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Longhorn92

M1942 jump suit--question on supply/demand and prices

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I've been told that Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers are what drove up the prices of jump jackets and sets.

 

How true is that, as opposed to just a normal price increase due to time, veterans passing away, the advent of the internet and eBay etc.?

 

So, I'll ask the experienced collectors here, how much would a good set go for in the early to late nineties?

 

How collectible were they before the movies came out?

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 


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Primary interests:

The United States Army in WWII

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WANTED:

WWII:

551st PIB pocket and shoulder patches

504th PIR real deal pocket patch 

Vietnam:

LDNN (RVN Navy SEAL) pocket patches

 

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I have been collecting AB for a while, not as long as some, but certainly pre-SPR if you will. It was quite funny, at the Show of Shows the year SPR came out, the actual movie prop jackets were being sold from ATF for $250, but there were still several REAL ONES to be found at the show for around $200. But then wham! the AB spike hit. The $5 101st patches instantly became $100 patches, and everyone wanted a jump jacket, folding carbine, jump boots and para helmets. Sets were hard to find even then too, people didn't care as much about pants. There had been only a few refernce books out, Americas Finest, comes to mind but then Geronimo and a host of other too.

 

It was even worse once BoB came out, but the spike was already there. But I think BoB helped bring more peopleint the WWII hobby in general too. More reenactors have popped up. SS and Airborne make up 60% of them it seems.

Time and veteran atrition do play into it, but I have gotten several great A/B groupings because of veterans passing and families not caring about the stuff that their dad would not sell while he was alive.


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I think that movies like "Saving Private Ryan", and "Band of Brothers" gave Airborne (and Ranger) items a boost in value, and certainly spurred interest in World War II history in general. The overall increase in value, however, I think is due to the time tested determinants of value: scarcity & demand. Good airborne items have always been scarce, so the rise in value of those items would have been forthcoming with, or without the movies. There are other areas of the militaria collecting field that also command high prices, and these are unrelated to airborne and the movies that were made about them.

 

In summary, I think the movies provided a temporary boost in airborne items, but the rise in price was an eventuality that was more determined by supply and demand than it was by a movie or miniseries.

 

In other words, jump jackets and M2's don't grow on trees!


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I've specialized in collecting WWII airborne items for over thirty years now and can say that I have never known airborne jump jackets or trousers to be cheap. Sure, they cost a lot less than they do now, but in 1983, a set of jacket and trousers would usually run $500. Jackets with belts were usually priced around $250 and trousers would bring more- I recall that they normally brought $300 and up on Manion's auction and the like. Jump boots would run from $50 to $100.

 

Shortly after SPR, I sold a minty suit for the whopping price of $1,600, but this was a darned near mint set where the color of the jacket and the trousers matched exactly. I didn't really want to sell the set too badly, but I had a nicer set and that was a huge amount of money.

 

After Band of Brothers came out, the prices REALLY went through the roof. Things have actually leveled off a bit, but as Patriot alluded to- the suits don't grow on trees.

 

As for tanker jackets, they have always been a desirable item to pick up, and I am sure that Fury will boost interest in the armor related collectibles, but I doubt that you are going to see the craziness that SPR and BOB caused. Remember what everyone said about Marine Corps items when "The Pacific" was coming out?

 

Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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I purchased my one and only jump jacket in 1986 for $150 which I still own. It is a 17th airborne jacket that is a small size, is somewhat faded and worn and is missing the belt. I'm sure glad now that I bought it then. When you think about it, there were only five airborne divisions, the 11th, 13th, 17th, 82nd & 101st and within these divisions there were a limited number of paratroopers who would have been issued the jump jacket and trousers. No doubt many of these were worn out in combat or not cared for post war. Also, by the time of Operation Market Garden the 42 jump suit was replaced by the M43 filed jacket and pants. So when you consider how few troops were issued them, how short a time they were issued, the number of uniforms did not survive the war, and of course the accomplishments of the men who wore them, it is no wonder they have gone up in value.

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I purchased my named (with provenance) reinforced set in 2006 for $10K. That was a steal even then.

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I can remember seeing unpatched jackets in the late 80s for around $250-300. Jackets were by no means common and I never saw a pair of trousers at that time.


Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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From a British collector's perspective, original jumpsuits (pre SPR / BoB) were never cheap...probably right up there with SS gear price-wise back in the 80s/90s. If guys wanted to re-enact US airborne (and many did, even back then!) it was original or nothing. So, jackets and pants which fit had to be found...usually separately...and at a cost. I've personally witnessed original jump-pants splitting from crotch to knee, a jump-jacket busting its zipper and a pair of WW2 Corcorans splitting their soles cross-wise, when worn by reenacters! :o

 

I clearly recall the appearance of the first repro jump-suits and the stir they caused...then came the post SPR/BoB "craze" when surplus movie props became available in the UK...not surprising as both productions were largely filmed here ( I have an original movie-used BoB jumpsuit) Now, every man and his dog wants to be a "Dick Winters". I suppose if you asked manufacturers like ATF and WW2Imp what their biggest sellers are, jump-suits would probably be up there near the top. To be fair, the quality has improved greatly over the years...I've even seen well-detailed jumpsuits made for 6-7 year olds...I kid you not! In fact, when I was over in Normandy for the 70th anniversary recently, it seemed that the whole world was wearing '42 jumpsuits...I even saw whole families...mum, dad and the two kids... all in matching jumpsuits! The fascination with US airborne shows no sign of abating. You can enter Michel de Trez's shop at Deadman's Corner near Carentan with an empty shopping basket and emerge at the other end as a fully kitted-out paratrooper...seriously!!


"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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In other words, jump jackets and M2's don't grow on trees!

 

The irony sadly is that since the growing popularity of these kind of items, partly because of the previously noted movies, they do grow on trees. I think there are considerably more 'original' jump jackets and paratrooper helmets than 20 years ago.

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Lt Kelly-

 

I am still waiting to see a reproduction jump jacket or pair of trousers that are so good that they would fool an experienced collector. The current ones are close, but they aren't perfect.

 

Back in the late 70's and early 80's, there were two entities that manufactured reproduction jump suits. One company was called "Chattahoochee" and the other was a lady in Ohio named Phyllis Rose. Chattahoochee uniforms looked like WWII jump outfits, but the material was not the same as the originals and they could quickly be identified. The uniforms made by Phyllis Rose were works of art. As I understood it, Phyllis Rose was a Home Economics teacher at a high school and her classes manufactured the uniforms as a method for raising funds for things like prom. Her students made patterns off of original uniforms and then manufactured the uniforms to size. Her earlier projects had nice heavy talon zippers and everything. Over time, she lost sources for some of the harder to find items and then began making the uniforms with newly made zippers for the front and knife pockets. The big differences between her work and the originals was that you could remove her belt from the jacket without cutting it off and you could unbutton a tab to take the brass buckle off of the belt as well. She also liked to sew khaki cotton twill elbow patches on the sleeves and a stenciled name tape (stenciled on tan twill also) onto the chest. These uniforms were so good that the 82nd Airborne Division Color Guard wore her uniforms for parades and other events.

 

If you really wanted to see a work of art, her paratrooper trousers were just that. Unfortunately, she opted for the fast and cheap method on the trousers after a time and simply sewed pockets on a pair of JC Penney khaki trousers. They looked OK from a distance, but wouldn't fool anybody up close.

 

You could buy a Chattahoochee jump suit for around $75. As I recall, the Phyllis Rose suit was double that.

 

Thought it might be interesting to someone out there.

 

Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Replica jump-suits are not a new phenomenon. I recall a thread which appeared on the forum some years ago which featured an "Is it? Isn't it?" '42 jumpsuit. Turned out it was a replica made for the movie "Objective Burma" which starred Errol Flynn and which appeared in 1945. This is surprising really because you'd think that given the date genuine "surplus" jump-suits would have been available!

 

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"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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I appreciate all the replies and insight. So, while I didn't mean to imply that the jump suits had been historically inexpensive and "grow on trees," I do now believe that the movies had some impact on the prices as I'd been told by a few people.

 

Thanks again for sharing info.


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donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Member:

ASMIC

OVMS

Primary interests:

The United States Army in WWII

The United States Army in Vietnam
 

WANTED:

WWII:

551st PIB pocket and shoulder patches

504th PIR real deal pocket patch 

Vietnam:

LDNN (RVN Navy SEAL) pocket patches

 

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The movies can be a catalyst for trends in all sorts of ways...not just military. However, as Owen says in a earlier post, the next "big" thing could be tanker jackets after Fury is released. They've always been a desirable item...and expensive too! Fortunately, there are some decent replicas out there which make great leisure jackets as well as reenactment wear. I'll bet the manufacturers will be cranking up production as Fury's release date approaches with a view to making a killing in its aftermath! :D

 

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"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Out of curiosity, what does the group consider a fair market value for an unmodified jacket and trousers set?


I will pay top dollar for original WWII items pertaining to:

 

OSS

OSS Maritime Unit

NCDU

UDT

Scouts and Raiders

FSSF

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Posted Image

 

 

Here's a manufacturer already cutting an order for a Japanese retailer.

 

This tanker jacket trend is gonna be big

 

If only they get the patterns right....

And from what I have seen no one has done this yet

 

 

Owen


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FWIW I bought my stone mint jump jacket and QM sealed trousers for around 850 back in 1994...

 

At the 1996 Portland MVPA convention i bought a worn set with Corcoran Jump boots for around 750 from Michael Peeler (the bazooka maker)...

 

Also in 1996 I picked up an ID'd 508 reinforced jacket and reinforced trousers for around 1500

 

And finally in the mid 90s I found an ID'd 501 reinforced jacket for around 500 at the Beltring War&Peace Show


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I bought a stone mint jacket with QM tags still stappled for $150 and near mint trousers for $300, paid in French Francs in the 80s.

Trousers have always been much harder to find in France.


"One law for them, another one for us !"

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I was surprised by this set in 1984. Dad had been offered $175 for them by a fellow boozer at his local watering hole. I was a struggling young family man with a set of twins to raise. Dad said he could get me the cash, or did i want them. Wow, did i choose right !

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