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


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#26 earlymb

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:06 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.


If the family can't prove (within reason of course) this jacket was stolen, I would keep it. It will be kept save for further generations anyway, and with these unsubstantiated claims there's always the risk the jacket would be on eBay a week later. Selling or not is up to you, the family has no legal right to the jacket, but if they have a moral right is up to you to decide.

Greetz ;)

David

#27 giconceptsjw

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:28 AM

Interesting subject. Itís already been pointed out that nothing on this forum is private. Look at the hit counters on some of these threads, 2,000, 3,000 4,000 people reading a single thread. Iíd guess only about one third or less are actual forum members. Everyone else is just a looky-loo surfing the net. Thatís why I cringe every time I see someone posting too much information. I know itís fun & exciting when you get something new. However, there are lots of posts here that spell out every detail and Iím not sure thatís wise. Occasionally someone writes; ďHey, I just got this great uniform that belonged to Sgt. Joe Smith, serial number 12345678 who was from Podunk USA. I paid $3,000 for it but I think its worth a lot more.Ē Try to imagine what that looks like to a stranger surfing the internet who is hard up for quick cash. The most common Google search item is a personís own name. If someone by chance finds their last name associated with something of value, all they have to do is claim rightful ownership and ask for it to be returned. Then of course they put it on e-bay and they have beer and rent money for a month. In the current bad economy crooks have become more prevalent and desperate so we all have to protect ourselves.

When I was writing my books on the US Navy in WWII, I intentionally left out names & service numbers from the text & photos for this reason. The only exceptions were related to people I personally knew & trusted. As my dad used to say, always play your cards close to your vest. In other words donít broadcast to the whole world everything youíve got. Thatís how you make yourself a target.

JW

#28 Bugme

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:50 AM

Simple answer: A Police Report showing the item as reported stolen. If there is no report, then in the eye's of the law, there was no crime. If the family member really wants it back and you decide to sell it back, then that's your prerogative but, you are not required to do anything else. If a family member sold it without the other families approval then, it's a family problem and again there was no crime on your part.

#29 Jack's Son

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:18 AM

When I started this thread, it was with this sort of situation in mind.
The "What if's"... will happen, and we all need input and guidance.

My personal stand has strengthened as I have read other collectors dilemmas.
Today, I will only feel obligation if there is a police report. As far as tears,
let me count the ways...$20... $40...$60...etc.
If I am touched, and decide to "return" (SELL) the item, it will be at a
much higher price then the item's worth. If I'm going to see it on eBay,
I want the last laugh.
And, if the "poor relative" really wants it...money won't matter!!

Now, having said all of this, special circumstances will always arise.
Buy, in general, this is my stand.

#30 gtpcamaroz

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 05:33 AM

Hello, I have a flipside to this and was curious if anyone has some suggestions as I came across this situation personally before. What happens if another collector comes calling? Case in point, there was a decent size grouping at one point that got broken up and two different collectors each have a stake in it. The one collector has the better part of the grouping that he recently came across and purchased, the other collector found out about it (gotta love the internet), and wants that portion of it as well since he had his share of the grouping longer.

#31 Bugme

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:34 AM

The one collector has the better part of the grouping that he recently came across and purchased, the other collector found out about it (gotta love the internet), and wants that portion of it as well since he had his share of the grouping longer.

So,if the collector with the older portion wants to get the portion that the other collector recently purchased, all he has to do is make a big enough offer to the new owner to entice him to sell it to him. If the new owner decides to sell, then everyone is happy. If he chooses to keep his newly acquired portion, then... so sad, too bad!

Where do these possessive type guys like this come from anyway? :ermm:

#32 doyler

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:57 AM

Hello, I have a flipside to this and was curious if anyone has some suggestions as I came across this situation personally before. What happens if another collector comes calling? Case in point, there was a decent size grouping at one point that got broken up and two different collectors each have a stake in it. The one collector has the better part of the grouping that he recently came across and purchased, the other collector found out about it (gotta love the internet), and wants that portion of it as well since he had his share of the grouping longer.


The other collector is not obligated to do anything.Unless as Scott stated he(the guy who wants it)makes a offer the owner cant refuse.

I have been involved in a couple scenarios lately,one here on the forum.The item was for sale here I spoke for it and was preparring to pay for it.Recieved an email about said item being and anothe menber had the other named medal and the seller was asking if I would be intrested in re-unitinng the two medals.There was no large group and I have done bussiness with the member who had the other medal.Sure I could have bought it,then tacked on a profit but thats not how I like to roll.I stepped bown as there is always more fish in the pond.In the end the items were together but it was a choice I made and I can live with it.

THe other side of the story is you have collectors out there that seem to think they are entitled to the whole group just because they have a portion of it.Or missed it when it was for sale at the auction,show etc.I have litterally been harrassed at times by these types.

RON

#33 Jack's Son

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:10 AM

Hello, I have a flipside to this and was curious if anyone has some suggestions as I came across this situation personally before. What happens if another collector comes calling? Case in point, there was a decent size grouping at one point that got broken up and two different collectors each have a stake in it. The one collector has the better part of the grouping that he recently came across and purchased, the other collector found out about it (gotta love the internet), and wants that portion of it as well since he had his share of the grouping longer.

While the question you raise has merit, I do not believe it is within the "spirit" of this thread.

Here I would like to focus on the "family" and their perceptions of what is right and fair,
verses the "collecting Community's" feelings, and how to deal with the family.

I believe your question deserves it own thread, and I certainly would add my opinion
to that topic if it is presented.

#34 Brian D

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:28 AM

I contacted a member of a family trying to research a corpsmans grouping I had a year or so ago. Lets just say that the way everything turned out (messy).....I will never do that again.

On the flip side, I recently was able to return a KNOW YOUR HEARTSHIELD Bible to the daughter of an AAF POW. It is the only original item she has of his time in service. He has since passed. This was a very rewarding thing for me to do, and I know it meant a lot to her to have something from her now gone fathers time as a young warrior. In that case, I wanted to return something, and she was very kind and appreciative of the gesture. No regrets on that one at all......made me feel "warm and fuzzy"......... :ermm: I meant good! :lol:

#35 Jack's Son

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:38 AM

I contacted a member of a family trying to research a corpsmans grouping I had a year or so ago. Lets just say that the way everything turned out (messy).....I will never do that again.

On the flip side, I recently was able to return a KNOW YOUR HEARTSHIELD Bible to the daughter of an AAF POW. It is the only original item she has of his time in service. He has since passed. This was a very rewarding thing for me to do, and I know it meant a lot to her to have something from her now gone fathers time as a young warrior. In that case, I wanted to return something, and she was very kind and appreciative of the gesture. No regrets on that one at all......made me feel "warm and fuzzy"......... :ermm: I meant good! :lol:

That is the BEST possible outcome!
In fact, wasn't it YOU, who went looking for the family?

The "happy ending" all around. A nice gesture on your part.

#36 Brian D

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 04:17 AM

That is the BEST possible outcome!
In fact, wasn't it YOU, who went looking for the family?

The "happy ending" all around. A nice gesture on your part.


Yes, it was ME that went looking for the family. I was happy to do it. The daughter did offer to pay for the item/postage, but it was just a goodwill gesture that I didnt charge her anything for it. I was very pleased with the outcome, as she was! Nice to take an item that sits on a shelf collecting dust, and return it to someone as nice as this lady who will treasure it and pass it down in her family, hopefully for generations to come.

BTW R, did you receive your package yet?

Edited by Brian D, 11 June 2010 - 04:18 AM.


#37 giconceptsjw

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 07:50 AM

Maybe Iím too cynical or overly suspicious but I donít think I could trust the sincerity or the motives of anyone claiming to want a ďfamily heirloomĒ returned. I guess maybe Iím jaded because Iíve been collecting military stuff for about 40 years now. I clearly remember how people treated military items back in the 70ís. I used to ride my bike around the neighborhood and buy ďarmy stuffĒ for pennies at yard sales. I canít count how many people I saw selling their fatherís or grandfathers military items for just a few dollars or even less. The family members didnít give a hang about any sentimental value at all. Dadís uniform & medals would be laid out next to the broken toaster oven and the outgrown baby clothes for .50 cents or $1.00. The family members didnít care about it because they believed it was junk and had little or no value.

Now, all of the sudden veterans are a big deal and military items sell for ridiculously high prices on e-bay and other auctions. Now of course the relatives of veterans are searching hi & low for their family heirloom military items. Really? So these people threw away or sold their fatherís military items at a yard sale when they were in their 20ís back in 1975. Now itís worth something and they want it all back? Even if the person wanting items returned wasnít the one who personally disposed of the items, did they care about it 10 or 20 years ago? If not, why do they care now? I wonder how many people would be asking for the return of military things if none of it had any monetary value today. Probably none. Seriously, people today would not want a smelly, 65 year old wool army coat with moth holes in it if it was only worth .50 cents, even if dear old grandpa did wear it. However, people do want grandpaís old smelly coat if itís worth $600. Funny how it works like that. Iíve personally seen people get very greedy and very weird over money matters. Iíve seen whole families and lifelong friends torn apart and turn into bitter enemies over a matter of $20. I guess Iíve lost faith in peopleís intentions because Iíve seen them turn bad so many times.

I can understand if someone wanted a wartime love letter or photograph that originally belonged to a family member. Thatís something personal and would have little or no monetary value to anyone else. Iíd give something like that back to a family member if it had no personal connection to me or my family. Anything else, sorry I wouldnít return it. Even if someone had a police report, that wouldnít make any difference to me. Anyone can surf e-bay, download a picture and description from an auction and file a police report saying that same item was stolen from them. Police reports are free and anyone can file one in 20 minutes. If there is a legal problem, go after the thief, not me. If something needs to be returned as evidence, let the police ask for it. Otherwise, Iíd tell everyone else, sorry, I canít help you.

#38 Bugme

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:21 AM

....Even if someone had a police report, that wouldnít make any difference to me. Anyone can surf e-bay, download a picture and description from an auction and file a police report saying that same item was stolen from them. Police reports are free and anyone can file one in 20 minutes. If there is a legal problem, go after the thief, not me. If something needs to be returned as evidence, let the police ask for it. Otherwise, Iíd tell everyone else, sorry, I canít help you.

Great point and solid advice! :thumbsup:

#39 JBFloyd

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:34 AM

Police reports are free and anyone can file one in 20 minutes.


True enough, but a false report adds a little risk to the claimant.

#40 Jack's Son

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 09:15 AM

..............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.

marentius,
Are there any new developments with your "family Call" ??

#41 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:34 AM

I had a family member come a calling when I posted some items right here on the forum. Someone claiming to be a relative of the officer that the items had once belonged to contacted this forum claiming a grouping that I had posted on the forum had been stolen from a museum. The family member offered me $200.00 for the group that I had purchased directly from someone that I trusted who had purchased the items at an estate auction. And I live within five miles of the museum that the items were supposedly stolen from and I could not find any information on these items being stolen. I am still not sure if this person was legit or not but in the end they informed the forum that it was their mistake and these items were not the ones stolen and apologized to me. This is a link to the thread http://www.usmilitar...mp;hl=kilkowski

Edited by Manchu Warrior, 11 June 2010 - 10:50 AM.


#42 marentius

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:24 AM

marentius,
Are there any new developments with your "family Call" ??



No,nothing new to write.I am still quite doubtful about what to do.I did not contact the "relatives" but neither got contacted.
Frankly speaking,reading all the different comments and opinions I feel I am not so "enthusiast" to send back the item.
Maybe I should send it back but only if they decide to pay me what I paied for,not because I want to earn money from this situation but because I am not able to make such a big present for free...
I agree with what many people have written,when things can bring money suddendly the interest of the people fires up,thus putting in prejudice also the actions of those inspired only by "good faith" and real desire to collect what once belonged to the family,but in this case they should be prepared to pay what the market values the item .
I agree with Hawkdriver for example,if for any reason someone of the family decided to get rid of the item and I purchased it then I need to get back at least what I paied for,if not even its value at the moment of the request.For example,if I buy something for USD 10.00 at a yard sale,and I know the value (at least for me as a collectioner)is 100 time higher,when someone from the family comes asking me to sell it back,should I sell it for the same price I bought it or for the so called "real price"?It was not my choice to sell it,and if someone in the family did it without the full agreement of the other family members' then it's not my business anyway.
It's another important issue strictly tied to the one that started this thread and that could bring a lot of new discussions.
I was told by the previous owner who sold the item to me that the relatives were able to partially track down this item because they googled the name of the veteran and between the different results there were also the message in the "for sale" section of this forum....

p.s.
probably next time I would like to post something named on this or another Forum I should cover the name and make the item not recognizable,in order to avoid those disagreeable situation,or maybe I should post only camo items....

Edited by marentius, 15 June 2010 - 07:34 AM.


#43 Brian D

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 08:22 AM

Maybe Iím too cynical or overly suspicious but I donít think I could trust the sincerity or the motives of anyone claiming to want a ďfamily heirloomĒ returned. I guess maybe Iím jaded because Iíve been collecting military stuff for about 40 years now. I clearly remember how people treated military items back in the 70ís. I used to ride my bike around the neighborhood and buy ďarmy stuffĒ for pennies at yard sales. I canít count how many people I saw selling their fatherís or grandfathers military items for just a few dollars or even less. The family members didnít give a hang about any sentimental value at all. Dadís uniform & medals would be laid out next to the broken toaster oven and the outgrown baby clothes for .50 cents or $1.00. The family members didnít care about it because they believed it was junk and had little or no value.

Now, all of the sudden veterans are a big deal and military items sell for ridiculously high prices on e-bay and other auctions. Now of course the relatives of veterans are searching hi & low for their family heirloom military items. Really? So these people threw away or sold their fatherís military items at a yard sale when they were in their 20ís back in 1975. Now itís worth something and they want it all back? Even if the person wanting items returned wasnít the one who personally disposed of the items, did they care about it 10 or 20 years ago? If not, why do they care now? I wonder how many people would be asking for the return of military things if none of it had any monetary value today. Probably none. Seriously, people today would not want a smelly, 65 year old wool army coat with moth holes in it if it was only worth .50 cents, even if dear old grandpa did wear it. However, people do want grandpaís old smelly coat if itís worth $600. Funny how it works like that. Iíve personally seen people get very greedy and very weird over money matters. Iíve seen whole families and lifelong friends torn apart and turn into bitter enemies over a matter of $20. I guess Iíve lost faith in peopleís intentions because Iíve seen them turn bad so many times.

I can understand if someone wanted a wartime love letter or photograph that originally belonged to a family member. Thatís something personal and would have little or no monetary value to anyone else. Iíd give something like that back to a family member if it had no personal connection to me or my family. Anything else, sorry I wouldnít return it. Even if someone had a police report, that wouldnít make any difference to me. Anyone can surf e-bay, download a picture and description from an auction and file a police report saying that same item was stolen from them. Police reports are free and anyone can file one in 20 minutes. If there is a legal problem, go after the thief, not me. If something needs to be returned as evidence, let the police ask for it. Otherwise, Iíd tell everyone else, sorry, I canít help you.


Maybe you have a point, and EVERYONE has opinions, but let me spin this just a bit in my Bible return situation. I posted, like Jack's Son said, here looking to possibly return the Bible that I bought on Ebay. It had a return address from my hometown and was hoping, on a long shot, that the vet may still be alive and I would have the joy of returning something that was possibly lost (or sold?) from his posession. A year later, this mans daughter contacts me. Through the help of Forum Support, I was able to verify through a few key details that this was indeed his daughter. So, how did the Bible come into the realm of the general public collecting you ask, and have pointed out, if she cared so much for his service?

It seems that this Bible was never in her posession, nor her families. Through a long story that I will not go into in detail on to respect their privacy, suffice it so say that this gentleman when he returned from Europe came home to find the home situation not one that he expected. He moved on and eventually remarried, leaving his life of the 40's behind him and starting over. So this woman, his daughter, didnt have anything from her dads time in service and had no idea what happened to any of his items.
Long story to illustrate the fact that not everyone out there is a synical, greedy, manipulative person just wanting dad's or grandpa's stuff because it has monetary value. Afterall, a WWII Bible can be had for $20 or less most of the time. Sometimes, doing a thing like returning an item to the family makes that $20 item priceless.

So I understand the cynisism from lots here, as I have dealt with the "other side" of this situation as well, but there are still good people and stories out there on an item like this. I guess my point is that not every family member contact has $$$ behind it......just my 2 cents worth. :rolleyes:

#44 Desertrat

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 03:40 AM

I have never had a family member "come calling" but with the help of fellow Forum members, I was able to return a Navy GCM to the family. The son was born days after his father was shot down. He was eternally grateful and we still "talk" (email) often. He has some of his Father's medals and has know idea how the GCM was separated fron the others.

I agree with other posts here, without proof of family ties, I would not feelbad about keeping anything. With proof, I would gladly give up the item. I guess I want to believe in the honesty of my fellow humans.

My 2 cents, for what it's worth.

#45 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 04:55 AM

I'm on the other side of this. My brother stole and hocked all my grandfathers stuff. He claimed someone broke into his house and stole all my Grandfathers stuff. Ya right. If I could ever find some of his stuff I would come a calling to see if I could buy it. But nothing was named so I know that won't happen. Robert

#46 TLHSS

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 06:30 AM

Interesting topic ... pretty easy answer for me ...

If someone comes calling that can show me they are a family member, understand something about their relative's service, seem truly interested in the history behind the item, and appreciate that someone took care of it for the time it was in my collection .... then I "return" it. Never for a profit, since I know what I paid.

Possiblity of getting fooled and burned ... always. Could it end up on Ebay later that week .... again, very possible. In the end, I didn't earn the award, and I didn't wear the item in service. I don't collect for investment purposes; I do it because I enjoy the history around the stuff.

And most importantly, I refuse to let a few dishonest people impact my moral compass.

Tim

#47 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:06 AM

And most importantly, I refuse to let a few dishonest people impact my moral compass.

Tim


Amen Tim, AMEN! :thumbsup:

#48 shrapneldude

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 08:00 PM

Interesting topic ... pretty easy answer for me ...

If someone comes calling that can show me they are a family member, understand something about their relative's service, seem truly interested in the history behind the item, and appreciate that someone took care of it for the time it was in my collection .... then I "return" it. Never for a profit, since I know what I paid.

Possiblity of getting fooled and burned ... always. Could it end up on Ebay later that week .... again, very possible. In the end, I didn't earn the award, and I didn't wear the item in service. I don't collect for investment purposes; I do it because I enjoy the history around the stuff.

And most importantly, I refuse to let a few dishonest people impact my moral compass.

Tim


Definitely a good attitude to have on these types of situations.

If it feels right to give / sell at cost an item back to the family when they present a true and genuine interest, do it. :thumbsup:

#49 memphismeister

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 05:47 PM

I have been on the other side of the fence. I grew up not having a single thing belonging to my father who was killed in vietnam. It wasnt till i reached my 40s that i really started to find out who he was and what he did (although I did hold a space in my heart for him). Luckly some family members kept 3 totes of his stuff to give me when they finally found me. Needless o say I was quite happy. Now here is the kicker. I did not have two items from my dad. One a family ring, 2. Not one of his many guns that were stollen and sold by the famly. Now fast forward a few years. Soeone who knew my dad saw an article in the papaer about me and my grandson at a memorial day event. I got a phone clall and the next week someone returned to me a pistol that is worth well over 2500 dollars( model us navy , 4 digit sn). Then other family members saw that a ring that my dad was wearing in a picture belonged to me and not them and they gave it to me on a 4th of July.
I just wanted the simple things. A patch here, a memento there. My long search found the answer for me. it wasnt by going through collectors who had items that i would want to purchacse. I simply asked people if they had patches or a set of wings. Funny thing is that vets who know your the remaining child have a soft spot for us individuals who are missing things that mean alot, things we do not have because family members get rid of stuff. I had one pilot send me the patch off of one of his uniforms so I could have one, another sent me a pair of wings so I could take them up in a huey flight. Still others took patches I had to the Wall for me.
Yes I collect items. But would I go through a collector to fill a missing hole? No because the men whom my dad served with give to me a piece of them and for that Im thankful. Not once did I hear the phrase" pay me for it." Ive even had someone on the forum hep me get something and asked nothing in return but to see me happy that i had something that was missing.
The approach that I have taken has set a good example for my grandson whom has at a young age garnered a respect for the military because of the many kind vets who have crossed my path.

Edited by memphismeister, 20 June 2010 - 05:49 PM.


#50 Bob Hudson

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 03:50 PM

STEPMOTHERS... that's the problem!

I was contacted last month by someone who just discovered that more than two years ago his estranged stepmother sold his father's extensive WWII grouping. It ended he well as he paid fair market value to buy it from the forum member who was the current owner.

This is not just a militaria thing. This article reports on Lucille Ball's daughter and the daughter's stepmother who had put a bunch of Lucy's stuff up for auction:

LOS ANGELES Ė An auction house selling Lucille Ball memorabilia says it is returning the actress' lifetime achievement awards to her daughter.

Heritage Auction Galleries says a deal reached Saturday will return the awards to Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Ball's daughter with first husband Desi Arnaz.

A sale of dozens of other Ball-related memorabilia will happen Saturday. Items up for bid include a Rolls Royce and love letters to second husband Gary Morton.

The deal announced Saturday ends a legal fight between Luckinbill and Susie Morton, who married Gary Morton after Ball's death in 1989.


I know of a very similar incident where the estate of a Hollywood star's stepmother sold off some very unique things that were from the star's mother, who was an even bigger star. The sale was quite legal, but the new owners of these things have decided they won't market them until the daughter dies (and the way she has lived her life that won't be long).

The biggest grouping I ever sold was stuff that a vet's daughter threw into the trash because she was ticked off that her father had willed his house to the daughter's stepmother. So when the stepmother died, the daughter trashed dad's stuff, but luckily the right person saw it and dug it out.

So beware the stepmothers...

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