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Specializing My Collection?

Article about: So, I have been collecting for several years now, and my general routine has been that, if I see it at a sale and it is cheap I buy it. No matter what it is generally, as long as it is milit

  1. #1

    Default Specializing My Collection?

    So, I have been collecting for several years now, and my general routine has been that, if I see it at a sale and it is cheap I buy it. No matter what it is generally, as long as it is military. So I have this moderately sized collection with no rhyme nor reason to its content. So I'm thinking of specializing in a particular area. I'm thinking gas masks and related. A sizeable part of my collection is Civil Defense and chemical warfare items, so I think it would be a plan to stick with that. I do enjoy that segment of my collection.

    Now a few concerns.

    What should I do with unrelated items? Sell it off, or specialize in one area and dabble in others? I know I have items to get rid of, and stuff I would never sell. When should I sell those items that I will sell? Now, to get rid of them, or will they appreciate in value soon? A few items I'm thinking of are WWI leather leggings of which I have several different pairs, WWII US militaria, and East German items. Will those appreciate in value within the next 3-5 years substantially or would I be waiting 20 years to get any rise in price out of them?

    Second is fakes. I am also deciding to specialize in these items due to the relatively low cost of them and the seeming absence of fakes. Are there fake and/or reproduction gas masks? I know they make reproduction carriers, but are the masks and filters ever reproduced, or could I be safe in saying they are all authentic?

    Thank you so much. My first post here and I have high hopes this forum will turn out to be everything I hope. This is a very important milestone in my collecting, so any opinions matter greatly.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    I cant comment as to where you should specialize, but if money can be gained from the sale of an item, you better bet it has or will be faked!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?


    Unless you really need the funds, keep everything you already took the time to collect and know you like. All militaria appreciates! Some more slowly, is all.

    You can specialize in a field also.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    I just think it would be rather difficult to fake a mask. Though canisters and pouches are often faked. I suppose fakes are something any militaria collector has to deal with. You're probably right about the has or will be faked. Ah well, still easier than collecting wehrmacht awards. You don't learn to weed out the fake from the genuine, you learn how to find the genuine amongst the pile of fakes!

    I'm keeping most of it, but there are a few items which I don't even know why I bought. Just a matter of finding proper pricing for those things.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    I have done this same thing. I started out collecting anything and everything related to WWII: flags, uniforms, knives, swords, rifles, helmets, hats, gear, documents, medals, ordinance, books, etc. I sold or traded most of my items and now only concentrate on helmets and rifles. It is a lot easier focusing on one or two categories, and plus you can put your money towards higher quality items. Anytime in the future you can always add another category to the collecting list as your interest expand. The problem with collecting "everything" is that you end up spending all your money buying all the little stuff for cheap, and you never have enough for any nice quality pieces.

    I have never seen a fake gas mask before. Worst case scenario would be a reproduction, but they would be pretty easy to spot. Plus you always have the forum if you are skeptical of any piece. I doubt Post war German items will go up in value any time soon.

    Regards, Corey

  6. #6

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    Keep just buying whatever you find. Soon enough you will figure out what makes you happiest. If you are collecting just for an investment then I would suggest saving for high-dollar, rare items in good condition.

    Welcome to the forum!


  7. #7

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    We have just crossed this same bridge.....we've got a lot of STUFF but nothing really focused or of any real value (although I think it all to be collectable). As recent as 2 weeks ago my son came to me and told me he would like to focus on mainly Soviet militaria and myself, I've got the helmet bug. So, what to do with all the STUFF we have accumulated? I think I'm of the same opinion of the other posters and we'll just keep it around, you just never know what might tickle your next fancy or that you might be holding something that can be used for barter on another item. I'm sure as we loose interest in certain items we have, we'll just sell them off too.

    Happy collecting,

    Russ & Son

  8. #8

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    Thanks everyone! Glad I'm not the only one who has done this. I'm just gonna box up the stuff I don't want all that much. I have a seven year old cousin who is getting interested so maybe a bit of it will end up as a Christmas gift when he is old enough to take care of it.

  9. #9
    CBH is offline

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    Good tread , but no easy answers . I'm the same way too much stuff too little space . This forum has helped show me where my true interest lay . So like most collectors I should limit what I collect , but I can't resist a good bargain ! So I have US WW2, Korea and Vietnam now ,cause it was a bargain . But I do hope to sell or trade it off for items I'm more interested in . Someday LOL ! This forum should have a trade section , get rid of stuff and get more stuff all at the same time . Best of both worlds !
    Cheers Chris

  10. #10

    Default Re: Specializing My Collection?

    Specialisation is a good thing if you can keep to it. I wish I could practise what I preach!

    Buy the best possible condition items you can afford and buy what gives you pleasure. Research all items BEFORE parting with any cash.

    Buy books.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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