bad way!) when I told her I had them. She claimed they were stolen. I was maybe 15 at the time, didn't want any trouble, and so I sent them back to the dealer I bought them from (note: always buy things from reputable dealers!) Crisis averted.

That's been the only time in 24 years of collecting that I've had a problem. Other times, it's worked out amicably...

- An autographed book to a famous general ended up in my collection from a picker. Years later, I put it on eBay. The general's son contacted me (via another source) and wanted the book back - but ONLY if he paid retail for it. Not only did he pay my asking price, but he also gave me $50 "for the trouble"

- I tracked down the family of a veteran whose 100+ pieces of V-mail I bought in a collection. I found the guy's oldest son...turns out that the dad married another woman (other than his mom) shortly after the War and his dad died not a few years later. His stepmother sold off everything that belonged to his father, and basically marginalized the poor guy. Decades later, he was a successful businessman and about died when I told him I had the letters. He never thought he'd ever see anything from his mom and dad again...but there it was. I paid $28 for the letters...and sent them to him for free. I have met fewer more grateful people in this world than him...

- I bought a KIA PH group off eBay to a Navy officer from the same ship my grandfather served on (it sunk). A week later, I was contacted by the second high bidder. He told me he was the veteran's son and wanted the group...apparently his grandmother had sold it years ago. I told him to prove his relationship and he did...birth certificate and all. He knew what I paid for the group, and after he proved who he was, I told him he could have the group at the price I paid for it (it was retail+ as I really wanted it). He not only send me a check for the amount, but he also sent me an additional $100 because I was willing to sell it!

My policy, developed over the years:

- If it's "stolen", provide the paperwork showing it was stolen. If not, then it's not "stolen" and I'm not obliged to give it back.

- If they want it back, they can pay me fair retail for it. If it's really that important to them, they'll pay me for it. I would HAPPILY pay for my family's items (my uncle, a retired USAF general, sent all his stuff to a thirft store about 25 years ago!)

There's very little that I have that I would be a stick in the mud over selling back to the family. Pretty much everything is replaceable or upgradeable, and if they're willing to pay for it, I'm happy to send it back to where (I think) it should have stayed in the first place.

My two cents...

Dave

#9 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:55 AM

Attitude and humility will go a long way to getting an item back. Pompus attitudes and a sense of entitlement may get you an encounter that isn't in your best interest... or I may be wrong.

Your darn right, and the family member(s) should be willing to offer proof of the relationship and pony-up the dollars it takes to reacquire the item(s). Otherwise leave it in the hands of those who care!

#10 Dave

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 10:35 AM

Forgot to add in my previous post...

Just to assuage any fears of posting veteran's groups, the vast majority of families I've dealt with have been very nice and most have actually never even asked for the items back. In fact, some have even sent more to me, once they knew the items were being taken care of! For a lot of people, militaria doesn't mean much...kind of like us being contacted by a vintage clothing collector who has one of my granddad's old suits. I could care less that they had it because it doesn't mean anything to me, and in fact, if they wanted more old clothes from his closet, I'd probably send them their way just to have less clutter around the house!

So, not every dealing with a family member goes south, and in fact, most interactions are quite good for both parties.

Dave

#11 normaninvasion

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:33 AM

Let your conscience be your guide. As it is, we can't take this stuff to the grave. Reminds me of a relative who long ago lost a family oil painting of a relative, who was a whaling captain in the 1840s, in a poker game long ago. I know the owner, who still has it, and he would never part with it even if I had the 1000s to pay for it. Such is life! Lucky to still have his spyglass. I think if a family member finds their way to our collections, we use rational thinking rather than emotion to judge the merit of the request. But, if we dont want to part with an item there should be no guilt involved. I'm sure if a relative sincerley wants to be reunited with granddads medals they will leave a # in case one decides to part with it or a reminder email once a year of their interest, I'm sure many don't have the heart to be presistant.

#12 willysmb44

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:45 PM

This happened to me a few years ago. I’d befriended a 1st ID vet who’d landed in the second wave at Omaha beach. He didn’t have much stuff left but he gave me his DUIs (pin-back 16th Infantry), his branch insignia (also with 16th marked) and the painted pot he wore all through the war. He’d long ago disowned his two daughters in the 1960s. He told me they were calling families of KIA’s in Vietnam and telling them they correctly died while committing atrocities against the “Peace loving people” of the North, and also threw dog poop at returning vets from that war. I have no way to know if it was true, but I know he refused to say their names, almost 30 years later. He gladly gave me his stuff because, “I’d rather you have it and appreciate it than those [the C word]s. Heck, I’d burn it before I’d let them get hold of it!” He said I could sell the stuff if I wanted, just as long as it wasn’t to his daughters or their families. His wife had passed long before then. So, after I moved 3000 miles away, I have no idea how they found me, but one of the daughters wrote to me. She demanded I return the things that he had “incorrectly” given away.
I told for better or worse, I was carrying out a vet's wish, and I'd further follow it if this went any further, to be sure the stuff was handled in the other acceptable way he had in mind, as in breaking ouit the lighter fluid.
I'd have done it, too. Really. :pinch:

Edited by willysmb44, 10 May 2010 - 06:47 PM.


#13 Paul S

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:21 AM

If I am repeating something here, please forgive me. However, I've seen numerous instances in the local area where an estate is broken up according to the terms of the will. Personal property, if not specifically bequeathed, is simply put into the auction or estate sale and sold according to whatever procedures are established by the law and the executor. Anyone, including family members, is free to acquire what they wish at the going rate...the proceeds are deposited and divided according to the same rules.

Presumably, whichever family member wants something most will pay the most for it and all heirs still benefit equally. Just as in any commercial transaction, any subsequent claimant should be willing to pay a fair price for what he/she wants or prove they have a valid claim on the property. Of course, certain emotional elements can often make such decisions difficult. My two-cents.

Paul

#14 TomV

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 03:16 PM

Interesting thread!

Here are two of my experiences:

-I had put a liner on the forum with name. A nephew of this soldier contacted me telling me this liner belonged to his uncle. We exchanged e-mails and he brought me in contact with his uncle, the veteran.
The veteran claimed that the liner was his. He is a very nice person. I offered it back to him, but he refused. He even gave me more information on his servic and even a picture of him.
(Unfortunately I'm still not 100% sure whether the liner actually belonged to him: I'm about 90% sure)

-After doing a trade with a good friend of mine, I came in possesion of a dogtag belonging to a soldier who was KIA during WWII.
I started a big search and eventually managed to get in touch with the soldier's niece. (This soldier only had one sibling, a sister. The lady was his sister's daughter)
The lady was very kind to me. She provided me with a picture, newspaper clippings and other information.
I offered the dogtag back to her, but she told me that she found it great that I have such an interest in it, that I took the effort to track her down and even offer it to her. She told me that she loved to see it as being a part of my collection.
I still have very goodo contact with her.

Just my 2 cents.

Edited by TomV, 12 May 2010 - 03:19 PM.


#15 seebee1

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:11 AM

Something that can happen to all collectors. In all the many years I have collected I have three experiences and with varying conclusions. One was an Arnhem attributed and identified 2nd pattern FS Knife, bought from an antique or arms fair. The eventual outcome was that I donated it FOC to the veterans Regimental Museum, with his and his families full approval. The second was a mint SAARF Wing that the veteran, a friend, gave to me. Some years later he asked for it back, for his son he told me. I asked if he would consider my paying him what it was worth, over the market rate, and apart from the payment, a set of good replica SAARF Insignias, he was more than content with this, a satisfactory outcome, but not my favorite experience. The third was many years ago when I bought a superb set of material to a WASP Pilot, very expensive, from a UK dealer who bought it in the States. It included her A2 Flight Jacket, Flying overalls, Flight Helmet, photographs and other things. I researched it and soon was in contact with her. She wrote to me that it had been stolen from someone who she had lent it to for a display-exhibition, some years earlier, and she had been trying to trace and track it. My immediate reaction was to offer to send it all back to her at no cost, I felt so bad about this, although not anything of my doing. I explained to her of my interests and at the time a number of displays I was doing for the 50th Anniversary here in the UK of the 8th AAF, and more about myself and general interests. She wrote back and told me that she would be happy for me to keep it and in addition she sent me some other of her things, we were in contact afterward for several years. A great outcome that could have turned out so differently. These experiences are not totally the same as "when the family comes calling", but very much along the lines of what can occur to any collector. I have never been at all worried or concerned about displaying or exhibiting identified material, I always research anything I can and accept the risks that this may bring. At the end of the day it is what your conscience dictates. Regards, Clive.

#16 Shenkursk

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:08 PM

I have been on both sides of this issue. There have been several situations where family members tracked down a relative's memorabilia that we had for sale, and after establishing that they were indeed genuine family members who wanted artifacts of their relative's service, I was happy to pass along the items at our cost, or in most cases forward their contact information on to the buyer if the item had already sold. I do not release the buyer's name under any circumstances. If they wish to get in touch with the family, that is a decision for them to make.

On another occasion, while doing research on a small AAF KIA paperwork group, I ran across an internet post where a relative of the serviceman was asking for information about his family member. I contacted him, got an address, and as I really did not have much invested in the group anyway, just sent it out to him free of charge. That kind of stuff creates good karma.

Unfortunately, I have yet to build up enough good karma to overcome the will of a collector who ended up with my uncle's WWI diary. I approached him as diplomatically as I could, and offered him pretty much any price he wanted for it, but he was not interested in releasing it. I acknowledged his right to do with it as he pleased (as it is now his property), but requested that he put my card or a note in the diary so that if he should ever change his mind, he (or his family) would recall the name and address of the guy willing to pay a small fortune for the item... but oddly enough he didn't like that idea either. Not sure if or how I offended him, but I have pretty much written it off as 'mission impossible.' My Uncle meant a great deal to this fellow who was also a good friend of the family, so I am happy at least knowing that it is being properly cared for by someone who also finds it to be significant.

Like others have said here previously, I have avoided posting ID'd material from my own collection specifically to avoid any need to make such uncomfortable decisions.

Several friends (and fellow forum members) have shared tales of contact with family members ranging from inspiring, heartwarming experiences all the way to some of the most spectacular bile-spewing cataclysms you could possibly imagine. Sworn to secrecy, I will not repeat the juicy details but suffice it to say that after watching my friends bounce through that minefield I am now firmly in the 'no public disclosure' camp.

#17 Bugme

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:12 PM

Simple, I send them this message: Perdóneme, pero yo no hablo inglés. This seems to eliminate the problem. ;)

OK, so I don't really do that. However, it's a sticky issue and has to be dealt with on a case by case basis. So far any family who have contacted me had only wanted pictures of the items and copies of documents for a family album. I had no problem sending them their request. We'll see how I feel about it if it happens to me and they're unreasonable. :think:

#18 fortworthgal

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:33 AM

I will play devil's advocate. I'm generally of the mind that the family should have first dibs on an item - with certain restrictions. Meaning, if they seem to have legitimate interest in the item and the history, they are reasonable about the whole thing, can prove their relationship, and are willing to pay or at least offer something if it is an item that the collector has a significant amount invested in. My grandfather was killed in action in WWII, and if I ever saw something of his come up on here or any other forum - you can bet I'd try to get it back.

I've personally never been in this situation. More than likely this is because I don't go around posting my items, and I don't go after named stuff or groupings (I do have one that was given to me by the son of a WAVES veteran). I have seen this situation come up on this forum a couple of times and I generally refrain from commenting because I know my opinions won't be popular with many collectors.

Edited by fortworthgal, 18 May 2010 - 11:34 AM.


#19 Dave

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:07 PM

I have seen this situation come up on this forum a couple of times and I generally refrain from commenting because I know my opinions won't be popular with many collectors.


No, I don't think your opinion is that unpopular. I enjoy seeing the family get back items from the veterans, as often it was someone else from the family that decided the items were no longer wanted/needed/appreciated.

I once stopped my grandmother from tearing up all of my great uncle's 1930's West Point snapshots (when he was a cadet) because after my grandfather's passing, she figured no one would care about them. Duh...it wasn't like I hadn't been collecting militaria for 15 years by then and that she hadn't seen my collection HUNDREDS of times! But, she just wasn't thinking...luckily we rescued the photos (albiet several in multiple pieces...)

If the family can appreciate the items AND they're willing to pay "retail", I'm all for sending stuff back. It's when they want it back for nothing - or worse yet, threaten legal/police action - that I start getting testy...

Dave

#20 fortworthgal

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:23 PM

^ OT, but your avatar is awesome.

#21 mrhell

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:04 AM

Great topic :thumbsup:

I recently had this happen for the first time only with a twist. On this forum I posted some dog tag scans, one of which was my Great-Grandfather's from WWI, but I also typed out his name in my post. Well a few days later it just so happens that 600 miles away, a much younger cousin I never met did a Internet search on my Great-Grandfather's name and he found my forum post.

Sure enough, I received a call asking for the dog tag but here's the twist, my cousin shares the same name as my Great-Grandfather! He's the third namesake and his Father who has since passed was the second name sake, whereas I don't even share the last name.

I have never met this cousin and it was the first time we spoke to each other. He had valid reasons for wanting the dog tag and is really into our family history going way back I might add. At first I didn't feel worthy of keeping the dog tag but after a few days of thinking I decided that my name didn't matter, I'm still a Great-Grandson too. I have vivid, fond memories of my Great-Grandfather. We weren't real close, but he knew me, I knew him and we were part of each others lives. When he passed I attended his funeral, my first BTW. My younger cousin never met the man, but I appreciate the genuine respect and interest he shows for him. In the end I left it that I was not ready to part with the dog tag, but if I did so in the future, he will be the first one I contact.

As a side note – years after my Great-Grandfather passed away my Great-Grandmother gave the dog tag to her first born child, my Grandmother, who then passed it along to her first born, my Mother and I have had it since the late '70s. So even though I'm not a name sake, I feel the tag belongs to my side of the family just as much as it does to the other side. How sad it is that family members become distant the way ours have—this side, that side.

Either way this experience was a lesson learned! :think:

#22 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:09 AM

I have never met this cousin and it was the first time we spoke to each other. He had valid reasons for wanting the dog tag and is really into our family history going way back I might add. At first I didn't feel worthy of keeping the dog tag but after a few days of thinking I decided that my name didn't matter, I'm still a Great-Grandson too. I have vivid, fond memories of my Great-Grandfather. We weren't real close, but he knew me, I knew him and we were part of each others lives. When he passed I attended his funeral, my first BTW. My younger cousin never met the man, but I appreciate the genuine respect and interest he shows for him. In the end I left it that I was not ready to part with the dog tag, but if I did so in the future, he will be the first one I contact.


Well done, I agree.

#23 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:29 AM

Great topic :thumbsup:

I recently had this happen for the first time only with a twist. On this forum I posted some dog tag scans, one of which was my Great-Grandfather's from WWI, but I also typed out his name in my post. Well a few days later it just so happens that 600 miles away, a much younger cousin I never met did a Internet search on my Great-Grandfather's name and he found my forum post.

Sure enough, I received a call asking for the dog tag but here's the twist, my cousin shares the same name as my Great-Grandfather! He's the third namesake and his Father who has since passed was the second name sake, whereas I don't even share the last name.

I have never met this cousin and it was the first time we spoke to each other. He had valid reasons for wanting the dog tag and is really into our family history going way back I might add. At first I didn't feel worthy of keeping the dog tag but after a few days of thinking I decided that my name didn't matter, I'm still a Great-Grandson too. I have vivid, fond memories of my Great-Grandfather. We weren't real close, but he knew me, I knew him and we were part of each others lives. When he passed I attended his funeral, my first BTW. My younger cousin never met the man, but I appreciate the genuine respect and interest he shows for him. In the end I left it that I was not ready to part with the dog tag, but if I did so in the future, he will be the first one I contact.

As a side note – years after my Great-Grandfather passed away my Great-Grandmother gave the dog tag to her first born child, my Grandmother, who then passed it along to her first born, my Mother and I have had it since the late '70s. So even though I'm not a name sake, I feel the tag belongs to my side of the family just as much as it does to the other side. How sad it is that family members become distant the way ours have—this side, that side.

Either way this experience was a lesson learned! :think:


This highlights the question of who is "family"? I have seen more than one thing where someone said they are a niece or cousin or spouse of a niece or some other lateral relation and indicate they are entitled to it (and usually say someone in the family improperly disposed of it long ago). I have to say that I cannot even imagine feeling some sort of claim on anything that ever belonged to an uncle, cousin, aunt, great-uncle, etc. I always figured that if they'd wanted me to have something, they'd have given it to me. Even direct lines are far-fetched at times. Do some genealogy and look at how many possible descendants your great-grandfather might have (or consider that you had eight great-grandparents).

Rare is the family that will actually put something on the wall to honor a vet, let alone one who is one-eighth of their bloodline. I buy direct from a lot of families and I often tell them that collectors will honor the veteran and create something that will perpetuate the vets legacy of service. And really, the question should be "How will history best be preserved?"

#24 marentius

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:59 AM

:mellow: well it seems that this kind of call,and the consequent BIG DILEMMA that comes with it, has reached me,although I live in Italy.Here's the story:I bought last year from a member of the forum a nice jacket.After 9 months yesterday the seller (I DO admire the correctness of this person)sent me a PM reporting that one family member of the veteran (who died in 2002)found on internet that the jacket was sold on this Forum and it seems willing to recover.My name is still unknown to the family member.
First the jacket was bought from an american dealer,who himself claimed to have it bought from one friend who got it on a yard sale and this dealer sold it to the person I bought it from.
The family member claims that the jacket was somehow kind of stolen,was given some time back with some other items to an apparently former member of the same unit the veteran was in for a display but then never got back. She believes the jacket may be one of those and would like to get it back. It seems she has anything to back it up though. Just her memory. So, no telling if this jacket was part of this or some extra he got rid of. So, maybe the vet sold it some time before since it was just extra. Who knows.
Frankly speaking I don't know what to do....I am more a collector than a dealer,sometime I sell something from my collection but it's more a kind of "phisiological" sale,I am always looking for new items to add to my collection and I bought this item because it's a great one for me and it's getting harder and harder to find such kind of original items.
On one hand I have a very nice item,with solid and documented provenance,bought honestly and paied for with some good money,on the other hand there is the (sincere) wish of a family member to recollect what went somehow lost.Big dilemma indeed....Some kind of moral issues are giving me some trouble,To make it short I (we) collect items in order to preserve history and the memories of those who made it.In many cases,as many forum members have posted in this thread,items are bought directly from the families who want to get rid of old needless things,or sometimes sold directly from the veterans so I consider to legitimaly own those items.But in this case I need to understand what to do,keep it or sell it back to the family.

#25 Sabrejet

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:43 AM

I think that medal collectors are the most vulnerable to this kind of thing. Although I'm not a dedicated medals man myself, I do have a number of medals which are original boxed representative examples, but not associated with any particular individual (apart from one!) But so many medals are named to identifiable individuals and often form part of larger personal groupings with photos and paperwork etc. I'm always amazed at how these awards are released by families and find their way onto the collectors' market! One of my most treasured posessions is my late grandfather's set of three WW1 medals. Being British medals, they bear his name, rank and serial number, so there's no disputing where they came from! I would never consider selling them or letting them out of the family. After my days they go to my son. And yet...hundreds..probably thousands of families seem to be prepared to part with their family history for money?!

So, with many medals being named / attributable, I think if I were to collect them I'd personally require some sort of guarantee that the family of "Sgt Joe Public" are not going to come a-knockin' on my door requesting the repatriation of his medals. Have any medal-collectors out there experienced such a thing?

Sabrejet


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