The collection of military regalia in former times.
This article is on another site, but it is informative especially to non citizens of the USA, of whom there are many, as well as to those newly arrived via the digital magic carpet,
who often seem to have difficulty understanding the perspectives and experiences of the founding generation and its formative experiences of these things.
Ohio Valley Military Society - Our History
02-24-2015 03:19 AM
I first glimpsed a hoard of German military regalia in the year 1961, when I was all of eight years old. It was in the possession of a school friend, and it was the most magical, extraordinary and remarkable thing I had seen. Needless to say, these enchanted things immediately became the object of play. War and threat of war was the norm from the start of my conscious life. I do recall B36 bombers in flight homeward over my home town, as well, in the year 1956. The nuclear duck and cover exercises in the year 1959 do I recall, as well. Such exercises were a leading part of first grade.
During the premiere of the Darryl Zanuck film, The Longest Day, in 1962, I saw a group of German insignia arranged in a display case at the theater, which was a shock. As a result, I received a EKI as a present from my father around that time. Thus began my collecting. The long time source for me was a stamp and coin store nearby, which had a steady stream of regalia. There did I secure the Dr. Breuer black uniform on or about 1967. The coin and stamp store was a source of fakes as well as real items, and I surely could scarcely tell the difference before I was thirteen. Nor was I in the least deterred that I was skewered with fake Luftwaffe caps or fake black SS uniforms. I vowed to find the real thing as in any novel in which the search for rare things figures as a script.
This is not my Pontiac. This is not my girl friend (mine have been equal to or better looking, actually) and I do own a copy of the Atwood book I bought around 1970.
The senior collectors when I began as a child had, themselves, collected German regalia as children in the 1930s. The war trophies of 1918 and the emptied quarter master warehouses of central Europe in 1919 gave them a feast. The great collections I knew had begun all prior to 1945 by this senior generation, whom I respected, engaged with, and listened carefully to their stories and guidance. One of these men had been in the occupation army in the American Zone of Germany in 1948, prior the currency reform, and had built his collection in the black market--even though such was against regulations. He was a wonderful mentor.
To be sure, there were also creeps and charlatans then with fakes and such, but no more so than was normal in life, and such creeps and charlatans of fake Nazi regalia in the 1960s had a certain charm to them. The coin stores, hock shops, attics and such of said epoch were much more a thing of sober reality than the odd and twisted depiction in television and otherwise of today of mythic barn finds and such.
I had very warm and cordial experiences with these senior collections, so much a contrast to the on line contention and frictions that are the norm today.
None of this regalia was treated like the crown jewels, and the sums involved were modest by today's standards, not the least because the prosperity of the epoch formed a tide that lifted all boats.
Nor was there any of this Spenglerian decline and fall of military regalia claptrap that suffocates especially the ding dong site, where one is regaled about the shift of generations, and how, next year for certain,
this regalia will all moulder like so many rotten cabbages in an empty field gathered in murk.
As one whose span of experience reaches from the-now-vanished-lives of his mentors to the present, the article from the OVMS is very interesting.
Last edited by Friedrich-Berthold; 02-24-2015 at 11:35 PM.
I am not a member of the OVMS and I do not attend these glamor shows. All this notwithstanding, I did learn from this article and find it illuminating as I am more than jaded.
The proprietors are free to move this item to a location they deem correct.
Thank you, dear colleague.
I am often more intrigued in how something got from 1945 until the day before yesterday than how it got from 1935 until 1945, but the latter is urgent, too.
I remember going t one of the early OVMS shows when it was held in the basement of a motel in the Cincinnati area. I joined and was member #71!
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
We salute you!
by BOB COLEMAN
Very interesting thread, thanks mate.