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Advice for New Collectors


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Let me make a couple of suggestions in addition to the above:

 

Find a MENTOR and listen. However, there is a difference between an honest mentor and a convincing dealer.

 

Join an ASSOCIATION of collectors who specialize in your field. Groups like ASMIC, OMSA, ASMIC, MVCC and the like will provide the pipeline to those with similar interests. This Forum is certainly useful too, but these other groups have been around for decades, and their newspatters and other publications can be invaluable references.

 

G

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Another bit of advise: when you obtain item(s) from a relative of a vet, always ask questions. Not just about the history of the vet, but also about other items the vet may have had. I recently received some items from a 20th Air Force vet's family. I had been talking to them off and on for over a year, but when I went to pick the items up, I asked about his uniforms. "Oh, we didn't know you were interested in those, we just got rid of them!" Asking if it was too late to get them back, the son looked at the empty garbage dumpsters by the side of the road and just said, "Yes, they're gone now." crying.gif

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Quite true Beast, I have never been in this situation before but I admit I have thought about it. In fact, at the moment I am talking with a couple veterans families that are interested in selling their relatives WWII items to me. I plan on telling them that I am interested in collecting many different items, not just the couple they think I would be interested in.

 

- Jeff

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dave,

 

You are absoutley right, enough can not be se said for having the proper tools and reference books are best. Also if you are lucky enough to find some one that is knowledgable and will give you sound advise. There will still be a lot of mistakes to be made even under the best of circumstances.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I say AMEN to the 'talk to a veteran' comment. We are losing WW2 veterans rapidly, so go to a Veteran's Hospital Home and sit for a while and listen. Many vets love to talk about gear and the other stuff we collect too, and the personal experiences they've had are priceless historically.

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  • 1 month later...
Kurt Barickman

I have been collecting since 1971. I too would say talk to the vets but unfortunately that is drawing down quickly. I hate to sound like somebody who is full of themselves, but you new guys would not have believed it in the 1970s. There was stuff all over the place, vets were all over the place and they still had their souvenirs. So, in lieu of the time factor. Talk to experienced collectors, specialize in what you like otherwise you will be all over the place and when something comes along your really want you won't have the funds, purchase reference books and do the research and FINALLY QUALITY OVER QUANTITY, I REPEAT QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.

 

Nuf said,

 

Kurt Barickman

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I have to agree with the quality over quantity. I have recently scaled back the collection and focused on more quality items, and I like to look of it much more.

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Never try to comprehend the mental defects of the people who collect this stuff. :blink:

 

It will just make you crazier than they are. :unsure:

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Fred Borgmann

Don't run with the herd. Find a field or specialty that isn't being collected by everyone else. If possible find something that interests you but isn't popular and blaze your own trail. Within a few years you will develop a reputation and people will be coming to you as the expert. Instead of paying the inflated prices of highly collected areas you with be on the ground level finding all sorts of interesting bargains. For example I started collecting US state and local issue war service medals and German states medals in the mid 1960's. Everyone else that I knew was into nazi stuff. I was asked once 'why do you keep beating your self to death with that junk?" Well they are still in the nazi stuff and I hope they are happy with it. When I look at all that I have collected I know I have made the right choice. Current prices in my collecting specialties have validated my choice financially. My personal satisfaction is immeasurable and all at a fraction of the cost that the nazi stuff would have cost me over the years. Follow your heart over the long haul and you will never regret it. Fred

post-591-1200966154.jpg

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unfortunately, my heart leads me to EGAs and named USMC Good Cookies. Now, while I notice that there aren't that many serious EGA collectors out there (most I see on eBay only throw in 10 or 20 buck bets on rare emblems), the few who are serious drive the prices way up

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  • 8 months later...

Hi there,

 

I know this thread hasn't been added to for some months but as a new collector, I am very grateful to those that have given

their comments and advice.

 

I have been interested in WW2 stuff. since I was a boy(44 years old now!) and over the latter years I have picked up the odd item of interest.

But it's only after becoming obsessed with the subject of the 101st Airborne cricket used on D Day that I have become fascinated with the collecting side of things.

After a buying a genuine 'fake' on eBay and then selling repro crickets(as repro's I might add!)to fund my new desire to buy, I have finally got my genuine ground dug cricket, from a well known and respected seller, Mark 'Sparky' Patterson.

My knowledge on the subject has increased and I have now become hooked on collecting other areas of that era, especially D Day stuff.

 

There has been some excellent advice here and I will most definitely take it all on board.

 

I too have been tempted to buy, buy ,buy and luckily I haven't gone overboard, but without the advice given here I am sure I would have fallen victim to some of those no-no's!

And books, I will get! It really does make sense!

 

I would also like to add that on such sites as this one, you do meet some very nice, honest people who often go out of their way to help others, especially new collectors like me!!

 

I look forward to many years of collecting.

 

Thanks from a new boy!!

Kev

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  • 1 month later...

Like the saying goes...." IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT MOST LIKELY IS".........

This is one thing I would definately have to mention!

Also, find a dealer or person you feel comfortable buying from....just because there is a website, doesn't necessarily

mean that it is a 100% trustworthy place.

Take your time in learning.....

Cheers.

DUFFY

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  • 2 months later...

Specializing and research are a must. I can tell you of numerous tales of finding patches on ebay that are listed in stores that have nothing to do with militaria. Found an old early 60's 28th Air Division, "buy it now" for $1. It was being sold by a nice elderly lady in Montana. Most of her stuff was clothing and pottery. I use a search like USAF patches, then under militaria I select the "buy it now" tab and just look through the listings. Many patches for example are listed as "military" patch or by the motto.

As for repros,not in my collection*, although I know collectors that have them as educational tools.

(*to the best of my knowledge!)

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I have a friend with an established collection who interested me in collecting. My friend became my collecting mentor offering advice and knowledge obtained during his many years as a serious collector. He suggested all the things others have previously pointed out in this thread; specialize, obtain good reference books, specialize, learn to ID reproductions and avoid them, specialize, join collecting organizations, specialize, etc. Yes, I did take his advice and specialized. However, after three or four years, I decided to completely change directions and have really found my nich now. He has shared his reference materials with me, given me tips on how to display, and generally encouraged me along the way. If, as a new collector, you can find a mentor(s) or a collector(s) you can trust and someone willing to share their knowledge(not all folks will share), take advantage of what they are offering and soak up every little bit of information you can. In my case, it has definitely helped me become a more knowledgeable collector and a more focused collector.

 

my2cents

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  • 1 month later...
normaninvasion

For new patch collectors: Work your way up. Start with the common less expensive examples. That way you can get a feel for period items and not have to worry about spending big money. Work your way with more desireble patches as you get comfortable. You will always be learning, years to come.

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As has been stated, buy the best condition possible. Unless it is a really, really rare, uncommon item, I pass on items in very poor condition.

 

Also, if something catches your fancy, but it when you see it because chances are, when you go back to get it, the item will be gone.

 

Finally, knowledge is king!

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  • 4 months later...

Excellent Topic! Deff sheds light for those newbies such as myself, we all start small. Its with shared knowledge like this we grow and become inclusive in all forms of collecting, not to mention get a better direction before taking the dive. I firmly believe eveyone has something to offer and this is a prime example!

 

That being said......I see that I have followed the general rules of collecting generated on this thread, yay! haha ;)

 

 

Thank you all who posted! (and those to come)

 

:thumbsup:

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  • 6 months later...

I would say Network, get out there, meet people and fellow collectors, dont be shy. I go to the flea markets, if I see something I always ask if they have anything more. There are countless times where the seller has something in the back or under a table that often would go unseen.

 

Be treated as you would like to be treated and help out fellow collectors. Recently I was at a antique fair, I was standing at a table watching a gentleman search through a box of pins, let me say he collected a huge pile of goodies...I gave him his space and waited for him to finish. I watched as he got a killer deal but I kept silent as I wouldnt like someone to bump me while I was digging or shout out a higher offer as I was trying to get a deal done. In the end I was upset that I didnt get the haul but I felt like I did the honorable thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Richard Kimmel

My general impression so far after reading this topic leaves me with several thoughts.

 

The first being, that there are several schools of common thought regarding collecting and, in my opinion are all valid to one degree or another.

 

Secondly, since I have been out of the normal "loop" of militaria collecting for many years now, and viewing wartime artifacts from a completely different perspective, my purchasing habits have changed considerably. The highest of quality no longer is part of the equation but rather if the artifact exhibits other aspects. However, that is for discussion at another time and place.

 

Thirdly, I totally agree with specialization and I would point out that if you are collecting for the sake of simply having a representative example within your specialty area then, by all means, purchase wisely and let your finances be your guide.

 

I would add to all this, to seek out documented artifacts for a more meaningful collection having greater historical significance.

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  • 4 months later...

My son and I went to a WW II re-enactment and that started our interest in collecting. His first thought was e-bay, my first thought was to ask all the veterans that I know. Scored some really cool stuff for free. It's a good start for us. BTW I have a bunch of pictures from the re-enactment, if anybody wants to see them send me a message. I used to do civil war re-enacting and this one blew that away.

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  • 2 months later...
I have been collecting now for nearly 21 years, and thought it would be appropriate to share some bits of wisdom with newer collectors. All are welcome to contribute to this thread - one of the things I've learned is that no one can know everything! Three big things I've learned:

 

1) BUY BOOKS! I've never met anyone who has regretted spending money on reference books, but I HAVE met many people who wished they had bought a book on their collecting interest but instead invested money into their field only to lose their shirt. Buying good reference books and educating yourself first is the first step to having a great collection! Just remember that 99.99% of militaria will come up for sale again sometime in the future... be patient and buy your education now, then militaria when you know what you're doing.

 

2) Buy what you're interested in, but buy the best. This is from a guy who spent the last 20 years being told by friends to buy "high end" items, but instead investing in items that had "character". Now don't get me wrong... sometimes those items that aren't the best have the best personal meaning, and that's worth more than anything. However, I haven't lost my shirt too many times trying to resell the things I've bought before, but trust me on this - I would have been a lot better off listening to my collecting mentors!

 

3) Always keep an open mind, and always know your friends. This is important anywhere you go and anything you do. Make sure that you're always willing to learn, and sometimes (when you have to) be graceful in taking your lumps. No one likes a collector who is defensive about something that's clearly fake, but that they believe to be real. Learn who you can trust in the field, and keep them as your friends. Keep a good reputation as both a buyer and seller - it will always pay off for you.

 

There's lots more theory out there, but these are my "big three" for new collectors.

 

Dave

 

 

What other thoughts are out there??? As a fairly new collector i have really been through some of the pittfalls

and really badly burned by some people who i thought were my friends but later found out that the only reason they befriended me was to dump thier repro stuff on an inexperienced collector . This really hurts and has chased me away almost what should i do . Confront them over the email or take my lumps? i would really like to say something koreamik :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:

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  • 4 months later...
Richard Kimmel

I've been in this area of militaria for a considerable number of years and agree in education being the most important factor in all that has previously been said however, provided that everything else falls into place there is still one thing to consider, that being the gift that each of us was born with ... a sixth sense. Should your inner voice still tells not to buy or the opposite, then it may be best to listen to it as this may be your last line of defense. Don't confuse this with the "want" to buy as wanting sometimes will over shadow and may not be in your better judgement.

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teufelhunde.ret
... what should i do . Confront them over the email or take my lumps? i would really like to say something koreamik :

Frankly I would suggest move on, as they will never be a true friend again, the relationship has been fractured. And not necessarily relevant to your scenario, my 60+ years of life has taught me, when blindly accused or even mistakingly accused by a "supposed friend" of something that never took place, move on and forget going in the defense mode as they were never a friend to begin with... just a "user"

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