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srossio

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  • Location
    Old Northwest Territory
  • Interests
    Overall: United States WWI and WWII Militaria<br />Specifics: 32nd Division, 15th Army Air Force, anything cool that catches my eye<br />
  1. I have a good friend who swears by mothballs and I am highly sensitive to mothballs so anytime we trade items, etc. I have to deal with the smell before the item comes into my collection. The route that works best for me is to simply air the item(s) out before placing them in my "room." During good weather I will place the items outside (direct sunlight works really well). During inclement weather I use the basement. If it is something with folds such as a garment, I will open the item up as best as I can. What I have found is that using the outside, the item will usually be fairly free of the smell within two days (usually 8 hours a day). Using the basement usually takes about three to four days. After the airing out there is usually a slight odor that lingers for several days but it is hardly noticeable. After years of experimenting, I have found that this is the most reliable solution. To add to this... my friend REALLY USES MOTHBALLS! One more point - please, do NOT use mothballs. They are chemical based and not only can damage your items, they can cause health issues with prolonged exposure. Remember, mothballs were intended to be placed into an enclosed chest, etc. where they were left undisturbed with little exposure to the user. I see many collectors today using them in their "war-room" where they are exposed to them on a daily basis often for hours at a time. Just my 2 cents... Steve
  2. srossio

    Rain jacket

    I also agree with the "leaving it alone" mantra. One thing I would highly recommend is to store it flat. Storing it folded can result in damaging creases especially if it does begin to stiffen. One friend of mine had a beautiful "supple" raincoat that he purchased and put away. He pulled it out for a display several months later and it had stiffened to the point that it couldn't be unfolded.
  3. The most important thing with uniform maintenance is monitoring the items, which it sounds like you do. This is why it is important to not collect beyond your ability to care for the items. Some of the horror stories I have heard over the years are because the individual just had to much and therefore their ability to properly care for the items simply was not there. What I do with my uniforms are the following: I have them on wide hangers to support the shoulders (narrow hangers can cause problems down the road) - don't panic...simply replace narrow hangers with wider hangers as you find them. (Some museums I have worked with only lay their clothing flat. This prevents stress on the fibers but...the space needed is truly spectacular and unavailable to most of us...other museums will hang, due to space constraints, using the wide padded hangers.) I have the hangers wrapped in unbleached muslin to create a cushion for the shoulders. Unbleached muslin can be found at any fabric store and is cheap! I visit my storage closet weekly to keep the air moving. This also prevents any thing like mice, etc. taking up residence as they don't like the movement. I will turn on the light, shift uniforms around, vacuum the carpet, etc. I will pull all uniforms out of the closet twice a year and hang them outside on the clothes-line in the sunlight (I don't take them off the hangers). This allows me to inspect them in natural light and limited sunlight helps with the dust, etc. (before I put them back I always check inside the coats, inside the pants, etc. just to be sure nothing is going on.) I am sure others will have more advice but the main thing that I stress and has been stressed to me by various museums is to monitor your collection! Hope this helps. Steve
  4. This is an interesting post. What I have seen is that these theater organizations (or charity organizations) are the last resort. Many families have no knowledge of the "collecting" world and just don't want to throw the items away making these places the logical choice. In my neck of the woods, the main museum and the local "military museum" have begun a zero acquisition policy in regards to uniforms unless they deem them to be "super rare." The acquisition staff has been directed to tell donors that they are not taking uniforms due to their lack of significance and that the donor should look at giving them to either the local college or community theater or to Goodwill. I find this to be understandable regarding a uniform that is nothing more than a blank IKE jacket with zero history (for example...we found it in the closet and think it belonged to an Uncle). However, it always amazes me that the people who are in the position of making these particular decisions have little or no knowledge of military memorabilia. Even the local military museum have acquisition people who don't know the difference between a Marine Corps dress uniform and a Army Class A uniform. I have personally seen items that have been turned down and they were quite significant. Let me finish this post by stating that this information is not coming to me third hand. I have had direct involvement in these situations but unfortunately do not have the power to change them. I should also add that the various museums will NOT direct individuals to private collectors period - per policy! On that note...I am someone that used to be timid when it came to asking to acquire items from the family but that has changed. I have been involved in to many instances where the family is amazed I would be interested in their relatives items. They are even more shocked when I offer to pay for them and often times dig more things out of the woodwork to complete their veterans story!
  5. I am so looking forward to this and the weather actually looks decent. I live up in Michigan and can't tell you the number of "white knuckle" drives I have had heading to and from the show!
  6. Glad I found this thread and what a fantastic grouping! I work within the museum and archival field and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to museum's collections/retention/disposal policies. Recently two substantial museums in my area have decided to not accept any military items into their collection unless the items are extremely rare. I have no problem with this policy as I fully understand the lack of storage and display space that many institutions suffer from. However...I learned from their various collections teams that any donor with unwanted militaria is being directed to donate their items to Good Will. I inquired as to why and their Registrars informed me that it was the easiest solution. Both stated that most museums are not taking militaria so they have no where to direct the donors and that both museums do not want to be involved with "collectors." Along this same line...I was approached by a woman who wanted to divest herself of her Dad's military items from WWII. I went and looked at them and during the 2 hour process she informed me that she had since decided that she wanted to donate everything to the historical society from the town he was from. I was a bit put out but understood. I was there when she met with the Registrar from the historical society and boy they wanted everything and they wanted it now. They had no idea what most of the items were so I helped identify things, etc. The Registrar stated they would pick up the items (two footlockers sitting in the den) by the end of the week. Alas, I received a call from the woman this week and the footlockers are still sitting there some ten months and several calls later. She is rather confused and saddened by the situation.
  7. I'm almost 100 percent positive that it is Holland, Michigan. It was fairly common to use the Mich abbreviation during this time period. Unfortunately I can't comment on the authenticity of the coat but I have had items that I worried about only to find out they were fine. I tried looking up R.F. Calvin using a few data bases but nothing popped...yet (I love these types of mysteries)! Steve
  8. Thanks everyone, The seller is throwing in the plastic for free...such a good deal! On a side, when he brought it to show me it was raining pretty hard so he put the bag over it. The bag got wet and he didn't want to take it off and risk getting the coat wet (kinda of a funny concept for a military field jacket) so I did what I could. On a side note, I had seen the jacket last year when he acquired it. He has since decided to begin moving to a different hobby, hence the avilablity of the coat.
  9. I don't know why it is posting the one pic twice. These aren't the best but I wanted to hit three key areas. They are pretty obvious but just in case the first pic is the pocket tag (right front), the second (and fourth for some reason) is the size tag in the collar and the third is the zipper. Thanks, Steve
  10. Thanks for the advice I have taken a few pics of the zipper and tags and should have them up later tonight
  11. Ok Ladies and Gentlemen...I am hoping that you can help me. I have been looking for a clean example of a M41 Field Jacket to add to my collection for several years and I always seem to be a day late and a dollar short! Recently an example came my way that had me excited at first but is now causing me to pause. The example is what I would consider unissued and that is my cause of concern. Now, before coming before you learned individuals I have tried to do my due diligence by looking through my reference books, looking at original examples (in friends collections and on line) and the like but I am still not convinced either way. I have seen the jacket in person but do not have any accessible images at this moment. The three things I can tell you are as follows: The size tag is in the neck, it is a white square and it is stamped in black ink with a large: "36 L." It is sewn on all four sides. The pocket tag is in the right pocket and is stitched in sideways. It is that woven material and is white with black printing. What I can read (some is obscured by the stitching) is: 36L Butwin Sportswear Co. nt. 669-qm-15208 ed Jan. 24, 1942 .Q.D. No. 20A ted May 6, 1941 ock No. 55-J-225 Phila. Q.M. Depot 123 (is stamped under the Phila. Q.M. Depot and is of a different black ink and is a lighter shade) long black line Inspector (under inspector is a hand written set of initials) The zipper is a Talon. The pull is rectangular steel with Talon stamped on both sides. The zipper base is steel with a rounded rectangular area on which Talon has been stamped. The base of the zipper where the two halves come together is steel and features a Art Deco motif with Talon printed on it. According to a website on Talon Zippers all three components were listed as mid to late 1930's. So my question is, from what I have provided, does this sound original or am I dealing with a quality repo. Once again in doing my due diligence I looked at repos and I tried searching for the company Butwin Sportswear. No repos matched this jacket however the only thing I could find on Butwin was a reference to it being in St. Paul, Minnesota. I will be able to obtain pics tomorrow but I thought I would toss this out and see what you all think. Thanks for your time and expertise, Steve
  12. This is just a bit of friendly advice...As part of my job, I am currently working on preserving a photo album/scrapbook put together in the 1960's for a World War I Victoria Cross winner. It is one of those adhesive albums with the clear top pages that were typical in the 1960's/1970's and even into the 80's and 90's. I am slowly removing everything from the album due to the damage being inflicted on the historic items by the old glue slowly leaching through the paper and photographs. Fortunately I have been able to remove all the items so far without much damage although several pieces have suffered where their back side connected to the "glue" page. I bring this up not to talk about the album but to remind everyone that if you have something like this in your collection...and I am sure many of you do...you should strongly think about removing the items as soon as possible. The longer the items sit in the album, the more they bond to the pages. One thing I have learned with these albums is that is not a matter of if problems will arise but when! Here are a few tips I use when removing the items...others please feel free to chime in with advice, warnings, etc. 1) For continuity, photograph each page before removing the items. (Any album I work with at my job eventually gets reassembled into an archival safe album.) 2) Use a very thin, metal archival tool to carefully work in behind stubborn items. The tool needs to be super thin and flat. For example, a paperclip is to thick! (I acquired my tools through Gaylord Brothers Archival Supply and they come in extremely handy!) 3) For especially stubborn items I use a blow-dryer on low heat to gradually loosen the glue. I have had the most success directing the heat on the back of the page. 4) BE PAITENT. This is not something to hurry through especially if the items are not wanting to let go. I cannot stress this enough!!! 5) BE ORGANIZED. I remove the items and then note on the reverse side in pencil (lightly written) page number and position on the page. The items then are placed into envelopes corresponding with their page number. If a item is "sticky" it goes into a Mylar sleeve. That is just a few of mine and I look forward to hearing others advice on this.
  13. UPDATE I have had several conversations with the Grand Daughter over the past months and this week she gave me the nod that she would like me to have the items. She seems to appreciate what I do (and after telling her about this forum - what all of you do as well). Give me a bit and I will post pics of some of the other items in the group. I can't remember if I stated this earlier but she also gave me a few hundred images of her father who was a mechanic with the 15th Air Force. There are some great shots of bombers being worked on, nose-art, etc. I also received his dog-tags among a few other items and more may be coming. Thanks everyone, Steve
  14. I am not an expert on the uniform, or the helmet (both of which look really, really cool and I would love to have them in my collection) however I would recommend that you figure out a way to meet in person. I love shipping items but with something of this magnitude I would rather drive 3 or 4 hours, hook up, have a great lunch together and get those items into my hands with no middleman if you will then risk something going wrong with either trade group in shipping. Just my two cents (and have fun!) Steve
  15. Have had fun reading these and reliving the experience! I have attended the show several times and unfortunately this year I could only make it on Thursday. I did bring a friend along who had never been and it was fun watching his head explode when he walked into the hall! O.K. with that said just a few minor observations: on the down side - in all my years attending I have never seen so many tables covered on Thursday. I also had numerous issues with dealers being away from their tables and then never returning. In several cases it took three trips back (or more) to connect...and in two cases they never returned. I understand people want to shop/visit, etc. but at the very least throw up a sign saying "back at _____" or call my cell at this number, etc. Finally, I was a bit disappointed on people closing shop at the 4:15/4:30 mark. There were a few dealers I wanted to re-visit but were "closed." Now on the up side. Well run as always; great selection; prices were all over from way overpriced to under priced...you just had to look; the dealers I interacted with were off the chart friendly; found some pretty cool things for my collection; and most importantly, had a great time! I should add I have already started saving for next year and would love to make it a three day affair! Steve
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