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What do you feel are the most underrated militaria areas ?


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OK I thought of this the other day and figured it might lead to some interesting discussion! I am going to leave it pretty broad, what do you feel are the most underrated militaria collectibles? It can be a whole category say uniforms or something like things that are very uncommon but still go for a low price! Basically anything you find that is underrated and why do you feel that way! Figure this might make for a nice conversation!

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Experimental helmets. Ultra rare but, also low on the collector interest scale. Saw a "one of a kind", post WWI US experimental helmet go for less than an unattributed, run of the mill, WWII A/B helmet at the SOS a couple years ago.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I think navy is often under-appreciated. Easily researched, but usually a bargain, and sometimes very interesting.

Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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I would say most Ike jackets, still. Unless it has one of a handful of SSIs on it they get passed over. Even if they are stripped, they are usually named and easily researchable. I see these at shows constantly, in the $20-$40 range.

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This is an interesting question and thread. I have found that most patch collectors pass on U.S. Coast Guard insignia. When you stop and think about it, there will be a patch run of 20 to 40 patches for a unit or crew, much rarer than Navy. I never thought of it that way until a friend of mine, that was a former Coastie, introduced me to their patches. The deployment patches always depict unique meanings to those on the deployment and always colorful in many ways. Those who collect USCG material have told me that two of the reasons why there are less collectors interested in the Coast Guard is that they aren't as "sexy" as the Navy and their advertising budget is far less so no one pays attention to them. Gregg

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Good topic. I think named USAF officer's uniforms of the 50s and 60s are underrated. I've picked them up very cheap and several times found out these guys were hot shot WW2 fighter or bomber pilots who transitioned into jets. I've got one from a navigator that went from B-17s in England to B-29s in Korea to B-47s and finally B-52s in the 60s. I find that chapter of aviation history (and the accompanying pilot's uniforms) very interesting.

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I think Korean War militaria is often underappreciated. In my opinion it seems to get overshadowed on one end by WW2, even though the items are almost as old, and by Vietnam on the other. Sadly, even in the collecting world it could be called the "forgotten war".

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Good topic, the problem persists of new collectors who end up collecting what they see everyone else collecting; rather than always collecting what matters to them. There is a lot more history out there than just WWII, so it is always great to see people preserving items from other eras and rediscovering the history associated with it. One reason we tend to see this is simply that there are limited research resources available, and that makes it harder for people to learn about a topic. Research can be hard work, but it pays off if it is something that interests you.

 

Some eras that are still underappreciated by collectors:

 

 

Korean War

1950s-1960s Cold War

1970s-1980s Cold War

1990s Peacekeeping

 

Before you dismiss the latter groups, think about the history that is there, and then think about how hard it really is to find a documented uniform or whatever from that. Not just something from the period, but one used in the some manner which tells the story. A 1950s/1960s grouping (with items from that period) to a soldier or airman in West Germany could be an interesting basis for a collection. Think outside the box! How about a uniform from one of the NG units that helped out when hurricane Andrew hit back in 1990? Every item has a story to tell if you keep yourself open to what it has to say. It's all history; find a spot and start working on that collection if it interests you. :)

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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I know this is probably not what you're looking for, but from what I have seen, militaria as a whole is one of the most undervalued collecting markets. When you look at most other types of collectibles, to get certain pieces that are considered in the top few percentages, you need to have a boatload of money. The top pieces of art, coins, baseball cards, entertainment collectibles, etc., will set you back millions. Yet, for the most part, post Civil War militaria items are extremely reasonable (relative to the other markets). For example, look at how pieces like Eisenhower's uniform, Admiral McCain's medal group, etc. all go for well under 100K. On the smaller end, significant items like the five or so original Colin Powell uniforms, uniforms from Westmoreland, etc. can still be bought for well under 10k.

 

When you look at the prices other collectibles (and even military collectibles from countries like England), it is still kind of amazing for how much less appreciated the militaria market is, relatively speaking.

Will Twomey

In Honor of:

USA General John Wickham (1928-)

USAF Colonel Bernie Fisher MOH (1927-2014)

USMC Sergeant Al De Vito (Chosin Reservoir Survivor) (1926-)

USA Cpl. Macedonio Leyba (Bataan Death March survivor) (1917-2007)

 

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Great topic. I'd offer that modern collectibles/GWOT is an underrated area of collecting. Items are inexpensive and available. More times than not the kit comes direct from the vet so there is ample opportunity to establish provenance if they are willing to share their experiences. This is the time to document many items that future collectors will be actively seeking. Imagine if there was a concerted effort by collectors to document WW II, Vietnam, etc militaria in the period of use or immediately after? Many of our questions today would be answered!! GWOT collectors are already dealing with many issues found in other eras - fakes, knock offs, etc.

Semper Fi

Jeff

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I will add Ordnance is in this category, the only difference is it is currently skyrocketing in popularity. Eg, ten years ago a correct original paint MK 2 grenade could be had for $125+, Now, $250 ++. Same with a 75mm Sherman tank round, $120 now $350 +++, one on eBay recently sold for $525...Hot now are pre 43 items, with the yellow paint, pre 43 yellow artillery shells appear to be unobtainable. Hot also are 120mm M1 tank rounds. I also saw a 42 dated yellow ink marked 81mm mortar go for $350....I attribute this rise in collectors wanting to obtain " more", they buy one, say a 57mm or 75mm then want the entire US Ordnance line, 37mm, 57mm, 75mm, 76mm, 3 inch, 105mm, 120mm, 155mm, 175mm, 5inch, 6inch, 8 inch and then like me, the 16"/50 battleship round....I still need a 175mm......why?....simple, when Patton was asked what won the war, he replied " artillery".

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Almost every time I tell a seller that I collect Quartermaster Corps items, I get the usual, "why do you heck do you collect that?" But hey, it makes my life easier that its readily available if you look hard enough, and I doubt there are many others hunting the same thing.

WANTED: I collect materials of any age related to the US Army Quartermaster Corps and from the long-defunct Commissary / Subsistence Corps. Anything goes and it doesn't have to be identified to a vet. If it's weird or unusual, please PM me! ASMIC #5650

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I've always felt that "Cold War" era items NOT related to the Korean War era (1950-1953) or Vietnam War are vastly under-rated. There is some VERY cool stuff out there from units that served in Germany and Korea and elsewhere in the 1950s and 1960s, up through the 1980s. I especially like the Army missile artillery related items, USAF Strategic Air Command stuff, etc.

 

I don't think GWOT stuff is under-appreciated, as there are lots of people interested in it. Some of it is extremely valuable as well.

 

But it's still possible to find some great Cold War era stuff for super cheap and absolutely loaded with history, from a time when the superpowers of the world were flirting with the idea of a cataclysmic nuclear war.

 

EDIT: Also wanted to mention homefront war-production or military related manufacturing items don't seem to generate a lot of interest. There is some super cool stuff in these categories as well, that often doesn't get too much attention and is very affordable.

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Axis POWs in the United States seems to have some interest but not on the level of Allies interned in Germany/Italy/Japan...

 

Canteen tickets, US marked POW uniforms, POW trench art and other art...

 

and Military Payment Certificates or MPC and NCO club tokens are a few other areas with limited visibility..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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WWI is still quite affordable and often under appreciated in many areas. Our museum currently has an exhibit called "Combat Uniforms of the Western Front". It contains about 45 mannequins from 12 different countries involved. In August we hosted folks from the National WWI Centennial Commission and they said that due to our exhibit containing mannequins dressed "head to toe" it was the most comprehensive public exhibit in the US!

Now, that said, the National WWI Museum certainly has more items, but I think this shows that in many cases there is little desire on the part of many to build a mannequin head to toe. Of course in the case of WWI, the cost of some of the boots can be a factor. Scott

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I've always felt that "Cold War" era items NOT related to the Korean War era (1950-1953) or Vietnam War are vastly under-rated. There is some VERY cool stuff out there from units that served in Germany and Korea and elsewhere in the 1950s and 1960s, up through the 1980s. I especially like the Army missile artillery related items, USAF Strategic Air Command stuff, etc.

 

I don't think GWOT stuff is under-appreciated, as there are lots of people interested in it. Some of it is extremely valuable as well.

 

But it's still possible to find some great Cold War era stuff for super cheap and absolutely loaded with history, from a time when the superpowers of the world were flirting with the idea of a cataclysmic nuclear war.

 

EDIT: Also wanted to mention homefront war-production or military related manufacturing items don't seem to generate a lot of interest. There is some super cool stuff in these categories as well, that often doesn't get too much attention and is very affordable.

+1 for me on the homefront items. Until USMF came along, I didn't know there was much out there aside from a few milk bottles, napkins and cookie tins!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

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Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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I have always felt " paper" is undervalued. Gear, Patches, Medals, ETC always get lots of attention. Decent paper militaria often goes under the radar.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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  • 6 months later...

I have always felt " paper" is undervalued. Gear, Patches, Medals, ETC always get lots of attention. Decent paper militaria often goes under the radar.

 

Kurt

 

I would tend to agree with Kurt. I have recently met a forum member who sold me a large USMC paper archive years ago- he has the medals but had sold off the paper- I digitized what I had for him -including letters/photos/certificates/menus/unit holiday cards [Christmas] - a lot of history on fragile paper....

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For me, its the units of WWII that served CONUS. I love 4th Air Force stuff and when I do get it, I find it relatively cheap.

 

I think one thing that a lot of collectors do is think about the future of their collection. I am reluctant to spend a lot of a 4th AF group because in the future I know that when I am done enjoying it or when my wife is trying to get rid of it when I am no longer around, selling some of the underrated stuff is going to be a pain in the rear end.

US Army National Guard 2008 - 2018.

US Air Force Reserve 2018 - Present.

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