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USMC P1941 Utility Uniform


Greg Robinson

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Greg Robinson

I guess I'll never fully understand the "mint is everything" mindset that has made so many ebay sellers wealthy. This morning I saw a so called "mint with cutter tags" USMC P1941 "dungaree" jacket on ebay with an opening bid of $290 and it's already got one bid. It looks OK in the pics and it does have legit looking cutter tags but when the money gets that high you just know there are people out there who can produce high grade fakes. It's supposedly made at the USMC Philadelphia Depot but all that does is make the faker's job easier by eliminating the need for labels or inkstamped markings. Granted, it _might_ be legit but I'm sorry, I just do not understand the need to risk that much money on a suspect item just to have "mint". And it's not even a large size being a "36".

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Schnicklfritz

I don't understand the pricy tags/bids either. I get sick of hearing the opening line,"You understand sonny, that this is so rare that it's gonna cost ya" crapola from some dealers. Granted, some items are rarer and a little harder to find, but a mint P41 HBT shirt isn't that rare, esp a size 36. I've seen size 42's go for over $450 on Ebang. The stuff is out there if a person exercises some patience and puts some time in searching for items and attending shows. Just my opinion that alot of the prices reflect the impatience of some new/unknowledgable bidders and people using Ebay as a price guide. Because of it, collector's end up paying higher prices for common items. Ohhh well... :unsure:

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Greg Robinson

Only thing that hurts worse than paying silly money for something is to then find out you paid silly money for a fake. This same ebay seller recently had a "mint" P41 trousers that was suspect. It had inkstamped size and name markings that looked like done with the same stamp...same font's etc. And despite the fact that original P41 trousers came in waist size only....one length fits all..... this pair was marked waist size x inseam like Army trousers.

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In 2005 a stone mint named WWI American pilot's uniform appeared on Ebay. The pilot was not an ace, in fact, he probably only flew one or two combat missions as he was finally in-theatre only eight days before the war ended. It was fully decked out with his original wings (not a rare maker, but rare none-the-less), ribbonry, and all insignia. Now, knowing its rarity for simply being complete, in that time's market on Ebay it should have gone for around $1800- 2600. It sold for over $9000. Why? It was purchased by a new collector who also happened to be a producer on the film Flyboys.

 

When we see some prices skyrocket on more common, mint items, let's not forget that on Ebay one is sometimes bidding against parties and agents of parties that have non-exhaustible funds. Remember, rumors were flying in 1999 - 2001 when people thought the exploding values of militaria were caused by Spielberg and Hanks buying items for their personal collections. To these types of folks, money is no object and they will bid accordingly until the object is theirs.

 

Take care,

 

Ken

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Greg Robinson

I never thought about that and it would explain some of the auctions I've seen. A few years ago Harlan Glenn was paying skyhigh prices for USMC items to be shown in his upcoming books. Seemed insane at the time although from what I've seen he's been able in most cases to resell it at even higher prices. And there's something about being able to state in an ebay auction...."shown in the book" that starts a feeding frenzy among collectors. I once saw a common WW2 Navy Mk 1 deck knife sell on ebay for two or three times what the exact same item was currently listed for in the magazine "Shotgun News". The seller simply referred to the knife having been shown in his recent WW2 US military knife reference book.

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OK, now you have done it, forced me into another one of my editorials. First of all let me say I never pay big money for anything, that is just no fun. Anybody with $500 in their pocket can have a $500 item but to get it for $5.00 is what is fun and yes it dose happen you just have to look. Now as for stuff in "Mint Condition" I don't care how common something is, when you are dealing with 60 year old stuff mint condition is hard to find. Just because it is mint it is certainly not more likely to be fake, a few trips through the laundry will give it a well used look and when it is mint it is easier to spot the things that aren't quite right. Also the idea that used stuff was "there" is ridiculous given the fact that the Army dose not ship used equipment back to the US, simply because it is cheaper and more efficient to make new stuff here. The great majority of the used stuff was used for training, or by Boy Scouts for camping, or by kids playing Army. Remember 40 years ago this stuff was all over the place and it cost next to nothing so people bought it and used it. Granted paying hundreds of dollars fo something that is mint when one in only slightly lesser condition can be had for $20.00 is stupid. I would pay a premium for something in mint condition before I would pay a premium for a rag just because it has someone's name in it. Everybody has their own idea of what something is worth and what they think is the most desirable, I for one will go with the mint stuff every time. The key to collecting anything is to ues some common sense and don't want something so bad you will pay anything to have it right then when you can wait have the same thing for a lot less money.

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Assuming we're talking about this one; http://cgi.ebay.com/WW2-USMC-Marine-Corps-...1QQcmdZViewItem

 

It isn't even a WW2 P41 jacket! It's a post war P47 jacket, the cutter tag gives a definitive clue to the date of manufacture. This seller seems to sell a lot of USMC gear on ebay.

 

On the matter of "mint", I have some what you might consider mint items. I don't go purposefully hunting for mint items, I prefer used items, ideally items ID'd to WW2 vets. At least you can then be sure, even if they were used post-war, that they were definitely used during the war. Cutter tagged items don't float my boat, but then we all collect for our own reasons. ;)

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Greg Robinson

That's the one....and you're correct it is post WW2. I'd overlooked the details of mfg that give that away. And you're also correct re the date on the cutter tag. It being ww2 would explain why it's so evenly shaded. It was typical of wartime Depot made items to vary in color shade since they didn't care about appearance but wanted to get the shirts out the door ASAP. Regardless of when it was made it's selling for top dollar.

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Guys, here's my 2 cents worth about eBay prices. There is nobody out there holding a gun to these folks head. When I sell something for 5 times what I expected, I just think to myself " The crazies were out today!". Also, if you spend big bucks on a misidentified piece like the one discussed here, well, I call that a LESSON! I have learned things that way( unfortunately), and you know those lessons stick!

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craig_pickrall

Just to keep it interesting here is another take on it. There are two or more Korean War era USMC collectors bidding against each other. Why would any one want a 49 dated shirt for a WW2 collection?

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Greg Robinson

And why would a '49 dated dungaree shirt be all that important to a USMC korean war collection? I suspect more WW2 mfg shirts went to Korean than those made in 1949. I collect USMC Korean War items but I like them to be relevent to that conflict which is why I find the cold weather gear interesting. In 1945, flush with victory in the Pacific, nobody at USMC headquarters even dreamed that the Corps would soon be needing such uniforms and gear to fight in sub zero weather.

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To each his own, but I too got over the mint mania years ago. To me, I would rather have something that was actually "there" and looks it than just another item that spent the war in a warehouse and is just like the next guy's mint item.

Dont get me wrong, an unissued item belongs in anyones collection of a given type, but once obtained, move on the really interesting stuff and save some money to boot!

 

CB

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