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Does Anyone Else Do This?

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So, I was perusing eBay (which I should probably stop doing) and I saw this set of WWII Bicycle Spotter cards belonging to a WWII bombardier.  I don’t have any of those, so bought it.  In rereading the ad I saw the seller knew the vet’s name and service number, so a forum member provided his service history which was 35 missions in 15th AAF.  In looking at sellers other ads, noticed he had a bunch of other small items also belonging to the same vet, consisting of badges, dog tags, insignia, photos, ID bracket, ribbons, a commercial M3 knife with vets name/SN, and other small items.  I don’t consider myself a collector (although stuff is starting to make its way into a display case) and I didn’t need any of this stuff, but I could not stand the thought of the vet’s stuff being broken up and pieced out, so bought it too.  He had no children, distant family didn’t want it, which was why it went to an estate sale.  Do any of you ever buy sets like this just to keep the stuff being parted out and its history lost?  I feel a bad habit starting to take shape.

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I see a lot of examples of this from the members and postings of the forum and GOD BLESS YOU for doing it. Some even saying they wish they had the resources to do, OR they wish when they saw it X number of years ago they wish they had bought more.  As CAT (can't find or remember her handle, her avatar has a tiger in it) pointed out a few years ago on my "Halloween Warning Order" that I try to every year about this time ... that not all uniforms were meant to be saved . And yet, how often do we get the chance to keep or put stuff together. Ultimately keeping our "veterans" alive and living on when their bodies are no longer with us. 


You even see examples of people hunting down pieces that were previous sold to re-unite them.  More power to you!! I applaud and salute you! 




I "primarily" collect Gulf War 1 patches. All branches (USA, USAF,USN, USMC & USCG) and ALL Countries..
US - Op.'s Desert Shield / Storm / Provide Comfort /Some Southern Watch - F-4G's Wild Weasels
UK - Op.'s Granby / Sabre / Warden
Canadian - Op. Desert Storm / Op. Friction
French - Daguet / Aconit
Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, South Korea, etc.
Looking for the oddities, including unfinished & flaws
I HAVE EXTRA's!! Will trade as well.


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5 minutes ago, BryanJ said:

Do any of you ever buy sets like this just to keep the stuff being parted out and its history lost?


Oh...heck yes.


There are two major - and usually opposing - forces in play here.


1.  Economics - the things that are being sold are just that - things - to the seller.  Very generally speaking* it doesn't matter if they're selling a vinyl record, an old suit jacket or a posthumous Purple Heart.  The item is a commodity, COMPLETELY devoid of any emotional value.  If they can sell the items for more money as a group of items ...they will.  But the market for groupings is pretty narrow.  It is limited to the type of folks who hang out on USMF. We attach a greater value to a grouping, with its collective, inherent history, than the commercial value of individual items.  But if folks like us don't have the resources (financial, storage space, time to care for) to take ownership of the grouping the economic force will drive the seller to break up the group and maximize profit.  I am offering no judgements of seller actions or motivations.  It is a fact of life that everything costs and sentiment and a sense of fulfillment or a perceived obligation to history don't pay the rent. 


2.  Sentiment - Speaking of a perceived obligation to history....well, if you hang out here that obligation is not "perceived" - it is VERY real.  Our sentiment is our own - very narrowly defined - reality.  It pains us in the collecting community to see a grouping broken up.  But if we don't assume the responsibility of caretaker for a grouping, then the very real force of economics carries the day. That's why we all feel the emotional tug of a grouping on the verge of being broken up.  But if we can't take action...well...the cold, universal reality of economics wins out over our individual reality of sentimentality.   


So, as caretakers we do what we can to help the ideals of "Honor" and "Sacrifice" win a few rounds over the undisputed, heavyweight champion of human motivation - "Economics".  Unfortunately, that means we occasionally take our lumps and watch as a grouping gets broken up.  I think you did a good thing keeping the grouping together...but I can GUARANTEE you you won't always be able to do that.



* Not looking to start a food fight over seller motivations.  I know - sometimes there are tragic reasons for selling.  Sometimes sellers are straight up crooks.  But generally speaking, sellers are just engaging in commerce to make a living.   

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I certainly can’t fault the seller who was going to piece the stuff out.  We exchanged half-dozen emails and spoke on the phone twice and he mentioned to me he’s in a wheel chair and has been going to estate sales for 30 years to make ends meet.  In the same area in Arkansas as the vet.  And the vet - James A. Pence; if interested read his bio is on the Individual Research forum - just posted a couple of days ago.  He never married no kids, but heck, the guy flew 35 missions in a B-24 and was quoted as saying he received flack on every mission.  Died in 2019 and no family to honor his service.  Guy’s a hero in my book.  I’ll post photos when I get the stuff.  

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I bought a CAA War Training Service Sterling wing on ebay.I got it at a really good price with the

sole intention of selling it..... And hopefully making a good profit on it.

I asked the seller if he knew whose wing it was, you know, a wing with a name and a story behind it,

is worth more than a wing alone. So the seller says it was his Wifes Uncles wing from WW2.

They had his name and pictures and even a hand written letter to the Uncle from a P38 pilot in the Phillipines who was a friend

of the Uncle. The P-38 pilot was killed a couple months after he wrote the letter.

The seller sent me the wing the pictures the letter and the P-38' pilot Obituary.

To make a long story short. I cant bring myself to sell it.

I would not feel right about it. I told the seller I'd take care of the things and keep them all together.

Eventually they will hopefully go as a group to someone who cares some day.

 Ive abandoned all thought of selling them.

So I understand. I cant really explain it.But I get what you are saying.

I feel like I know these people... Kinda goofy right......


Heres a link to my little group in case you are interested in taking a look.


Mind you some things I dont mind selling off. But you can get kind of drawn into the people behind certain items. Dangerous unless you have a lot of spare cash and time. Then its all good. !!! lol


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