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Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

Article about: The SS is my favourite subject by far. Unfortunately I have to stick to reading, studying forums and drooling at SS items as they are beyond my financial reach. If I ever gave in to buying S

  1. #1

    Default Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    I'm thinking of headgear in particular. An SS officer's cap (with braided chinstrap) will run almost 10,000 USD while a Heer officer's hat runs about 1,000.

    Were they really that much more scarce? At its peak, the SS were not small or "elite" at all. It was quite large an non-selective. I take it still less than the army though, and so less caps were made overall? Or is it simply because SS caps are more in demand regardless of the numbers produced?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    Quote by locloc08 View Post
    I'm thinking of headgear in particular. An SS officer's cap (with braided chinstrap) will run almost 10,000 USD while a Heer officer's hat runs about 1,000.

    Were they really that much more scarce? At its peak, the SS were not small or "elite" at all. It was quite large an non-selective. I take it still less than the army though, and so less caps were made overall? Or is it simply because SS caps are more in demand regardless of the numbers produced?
    At the risk of being didactic, in fact, SS regalia was rare even in the III. Reich. The officer corps of the SS was actually fairly small compared to that of the three services, or especially the German army. I posted a chart on the sales of NSDAP, SA, SS regalia by a brauner Laden in the era prior to 1939 and it shows clearly that sales of SS material was low volume. Further, a lot of this material was used up and destroyed, and the demand for same in the internet era has shot through the roof. Ergo, the demand and the cost. I cannot wholly account for it, but SS material has always been rare and costly since I started in the middle 1960s.

    If you want an absence of heartache, do collect items that are interesting, but not in the lime light and so subject to berzerk market forces. I tried and I failed....the results you see here.
    damit, basta.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    Thank you for the insights. I love SS items--I find them hauntingly beautiful, and I've always longed to have an officer's hat. Alas, I will never own one. But that is how it goes. As you say, there are other things to discover and collect...

    Actually, interestingly enough, I could very well have had one barring certain unfortunate circumstances, which is perhaps partly why I want one so badly... My first piece of German militaria, a humble HJ dagger, was given to me by my Grandfather about two years ago. It was all he had left from things he had collected during the war. After being wounded in battle, all of the more desirable items he had on him that he had gotten a hold of were stolen from him in a hospital in England. These incluced, he tells me, an Iron Cross First Class, an infantry badge, a large flag, and an SS officer's cap (most likely NCO)! It's a shame somebody would steal them, suffice it to say the person who did was an actual bandit as well as making out like one... Ironically, he kept them on his person at all times out of fear of them being stolen.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    Quote by locloc08 View Post
    Thank you for the insights. I love SS items--I find them hauntingly beautiful, and I've always longed to have an officer's hat. Alas, I will never own one. But that is how it goes. As you say, there are other things to discover and collect, and I do have youth on my side.

    Actually, interestingly enough, I could very well have had one barring certain unfortunate circumstances, which is perhaps partly why I want one so badly... My first piece of German militaria, a humble HJ dagger, was given to me by my Grandfather about two years ago. It was all he had left from things he had collected during the war. After being wounded in battle, all of the more desirable items he had on him that he had gotten a hold of were stolen from him in a hospital in England. These incluced, he tells me, an Iron Cross First Class, an infantry badge, a large flag, and an SS officer's cap! It's a shame somebody would steal them, suffice it to say the person who did was an actual bandit as well as making out like one... Ironically, he kept them on his person at all times out of fear of them being stolen.
    This kind of thievery was quite frequent in the 'rear echelon' who would
    ravage combat mens packs of souvenirs and personal items.

    Iron Cross medals, Infantry badges and large flags are readily available,
    but so are replicas/fakes of same !
    Regards,


    Steve.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    True, I suppose the EK, infantry badge, and flag are no less 'desirable' than an HJ dagger. But to have collected an SS officer's cap is obviously something special. To steal is wrong enough. To steal from a wounded soldier in the hospital is just unspeakable to me..

    Obviously every bit of carrying space is crucial, and he told me that he didn't mind sacrificing a fair amount of it to keep that cap safe with him. Unfortunately it did not matter in the end...

  7. #6

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    I hope you can find such a cap at some point to satisfy your wishes. I wish I could get back the first of these I owned in the early 1970s.
    In fact, the things are almost plentiful on the sites at the moment, but at somewhat enormous sums of money. The latter is more scarce in the year 2010, surely.

    Good luck with your collecting.

    I had a grey silken one, too, actually. It was quite a spectacular piece which I bought in 1973. It came with a white Waffen SS tunic in the army cut with LAH insignia. I sold it to a noted collector hereabouts, to the late Heinz von Hungen whose name is familiar to some of you reading this, in fact. Long, long ago.

    This cap here is in the Shea/Beaver book by some quirk of fate.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bob clark wss x 2.JPG 
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    damit, basta.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    I agree that the SS was a small organization in comparison with the entire Wehrmacht. The availability is also a problem. A collector may choose from a plethora of Heer visor hats, but only a few SS visor hats. The competition, among both dealers and collectors, for SS material is serious. It is not uncommon for one of the 'glamour dealers' to pay full retail for visor hats, just to keep them from his competition. Then, when enough are accumulated, that dealer has the ability to set the new market standard. Of course, the cost of keeping a quality inventory is very dear and profits must be made, so the prices keep escallating.

    If you subscribe to the doom and gloom, 'the sky is falling', theory that the market for militaria will crash at any moment, you may wish to wait for these to become cheap and readily available. However, I will advise you that I have heard this from the early 1960s until today. Had I waited for this to happen, I would still be holding the few pieces that family members brought back, and nothing else.

    Surely, I would think there must be a limit, but to this day I have not seen it.

    Bob Hritz

  9. #8

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    I definitely do not subscribe to the doom-and-gloom theory, which is why I have learned to be content with the notion of never acquiring an example for myself, more or less.

    I've considered getting an original skull and eagle and displaying them on a replica cap. Though with the money required for that I could probably get a nice dagger of some sort instead

    Thanks, Bob, for the insights and H-B for the encouragement and for sharing your piece. Truly, if the market for militaria did indeed crash and I could get an authentic visor for cheap I would gladly. The monetary value of these pieces is an intriguing part of collecting for sure, but I like the history more.

  10. #9
    ?

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    They are expensive because Bob owns them all. :-)

  11. #10

    Default Re: Why are SS items so much more expensive than Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc.

    Quote by locloc08 View Post
    .... Truly, if the market for militaria did indeed crash and I could get an authentic visor for cheap I would gladly. The monetary value of these pieces is an intriguing part of collecting for sure, but I like the history more.
    I started collecting back in the mid '70 ties and saw the prices rise, when I sold my collection in the late '80 ties I couldn't imagine prices would keep on climbing, but they did.
    As a antique dealer I saw prices not realy crashing but going down for a long time, infecting different kind of objects and styles.
    Very nice periode cupboards are selling now for 75 % cheapper then they use to do 10 years ago.
    I always told my customers, long before the crash , that they better not buy as an investement but just because they like what they want to get at a price that they can afford.
    And that is how I started collecting militaria, again, nearly 2 years ago.
    PS I don't think to come to a ss officers cap eighter !!
    pps Yes, I collect ground dug's!
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

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