OK, I'm teetotal, but I do make a wonderfully alcoholic fruit cake... Just don't eat and drive LOL
I'm passionate about collecting books on WW2 - mainly because it's relatively inexpensive. The best bit is walking into a charity shop, or going to a boot sale or jumble sale not knowing what you'll turn up. Sometimes you walk away empty-handed, sometimes you can find something special.
I have also inherited some stuff that I didn't even know about, and the good bit about that is spending the time researching what I've got, putting things into chronological order and building up a story from start to finish.
And again, the people here. It's been great to share things, ask questions, find out more and then use your own bits and pieces to fill "information holes" for other people.
One of the most interesting Things about this hobby is for me the "human aspect" of it. Meeting People from all different sides of life sharing the same passion,from billionares to street punksAnd ofcourse being on the sites of Battles,with good friends,digging for the past
Now, for the initial question, I echo the sentiments of others here. However, some of it is my magpie tendencies that many humans share, the tactile need to use objects to connect to the past. I also am drawn to aesthetic properties that are an expression of trade or art craft - one of the reasons I don't care for American stuff, it has always suffered from low grade quality manufacture and almost all levels, that and they can't design a medal or uniform to save their lives in terms of panache, elan etc. I have collected things that appealed to me, then I lost interest and moved them along as a result. My core has been pretty solid for 25 years, WWI commomwealth, medals kit uniforms etc., aviation and oddly Arms and Armour, mainly Japanese, but also European of certain eras and nations. It is my neurological affliction, ome people drink, knit, do triathalons, obsess over bike gear and posing etc. Mine is in books and to quote my wife 'smelly old clothes'.
There is a great satisfaction in meeting other collectors, in fact collecting has opened the door for me to meet important people i my life, friends and professional contacts - it can be a bit of a social leveller if ones personality is mature and interest sincere great collectors and collections are very welcoming.
Certain eras are appealing too, WW I especially as it is a solid transition era between old societal and economic norms and into the modern age.
I would describe it has a Study in History with a hands on approach that no Museum could offer. Regards Larry
It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C
One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C
“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill
Nail, head, hammer, Larry
That and the fact that sometimes you get led up paths that are totally unexpected when researching an item.
Honestly, there is so much to say, so many points to bring up, but just on the top of my head, I would say one of the best things would be meeting all the new people, for example on this forum, which has connected so many different people from around the world under one roof, and one hobby.
Meeting all the new people, and getting new friends through this hobby is an amazing thing. On many occasions, I have had contact with people over forums, who afterwards have become good friends of mine, some I haven't even met in person yet
You also get a wide network of contacts, which makes it possible for you to track down a particular item you are interested in with just a simple phone call, or an email(most of the time).
Personally, collecting militaria has gotten me through a lot of hard times, so I also use this hobby as a sort of therapy, which makes it possible for me to get away from "the real world" for a while, and completely focus on something that interests me. You have no idea how relaxing it is to just sit quietly on the floor in your war room and scan it, reminding you of all the stories behind every item, remembering exactly where and when you got that particular item, and getting so happy that you could be the one who took it home to add to your collection.
The fascinating stories behind things, whether they are true or not is something that really interests me as well. And I'm not talking about the whole story where a random scammer tries to sell you a repainted Spanish helmet which looks like a Christmas tree, which he swears he got from a 506th PIR veteran who got it after he shot an SS KM Fallschirmjäger in the battle of the fuddy-duddies. I am talking about the kind of stories you get from the person yourself, hearing what that item meant to them and what they went through to get it is something that makes me love this hobby.
Talking to veterans and people who experienced the war really helps put things in perspective whilst hearing many amazing stories, and being able to save those stories for the future.
I think the best thing in this hobby has to be the variety, there is so darn much to choose from, it could range from Victorian era militaria, to pickelhauben to modern day rations and dogtags, you name it. The hobby itself will sort of "adapt" to your personality, you can live your hobby any way you like, you can sit at home, study and buy helmets online and have them shipped right to your doorstep, or you can go out into the mountains looking for deserted battlefields and bunkers, just of the fun and interest of it.
Lurking around flea markets and antique stores using your razor sharp, highly trained eyesight that can spot the edge of a helmet from a 100 meters away.Sniffing around flea markets being on the lookout for anything that might interest you, and experiencing the rush of finally finding something. Plus attic hunting is so much more interesting. But getting gifts from people who see you have a big passion for your hobby and know it will have a good home beats everything.
The motivation grows stronger and stronger the closer you get to that one particular thing, and like mentioned earlier, experiencing the thrill of getting it, or the sadness of missing out on it.
We as individuals and as a whole play a big part in saving and preserving this history for future generations, all from a worthless piece of shrapnel to a veteran's untold stories. We do a lot to keep the history alive. Researching an individual and connecting that one person with one of your things is my favorite part of the hobby, it really is. Finding a very cheap and heavily worn thing becomes that much more memorable if you are able to ID the owner.
Being challenged time and again by fakes is an interesting, but most of the time annoying part of the hobby, it is really fun walking past tables at militaria shows thinking "that one is a fake, and that one, and that one", but it is a pain when you actually buy one thinking it was an original, or passed on it, thinking it was a fake.
I kind of got tired after all this, so here is the rest:
Being able to share history and your passion with others through displays, presentations, personal stories and the like.
Finding family members who participated, and researching the hell out of them
The ability to appreciate something "normal people" would consider as junk.
Taking a dive on an item, and coming out successful on the other end.
Setting up displays, and fiddling with them, always thinking of a new way to display your items.
Some people can also think of this hobby as an investment, which it is, not just money-wise, but it kills a lot of time. Personally, I am not in it for the money, I think that kind of corrupts this hobby a bit.
And of course metal detecting, for those of you who enjoy that.
Then there are the negative sides, I try not to think of them that much, but the only ones I can think of right now are as follows:
All the fakes, and fakers
Not being taken seriously by collectors because of age (This happens more than you would think).
And of course, all the times my wallet wants to protest.
All in all, it is a very addicting hobby, but I sure as hell couldn't think of a better one.
Sorry this text got kinda long, but I just felt like expressing how I feel about this hobby, and of course, you guys
Looking for militaria from 38. Batterie, Heeres Küsten Artillerie Regiment 977, also from 31, 32 and 36. Batterie.
I get quite a few raised eyebrows cos I'm a member of the euhm, fairer sex, Vegar Can make it awkward when you're heading to the checkout with an armful of books on ships or tanks and stuff... But hey ho. I like girly things as much as anyone, but some of the things I enjoy - like militaria - definitely aren't girly.
Sometimes it's all about challenging conventions.
I forgot to add to my likes, touring the battlefields to me is an integral part of collecting.