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


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#251 LegGrunt71

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 10:17 PM

As a new guy here this topic makes me nervous. I inherited a lot of named militaria and will begin posting about here in the very near future, but this thread makes me sorta gun-shy. I suppose I'll "YOLO" it and post about it anyway because I can prove it's been in my possession twenty years, and a deceased relatives for at least twenty more before that.



#252 earlymb

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 12:43 AM

As a new guy here this topic makes me nervous. I inherited a lot of named militaria and will begin posting about here in the very near future, but this thread makes me sorta gun-shy. I suppose I'll "YOLO" it and post about it anyway because I can prove it's been in my possession twenty years, and a deceased relatives for at least twenty more before that.

 

If you worry about that, just don't type any names so search engines can't find it. You can show it in pictures if you prefer. :)



#253 Bill in VA

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 04:21 AM



 [... ]  I also I think that unless one is conducting general research on an individual, it is always a good idea to be bit vague on the names and ID's on some of the large groupings or uniforms that forum members acquire for this very reason.

 

This certainly isn't directed at you, but you posed the question, rhetorically, I presume;  my response is: "Why?"

 

If you (i.e., the collector) acquired the item(s) lawfully and legitimately, you have nothing to worry about. Moreover, I'd argue the exact opposite: if you've acquired the item(s) legitimately, you should identify the relevant people/units. Conversely, if you've acquired something illegitimately/unlawfully, you should worry about the rightful owner coming calling and wanting their property back.

 

Again, this isn't directed at anyone in particular, but here on the forum for example, there are a lot of high and mighty statements made about preserving history, about acting as stewards of rare historical mementos, statements bemoaning the dissolution of groupings, etc...; in short, we've imposed a duty on ourselves as collectors. If this is all about preserving history, then it's incumbent on the collector who chooses to post photos of his collection to be honest and forthright, and not to hide identifying information, especially for fear that some distant relative of the item's previous own may "come calling." In other words: let's put our money where our mouths are.

 

We live in the most "connected" period of human history, with an almost limitless array of information at our fingertips. The vast majority of people conducting research these days start with the internet, not libraries and books and it's possible someone may the hold the key to the researcher's inquiry. As a teacher, I see very few students come into my classes already knowing how to conduct research - for 95% of them, they're first impulse is to go to Google/Ask/Siri and type in their inquiry there. Let's face it, the internet does have a lot of useful data and search engines tend to do a good job of ferreting out requested data. It doesn't matter if the person is conducting casual research into Great-uncle Jim's military service or is a professional historian working on a book for the US Army 's Military History Institute. Your failure/refusal to identify a person in a photo, an item's former owner, etc... could be the difference between someone never knowing what their Great-uncle Jim looked like, their ability to contact a former unit member of Great-uncle Jim to find out how he died; how men of the 1069th Special Laundry Detachment experienced the war, etc...

 

Along the same vein, I agree with the statement that when items/information are provided to family/relatives, a Thank You note is expected and appreciated, but you can't force good manners on someone. Ultimately, the best you can do is to rest easy knowing you've done your good turn for the day. I think it was Robert E. Lee who said, "there is a true glory and a true honor - the glory of duty done, and the honor of integrity and principle."

 

My .02



#254 cutiger83

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 04:42 AM

I just had my first encounter with this kind of situation.

 

However...and although I may be being picky and old-fashioned here...a SINGLE THANK YOU or a REPLY from the family stating that I/we received the image would have been very nice from their end.

 

 

 

Don't base your opinion on one family. Think about how many times forum members have been helped with never a simple "thank you" reply. If we based our opinion about the forum on these members, then no one would help anyone on here either. Unfortunately, this is how many people react these days.

 

...Kat
 



#255 439th Signal Battalion

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 05:02 AM

 

Don't base your opinion on one family. Think about how many times forum members have been helped with never a simple "thank you" reply. If we based our opinion about the forum on these members, then no one would help anyone on here either. Unfortunately, this is how many people react these days.

 

...Kat

 

Kat,

 

I will respectfully disagree.  You have your opinion and I have mine.  Thank you.

 

Robby



#256 Dave

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 06:11 AM

I've mentioned my latest encounter with a family (I tracked them down) in this thread: http://www.usmilitar...ater-korea-kia/

 

A small follow up that's applicable to this current thread...I received a letter from them and I assumed it was the check for the group. I sold the group at a slight loss, but it wasn't a big deal for me...I wanted them to have it back. Anyway, I went to deposit the check last week and looked at it for the first time...it was for 20% more than I had asked them for! I quickly shot them an e-mail, explaining that they overpaid me and offering to return their money...but they wouldn't hear of it. Wow.

 

This is the third time I've returned an item to a family member and they've paid me a significant amount above what I needed from the group, just as a thank-you for returning it. No, I'm not planning on making a profit off of the random items that go back to families, but it's most definitely a refreshing change from the others I've dealt with who can't fathom the value residing in some of the items I have...and take no interest in paying what I need to get from the item.

 

Dave



#257 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 07:21 AM

I called a local family once concerning a Bronze Star I found at a flea market. I then discovered it had actually been stolen from a storage unit and they had a police report.  I met the son and gave him back the medal. He proceeded to send me a check for more than I paid for it. He legally wasnt bound  to pay me at all, since it was stolen. I was pleasently surprised and he told me it was for being honest.

 

Kurt



#258 LegGrunt71

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 07:23 PM

I called a local family once concerning a Bronze Star I found at a flea market. I then discovered it had actually been stolen from a storage unit and they had a police report.  I met the son and gave him back the medal. He proceeded to send me a check for more than I paid for it. He legally wasnt bound  to pay me at all, since it was stolen. I was pleasently surprised and he told me it was for being honest.

 

Kurt

 

That's pretty awesome.



#259 tigerfan

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 04:21 AM

I have had instances over many years where I was contacted by the family.  These are a few.

 

Five or six years back I acquired an officially named/engraved air medal in the titled case with the white shipping box.  It came with four or five (can't remember) original GO's for multiple air medals.  Quick research showed this airman was shot down and a POW for the rest of the war.   The medal and GO's were found by a friend of mine from a picker in Florida.   I decided to list the medal on ebay and in no time had several bids, questions, etc..  About the 3rd day of the listing I receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the son of the airman and wondered how/where I got the medal.  Not knowing if this was a legitimate situation I asked him to call me.  When he called it didn't take long to realize that this fellow was in fact the son of the airman.  He was very confused about me having the medal as he said they had all of the fathers medals, pins, etc.  in a large frame.  It was also strange to him because they had original copies of the GO's the same as I had.  I explained how GO's often came in multiples and since the air medal they had was not named the one I had was surely the one sent home after becoming a POW.   Long story shorter it appears that the mother/father more than likely gave someone in the family or friend copies of duplicate GO's and the "duplicate" air medal that the children of the airman never knew existed. The family now has the "complete" medal group.

 

Instance number two:  A couple years ago I found a dogtag with the next of kin address in a box lot I had for many years.  Again I posted it on ebay.  Sure enough within a few days I get one heck of a nasty e-mail from a person claiming to be the husband of the granddaughter of the vet.  He pretty much wanted to know where I "stole" it from and they wanted it back or legal action would be taken.  After a day and before I sent a return e-mail  I received a second e-mail from a lady claiming to be the daughter of the veteran.  Her e-mail was more civil and asked if she could call me.  She apologized for her son in law being a jerk and was very interested in knowing how the tag escaped the family.  After a lengthy conversation we figured out that the tag was more than likely sold by accident through an estate sale 20 years earlier from the original family homestead.  She was very nice and asked if she could buy the tag from me.  I told her I would send it to her no charge.  A while later I received a Wal Mart gift card for 15 dollars !!

 

Instance number 3:  This is one of those situations where the moons were aligned just right.  About 25-30 years ago a friend of mine found a named silver star, purple heart, bronze star at a church sale/flea market.  Included in one of the medal cases was a photo of a soldier and few loose insignia.  A lady at the church told my friend that the medals were from some sort of donation many years earlier and had been in a storage closet.  Researching medals back then was not easy, no internet, etc.. I found that the veteran had once lived about 30 miles away but had since moved.   I used to set up at a local flea market and about a month after acquiring the medals I had them for sale in a showcase.  A man with his wife happened by my stand and spotted the medals.  We talked and he told me that he received pretty much the same medals during WWII.  He said that when they moved to Jamestown NY back in the 60's they gave many things away to different charities, etc. to lighten the load as they were moving in to a smaller home.  He told me that some time had gone by and one day realized that his military medals were gone and figured they were mixed in with the things they donated.  I asked him what his name was and when he told me I knew that these were his medals.  Knowing this I thought rather than just pop them out quickly I would make it a bit more "special" moment.  Although I had each medal on top of its case I did not have the loose insignia or the photo out.  So I took out the photo and handed it to his wife and asked did she recognize this guy.  Her eyes opened wide, she smiled and handed it to her husband.  He was speechless.  I told him "you must have an identical twin with the same name as  these medals are named to him".  He lauged and cried at the same time and asked could he buy the medals from me.  I told him there was no way I would sell them to him and I took them out, put them in a bag and handed them to him.   He later wrote me a nice letter and sent a package with a nice german flag and a few other souvenirs.  I never saw him again.     So in this instance I guess the family really didn't come calling,   or did they?



#260 BEAST

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 04:56 AM

Tigerfan, Great stories! Thanks for giving these examples.

#261 DoubleEnvelopment

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 03:35 PM

Well well this just happened to me tonite. I guess I am a real collector now??

 

The grandson wrote me concerning some photos which I posted to the sailor's findagrave.com memorial which I have built and maintained for a year or more.

http://www.findagrav...1300362&df=all

 

I don't really want to sell but it's the right thing to do I am going to ask for fair market value here on USMF. I hope if I am ever in the same position, say I find my G-G-Grandfather's Civil War items, that I will be treated with the same respect.

 

Here is the grouping:

http://www.usmilitar...-haggarddd-660/

 

I will post again once this has been settled.



#262 willysmb44

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 03:57 PM

A pal of mine had a disturbing experience. He said someone was going around vendors at a militaria show in the Northeast recently, taking notes on the names on any medals he could see and anything that was named, asking each vendor where they got the stuff.



#263 LegGrunt71

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 07:06 PM

Well well this just happened to me tonite. I guess I am a real collector now??

 

The grandson wrote me concerning some photos which I posted to the sailor's findagrave.com memorial which I have built and maintained for a year or more.

http://www.findagrav...1300362&df=all

 

I don't really want to sell but it's the right thing to do I am going to ask for fair market value here on USMF. I hope if I am ever in the same position, say I find my G-G-Grandfather's Civil War items, that I will be treated with the same respect.

 

Here is the grouping:

http://www.usmilitar...-haggarddd-660/

 

I will post again once this has been settled.

 

Wow, I hope that works out in your favor. Did your verify his claims?



#264 DoubleEnvelopment

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 11:14 AM

I have offered them to the family at my cost for the grouping. They seemed happy to comply. The grandson (and by proxy his mother) I am speaking with sounds generally interested and knows details that only family members should know.  Watson was divorced and later remarried, the documents must have made it to the general public via next of kin from Watson's second marriage. All should be said and done in a week or two. I have also given them information about getting the sailors Purple Heart and other medals reissued and have urged them to make a display wall with the documents I am sending.

 

I feel very good about returning these to the family and hope that I will be treated with the same respect if I am ever on the 'otherside of the fence.'



#265 lettow

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 11:33 AM

This is a "calling the family" story.

 

I bought a WWI named Purple Heart off the forum here last year.  The seller identified it as a 32nd division soldier and I verified that he was a Wisconsin native.  He was born in a small community near my office.  After I received the medal, I dug deeper into his background and discovered that he was the grandfather of a client's ex-wife.  I contacted the client and asked if he remembered the name and he did.  I told him that I had the medal.  He contacted his ex-wife (they are still on good terms) and they paid me what I had into it.  She knew it went missing when her father died about 10 years ago suspecting that her brother had pilfered it and sold it.  They were happy to have it back.



#266 cutiger83

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 11:46 AM

It is nice to hear some good sides of this story. I am sure every situation needs to be handled as a different scenario.

 

....Kat



#267 bellasilva

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 12:45 PM

Here's my happy ending story..

A couple years back I picked up a couple of named USMC garrison caps. After posting them here I was contacted by the grandson of the original owner of one of the caps who served with Weapons Company, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division and fought at the Chosin Reservoir. While searching up his grandfather's name, my thread popped up and his grandfather said "Hey that's my old pisscutter!" After emailing back and forth, I sent the cap back to him and he sent me a picture of his grandfather wearing it. I was thrilled and so was he! He even sent me a picture of his grandfather wearing that very cap at his boot camp graduation. Enjoy

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#268 cutiger83

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 01:12 PM

Here's my happy ending story..

 

 

Awesome story....Kat



#269 LegGrunt71

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 03:12 PM

 

Awesome story....Kat

 

Yes, that was a pretty cool outcome. And "piss cutter" ... hahaha....I haven't heard that in a while!



#270 Brig

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 04:19 PM

 

Yes, that was a pretty cool outcome. And "piss cutter" ... hahaha....I haven't heard that in a while!

About a year ago, I had a female private/student ask me what that term means. I stared at her, asked 'where'd you hear that?', and then told her not to worry about what it means 



#271 MasonK

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 06:02 AM

Thought I would share another success story. I posted this a few month's ago on the forum, a USMC Officer's uniform and piss cutter (keeping with the theme above). 

 

http://www.usmilitar...-wwii-aviation/

 

The grandson of the vet contacted me on the forum. We had a very nice discussion offline, where he stated the uniform was lost due to his family having no real interest in saving it. He was actually surprised to read the info I found on his grandfather, as he was unaware of his grandfather's service during WWII. He was under the impression his grandfather served during Korea.

 

In any case, I gladly returned the uniform, and the grandson was happy to recoup my cost; he even added a little extra. 

 

Photo below of the uniform with the casket flag used at his grandfather's funeral. 

 

php4vHvL7AM.jpg

 

 



#272 Blu1989

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 09:00 AM

I am on both sides of the fence on this issue. Most of my US collection are named pieces and if a family member can prove they're related to the individual whose item I have I will at least offer it back to them for what I paid for it. I would never give something away for free to someone and I would expect to be treated the same. I also have been the "family calling" but only on items related to my dad. I found his helmet after a combined search by my dad and me that spanned forty years and the owner was more than gracious when we came to a deal. There are other items of my dads I would love to have back (his fatigues, his service uniform, even his captured sks rifle) and if I ever found them in the hands of another collector I would try and offer full retail just because they were my dad's and they were given away without him knowing.

#273 willysmb44

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 11:53 AM

I won't name names as I think this person might be on this forum, but a well-known museum has been pestering a collector I know, for items from a family member for a related display that is connected to said family member. It's gotten pretty ugly from what I've heard.

Sorry, can't go into any better detail than that, so don't ask.



#274 cutiger83

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:03 PM

I won't name names as I think this person might be on this forum, but a well-known museum has been pestering a collector I know, for items from a family member for a related display that is connected to said family member. It's gotten pretty ugly from what I've heard.

Sorry, can't go into any better detail than that, so don't ask.

 

All you have described is basically a "he said/he said" scenario. If you can't give any detail, why bother posting anything?



#275 Bugme

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:24 PM

 

All you have described is basically a "he said/he said" scenario. If you can't give any detail, why bother posting anything?


So, what is wrong with sharing a scenario which has no names? It is still relevant to the discussion and the poster is trying to protect another member.




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