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.