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Hello all! 
 

I would be interested in hearing some people share their favorite finds, greatest deals, and strangest encounters while hunting for militaria. 
 

For example, I once got two 1944 dated shelter halves and eight 44 and 45 dated poles at a tag sale for 5 bucks.

 

I’m sure most of you have better stories, so let’s hear ‘em!

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Since you’re talking shelter halves, I once bought two WWI shelter halves off a guy who was using them as a tarp for his trailer. Total cost was $1.00. 

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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. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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 guess my favorite memory would be hunting with my uncle in Pennsylvania for militaria. He had been a collector since the 40's as 6 of his uncles had all fought in WW2 in the Army and Army Air Force. He had been trying to get me to collect for years bringing me some items and books here and there but never was able to get me into it. Finally I started collecting like him and so the hunt was on! He passed last year, but I'm happy I was able to get into collecting for him. I guess I really am helping to continue his legacy, no one else in our family ever really got into it.

 

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I've posted this before, but in a nut shell, years ago I collected Krag rifles and carbines, and for a long time searched for the ever elusive pocket oiler that was made in 1900 (6,000).  Other than a couple of pictures on web sights, I never saw one for sale or even on display.  I finally gave up and moved on.  Then, last year, I was scrolling thought ebay WW2 things, not doing much of anything.  Suddenly I saw it, advertised as a flask from a veteran of the 31st Infantry Division (they fought in the Pacific in WW2).  It had a buy it now price of $40.  When it finally arrived I was able to confirm it was the pocket oiler.  As best I can tell, there are only 3 or 4 that exist in the US (one sighting may have been the same one, and one was seen being sold at the Baltimore Antique Militaria show some 5 years ago).  No one knows what happened to all the rest, but they may have been sent to the Philippines and never returned.   It now resides in my gun safe, it doesn't take up much room.

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Hunting with relatives makes it twice as fun. I got into collecting after hearing stories of my grandparents and great grandparents, and some of my favorite items are the ones that belonged to them because of the personal connection. 
 

It always is good to find that one thing you are missing. It sounds like the oiler is a pretty rare piece, good job on finding it! I’m surprised about the things that turn up on ebay sometimes. 

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Most of my favorite finds and best deals have come from either goodwill around Halloween or two dusty and dirty army surplus stores that still have  named WW1, WW2, Vietnam uniforms, and bullion. My collection is currently split between two states but here are my best finds from left to right, WW1 Public Health Service uniform, dress blue grouping to an anti-aircraft gunner from the USS Enterprise, 4th division vet who served with them the duration of the war (patch was removed from it unfortunately), 11th airborne vet grouping who served with them for the entire war and occupation, and a very large 8th air force group that is named to a B-17 copilot and includes a nice British made ETO jacket. Here is the best part because they were all goodwill or surplus most of them only cost between $15-30. This has made Halloween my favorite time of year because I love rescuing these pieces, and is not bad for only 2 years collecting. 

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On 6/17/2020 at 3:25 AM, MinorInHistory said:

Hello all! 
 

I would be interested in hearing some people share their favorite finds, greatest deals, and strangest encounters while hunting for militaria. 
 

For example, I once got two 1944 dated shelter halves and eight 44 and 45 dated poles at a tag sale for 5 bucks.

 

I’m sure most of you have better stories, so let’s hear ‘em!

.

Hi,  In 1976 I was taking part in a commemoration trip to Normandy in my wartime Ford GPW Jeep, one of the days during the trip the whole group I was travelling with attended a military vehicle and uniform fair at Carpiquet Airfield, Caen.  Walking around looking at sales tables I spotted a French guy with a blanket spread out on the ground, he only had about eighteen or so items for sale, all were German except for one US 101st Airborne patch.  I asked the price and he replied with ten Francs which at that time Francs were ten to one UK pound, ( about $1.30 US I think ) so I bought that, I still have it in my collection, it's a white tongue, greenback patch found in Normandy !!!!!

 

regards lewis.

 

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.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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I have a few. Most recent was a D-loop helmet.

 

Found a group of helmets for sale while scrolling through FB Market place one evening a little over a year ago. My jaw dropped when I saw the helmet in the bottom right of the photo. 

 

Messaged the seller to ask if they were still available, and if he had a price in mind (no price listed). Wasn't even gonna haggle, just knew I had to get there first, and happily pay their asking price. 

 

Was there the next day at 9am (tried to go the evening before, but his wife wasn't having it). I paid asking price for the D-loop and Fixed-loop helmet. I would have purchased the Luftwaffe, but it already sold. The WWI German helmet was a shell; good price, but it was in rough shape.

 

As I'm standing in this gentlemen's living room, the doorbell rings. Another person coming to look at the helmets! I say my goodbyes to the seller and his wife, as the new buyer looks at me dumbfounded as he's walking in.  

 

Crossed a grail-piece off my list that I never thought I would find. Pure, dumb-luck; case of being in the right place at the right time. 

 

 

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Eric

ASMIC #5492

 

Are you a militaria collector in PA, NJ or DE? If so, please feel free to join my "Delaware Valley Militaria Collectors" page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilitariaCollectorsOfDelawareValley#!/groups/DELVALMILITARIA/

 

Check me out on Instagram @philly_militaria_collector

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2 hours ago, Ray42 said:

Most of my favorite finds and best deals have come from either goodwill around Halloween or two dusty and dirty army surplus stores that still have  named WW1, WW2, Vietnam uniforms, and bullion. My collection is currently split between two states but here are my best finds from left to right, WW1 Public Health Service uniform, dress blue grouping to an anti-aircraft gunner from the USS Enterprise, 4th division vet who served with them the duration of the war (patch was removed from it unfortunately), 11th airborne vet grouping who served with them for the entire war and occupation, and a very large 8th air force group that is named to a B-17 copilot and includes a nice British made ETO jacket. Here is the best part because they were all goodwill or surplus most of them only cost between $15-30. This has made Halloween my favorite time of year because I love rescuing these pieces, and is not bad for only 2 years collecting. 

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Wow, very nice! I remember seeing you post the Public Health Service uniform. Great set!

 

I check Goodwill all the time around Halloween. Typically only find more modern uniforms. Best find was my first slant-pocket, VN era jungle jacket for $5. Nothing major, no patches, but I was super excited to find something at Goodwill!

 

 

Eric

ASMIC #5492

 

Are you a militaria collector in PA, NJ or DE? If so, please feel free to join my "Delaware Valley Militaria Collectors" page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilitariaCollectorsOfDelawareValley#!/groups/DELVALMILITARIA/

 

Check me out on Instagram @philly_militaria_collector

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14 hours ago, huntssurplus said:

I guess my favorite memory would be hunting with my uncle in Pennsylvania for militaria. He had been a collector since the 40's as 6 of his uncles had all fought in WW2 in the Army and Army Air Force. He had been trying to get me to collect for years bringing me some items and books here and there but never was able to get me into it. Finally I started collecting like him and so the hunt was on! He passed last year, but I'm happy I was able to get into collecting for him. I guess I really am helping to continue his legacy, no one else in our family ever really got into it.

 

Hunt

 

Great origin story, Hunt! Thanks for sharing!

 

PA has an abundance of military still lying in wait to be found, in homes, antique stores, etc. Most of my collection has been acquired locally. It's my preferred way to collect as many of the named items have a local connection. 

Eric

ASMIC #5492

 

Are you a militaria collector in PA, NJ or DE? If so, please feel free to join my "Delaware Valley Militaria Collectors" page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilitariaCollectorsOfDelawareValley#!/groups/DELVALMILITARIA/

 

Check me out on Instagram @philly_militaria_collector

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Another right place at the right time situation. 

 

When LetGo first came around (online, local P2P sales site), it was a treasure-trove of militaria. You could search all listings across the app from their desktop site. Found a lot of nice militaria in the first couple years of the App's start. 

 

They then refined the site to only allow local searches. Now I see the same listings, sitting for days/weeks/months, every time I search. Major bummer.

 

About 4 years ago I was browsing the site, and found a group of medals listed for sale. Two stood out; Philippine Insurrection and China Relief.

 

Contacted the seller, and he provided additional photos. Was able to confirm both medals were numbered, and attributed to the same vet. Turns out, most of the medals were attributed to him, and he had a lengthy career with the Army from early 1900 to post WWI. 

 

The WWII items were likely another grouping, possibly belonging to the WWI vet's son. 

 

In any case, was able to agree on a meetup day/time, and I gladly paid his asking price (top right of the screenshot)- no haggling. Also drove 3 hours round trip to him; easy drive. 

 

Turned into one of my most favorite, attributed grouping of medals, and one of the highlights of my collection. 

 

 

 

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Eric

ASMIC #5492

 

Are you a militaria collector in PA, NJ or DE? If so, please feel free to join my "Delaware Valley Militaria Collectors" page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilitariaCollectorsOfDelawareValley#!/groups/DELVALMILITARIA/

 

Check me out on Instagram @philly_militaria_collector

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1 hour ago, General Apathy said:

Hi,  In 1976 I was taking part in a commemoration trip to Normandy in my wartime Ford GPW Jeep, one of the days during the trip the whole group I was travelling with attended a military vehicle and uniform fair at Carpiquet Airfield, Caen.  Walking around looking at sales tables I spotted a French guy with a blanket spread out on the ground, he only had about eighteen or so items for sale, all were German except for one US 101st Airborne patch.  I asked the price and he replied with ten Francs which at that time Francs were ten to one UK pound, ( about $1.30 US I think ) so I bought that, I still have it in my collection, it's a white tongue, greenback patch found in Normandy !!!!!

That’s an amazing find! I have seen some tours that sound like yours advertised before. It sounds like a lot of fun, especially if you have a period Jeep!

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1 hour ago, MasonK said:

 

Wow, very nice! I remember seeing you post the Public Health Service uniform. Great set!

 

I check Goodwill all the time around Halloween. Typically only find more modern uniforms. Best find was my first slant-pocket, VN era jungle jacket for $5. Nothing major, no patches, but I was super excited to find something at Goodwill!

 

 

I found my only VN jungle jacket at a Goodwill 2 years ago also, it was a camo USMC one. Most of my finds are modern also, with modern field gear and helmets being the best but honestly I have had a surprising amount of luck finding fresh WW2 and WW1 stuff in both Iowa and Indiana where I have been for College but it has taken a ridiculous amount of work.  I have 6 Goodwill stores that I hit every day or at least every week, 3 more that I hit at least twice a month in October, and another 20 that I hit when I travel to see my Girlfriend. The only trouble is when I am home in West Virginia there is nothing. I cannot find a surplus store still in business to save my life and antique stores do not seem to have anything other then questionable put togethers. 

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3 hours ago, MasonK said:

 

Great origin story, Hunt! Thanks for sharing!

 

PA has an abundance of military still lying in wait to be found, in homes, antique stores, etc. Most of my collection has been acquired locally. It's my preferred way to collect as many of the named items have a local connection. 

 

Thanks! It wasn't until after he passed I realized how cool it was to actually have another collector in the family. He suffered from dementia in his later years, but when it came to flea markets and surplus stores he never forgot where they were! Good times in PA! He lived in the same town his entire life, and I had many great finds up there pulling all types of things out of the woodwork. I still go up to the same flea markets we hit back in the day. It's nice to be able to continue hunting there. Hopefully I can go up and hunt some more this summer! 

 

 

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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As for goodwill I have a similar experience--when it comes to finding absolutely nothing! I do come across some nice ship paintings/prints here and there, usually one per trip! My dad loves them so I always get them as they only cost a few bucks for him. My luck has only ever been at PA flea markets honestly. They are dying out though. Young people don't really go to flea market/antique malls now a days, so it's hard to find too much. The military tables are drying up too. Same items year in year out. I usually go up once a year and have seen many of the same items at the same tables. It's sad really, and I fear Covid might be the final nail in the coffin to kill them for good. Welp at least there is the internet.


Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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41 minutes ago, huntssurplus said:

. It's sad really, and I fear Covid might be the final nail in the coffin to kill them for good.

I hope not, though there weren’t many flea markets in NoVa to begin with. At least there are some militaria shows and things around here. Hopefully things will open back up soon. 

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1 hour ago, MinorInHistory said:

I hope not, though there weren’t many flea markets in NoVa to begin with. At least there are some militaria shows and things around here. Hopefully things will open back up soon. 

 

I have had very little luck in Northern Virginia surprisingly. I've read that NOVA has the highest veteran among regular civilian population rate in the entire united states, there are a few WW2 veterans in my neighborhood as well. One would think there would be some stuff? 

 

But yeah the flea market is a dying breed. The young population likes second hand clothes, but prefers thrift stores and goodwills to large antique malls with many different sellers. 

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I went to a local show in Orlando about 3 years ago and ran into a dealer friend that I had known for 30 years and he had a small Marine Corps Group on his table at a reasonable price - when I looked at the reverse of the Good Conduct Medal it was engraved to "LeRoy Ferguson" - For years I used to listen to my Father's Sea Stories when he was in the Marine Corps in the early 1950's and he used to mention a M/Sgt Ferguson who took a Fatherly interest in my then 18 year old Father - I quickly checked the Marine Corps Muster Rolls on Ancestry and confirmed that LeRoy Ferguson was the same guy - I bought the medals and later that day I stopped by my parents house and my Father ad an opportunity to hold M/Sgt Fergusons medals before he (my Dad) passed away in 2017.

 

Bill

"The Americans on this Island are not ordinary troops, but Marines, a special force recruited from jails and insane asylums for blood lust." -Japanese Newspaper found during the Battle of Guadalcanal - "They Got That Right!!" Chesty Puller

 

 

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It’s crazy that you found that grouping, it having a personal connection and all. It’s great that your dad got to see those medals that belonged to someone who he knew when he was in the service. Very neat story! 

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  • 2 months later...

My most lucrative find was a very nice mostly complete lightweight rucksack for $5 at a garage sale. Held on to it for a few years then sold it for considerable profit to fund other stuff. Picked up a named 1942 footlocker in great shape today for $7.50. Probably could have negotiate for less, but it was already a price I was happy to pay. 

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