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Where to start?

Article about: I bumped into this site by accident but after a few days of reading, I have to admit I'm tempted to start my own collection. It's an expensive hobby, so I'd like to ask some questions first.

  1. #1
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    Default Where to start?

    I bumped into this site by accident but after a few days of reading, I have to admit I'm tempted to start my own collection.

    It's an expensive hobby, so I'd like to ask some questions first.


    1) Where should I buy my first piece? Any places online you'd recommend? Or is online not the way to go?

    2) Do items increase or decrease in value over time? My conscience would feel better seeing it as an "investment".

    3) I personally don't care if something looks old, used and rusty. I even like how that looks. But is it a bad investment?



    These and any other tips you might have for a beginner are much appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Where to start?

    you can start with me...,,but seriously now,,,some items are a good investment,,,some of the more common items do not appreciate much as rarer and better conditioned items,,,,if i personally were starting today,,i would look to the the investment possibilities of items,but if the purse strings are constricted,,the common and less expensive(as this hobby is very expensive most of the time)items will also appreciate in value,but perhaps not as much,,,my one piece of advice to you is:buy books and learn about what you intend to collect,,,,Happy Buying!,,,,Robert

  3. #3

    Default Re: Where to start?

    Hi Kris, welcome to the forum and potentially the hobby!

    1) Buy what makes you happy, it is after all, about enjoyment. Online buying is fine. But buy from an established dealer who offers a meaningful money back guarantee. Show whatever you are interested in on the forum first no matter what. Buying books is sound advice from Robert.

    2) Good quality militaria will never ever go down in value. I never look upon it as an investment as such as I very rarely sell anything. I have been collecting 34 years and values have always risen.

    3) Buy only the best possible condition items you can afford. These will return the best investment. Never ever buy broken or damaged items as these might be cheap, but will never appreciate in value like a good quality item.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Where to start?

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi Kris, welcome to the forum and potentially the hobby!

    1) Buy what makes you happy, it is after all, about enjoyment. Online buying is fine. But buy from an established dealer who offers a meaningful money back guarantee. Show whatever you are interested in on the forum first no matter what. Buying books is sound advice from Robert.

    2) Good quality militaria will never ever go down in value. I never look upon it as an investment as such as I very rarely sell anything. I have been collecting 34 years and values have always risen.

    3) Buy only the best possible condition items you can afford. These will return the best investment. Never ever buy broken or damaged items as these might be cheap, but will never appreciate in value like a good quality item.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Hi, Kris, Welcome to the forum !

    Sound advice from the above members................!

    Some collectors choose or focus on a certain type of item in a specific era,
    such as WWII German helmets..........Your pocketbook will be a deciding
    factor as well - plus the time and effort involved in learning all you can
    about your chosen area or subject.

    This can be a truly enjoyable and rewarding lifetime hobby, not only for
    the investment, but also the historical side of these artifacts. There is
    a certain awe and excitement in knowing that some of our pieces
    may have been used in great battles, or to commemorate
    or reward heroic and desperate actions, etc.



    On a lighter note;

    We tend to start out with cloth patches, badges or medals early on,
    then branch off to other areas, until the disease has taken a firm
    hold and you end up with a whole house full of stuff the wife
    can't stand looking at and could care less about......!
    Regards,


    Steve.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where to start?

    Hmmm, advice on this hobby......how about forget you even thought about taking it up as a hobby!! It's addictive, expensive, ruins marriages....I'm just kidding! It's actually quite fun if you remember to enjoy yourself while doing it...

    First, great advice above given by some of the most respected people on this forum.

    To add my two cents, you may want to steer clear initially of online purchases. Especially from online auction sites as these can be riddled with fakes. This however varies depending on your area of collecting. As an example, WWII German items are faked more often than WWII US items. Not to say US items aren't faked, but is more lucrative for individuals to fake German items in most cases than US. Don't get me wrong, though. There are a lot of respected dealers out there so you should not rule out online purchases altogether. Personally, I have been collecting for 3 years now and have only made three online purchases. I much prefer hunting the items down locally as this adds to the enjoyment of collecting for me.

    Your best bet, if you are able to, is to start by going to places where you can see and hold the items you intend on collecting. Try searching for local antique shops/co-ops or flea markets. On top of being able to handle the item(s), you are more likely to get a good deal on the price as most military dealer websites charge top dollar for an item. In addition, local gun and military shows can open you up to all types of militaria. Be wary still as fakes can be found at all of these locations as well. Sometimes the seller doesn't even know the item isn't authentic; other times they do and just want to make a buck at your expense.

    Research prior to purchasing is key as stated above. As also stated, posting photos of the items on this forum prior to purchasing will help to save you lots of money and avoid disappointment.

    To add to Ade's first comment, most respected dealers will offer a money back guarantee on the item if you are not pleased or unsure of its authenticity. Steer clear if this is not the case unless you are 100% positive the item is authentic. Also, for online orders, avoid cash payments as there is no protection for you. If possible, use PayPal or a US postal money order. With these services, you are somewhat protected if the item is never received.

    I'll close with the best piece of advice next to research, which is buy the item, not the story. A lot of sellers will add a grand story to the item, such as "this was Hitler's personal toilet paper". Unless they are able to provide indisputable evidence of the items provenance, then assume the seller is full of it.

    In any case, make sure you enjoy yourself and good luck on your hunt!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where to start?

    One other bit of advice; after you have decided an area or era to collect, mention it to friends and family. You'll be suprised how many people come out and say, "Really? I have my grandfathers old helmet sitting in the attic. It's just collecting dust up there, would you want to buy it?". Some of the nicest peices in my collection were purchased from coworkers and friends whom I was discussing this hobby with.

    The great things about this is, most of the time the items are in mint condition because they haven't been passed through 50 different peoples hands.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where to start?

    Wow, great advice, thanks a lot everyone!

    I'm really excited about this! :-)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Where to start?

    Kris

    Alternatively you could do what I do. Dig up your own relics. Not only do you get the thrill of getting a relic that was last touched by someone in WW2, but you also know YOU found it !

    Buy a metal detector, do some research and then visit old battlefields, airbases, POW camps etc and dig up your own stuff. Here's a link to my cabinets. It's a bit old now and I now have more cabinets but it'll give you an idea of what you can find with the right motivation.

    http://warrelics.eu/forum/collection...updated-14089/

    That lot took around 3 years to amass

    And as Ade says........buy whatever makes you happy. If you want to collect de-act weapons - go for it ! Old boots and socks ? Go for it ! Cartridges ? Go for it ! Old chewing gum ? ............ i could go on.

    Best of luck and let us see what you want to buy before you buy it. There's lots of fakes out there for the unwary or new collector.

    Cheers

    Steve T

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Where to start?

    Thanks Steve. You have an amazing collection, and it must be even more special to you since you found it yourself.

    It must be awesome to search stuff with a metal detector. Unfortunately, my life is a little too busy (2 jobs) to do this at the moment.



    And thanks again for everyone who posted here. I'm still full of questions, but I think I should do some research myself before bothering other people.

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