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Early youth collecting experience

Article about: Hi friends, I wonder if it might be a fun exercise to look back at our early days as budding collectors. I started to be interested in military artifacts at around age 15 in 1975. The circa

  1. #1

    Default Early youth collecting experience

    Hi friends, I wonder if it might be a fun exercise to look back at our early days as budding collectors. I started to be interested in military artifacts at around age 15 in 1975. The circa 1976 photo shows one of my earliest acquisitions - an M16 Stahlhelm and gas mask both attributed to the same soldier Grenadier Brunnlieb. I could not resist donning it back then. Of course, I would not think of doing that now! I still have both items although the chin strap disintegrated shortly after the purchase. They were sold to me by a retired postman who would drive up in his car, open the trunk and ask "what do you want?" NH

    $75 for the helmet and $50 for the gas mask back then.


  2. #2


    If only we had deals like that now.. I'm digging all of the classic soda bottles, too!

  3. #3
    MAP is offline



    I have no photos but I too used to put on the gas mask and helmet as well as a sporterized K98 and watch WW2 movies with my Dad! They were WW2, not WW1.
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  4. #4


    I will have to have a dig in my granddads old photo albums to see what I have.
    I started collecting in 1985 when I was 6.
    Granddad gave me my first helmet and Dad gave me his medals.
    I inherited my family's gear and small bits and pieces that I would see in junk shops.
    It all lived in boxes for many many years. long story, but half of it went missing when I came back home after 6 years travelling.
    Took another 6 years to get back in the mood to collect.
    Always remember suiting up in granddads gear, helmet, canteen, knife, compass, bag of rocks (grenades) and cap gun and we would go on missions to an island behind their house.
    You could only get to it at low tide.
    Remember the seven S's and watch for traps he would joke. then we would charge a machine gun nest he set up.
    ammo were cans of beer, that I also carried and he would call for ammo at certain times. Damn I miss that crazy old bastard.

  5. #5


    Were the cans full!? It must've been fun if they were and he kept running low on ammunition..

  6. #6


    They were full alright!!
    War is thirsty work, and he was always running low on ammo.
    We would end up throwing rocks at the empty cans later as they had turned into enemy snipers.
    I have a fuzzy memory of making a bow and arrow out of bamboo and hitting cans with him.
    he showed me how to make a 7 minute bomb with matches and a cigarette.
    Granddad was ex - SAS.

  7. #7


    Coolest granddad ever! Both of mine could never do things like that with me, unfortunately.. Wore themselves out working since the age of 14 to try to save my province's failing industry.. I still remember my late Pop Baker playing with LEGO soldiers with me. My other grandpa helps me collect, so it's still in good fun. Can't say I haven't done the same with empty soda cans when hanging out with my little cousins, either

  8. #8


    My Marine Corps collection 15-16 years ago, when I was just starting out with focus has changed many times over the years, but I still have all the pieces shown here
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9


    Some of us were just born with the collecting gene. It's like I tell my
    wife----I can't help it, I was born this way.

    As a young boy, we moved around a lot. So I collected rocks from the different
    states and places I had lived. One of my earliest collections was the little
    plastic drink swords (swizzle sticks) that my stepdad would bring home from the bar.

    By the time I was 9, I was collection US shoulder patches. I bought my first bayonet
    when I was 12 and it's just gotten worse from there.

    I guess it's time to get to another meeting---
    "Hello, My name is Greg and I collect stuff"
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  10. #10


    Interesting reminiscences of early collecting. I think most people who collect, be it stamps, militaria, Art or cars, start collecting something as a child. A psychologist could probably describe the personality type, we are probably all of similar personality. My brother in law was an extreme case, never opening the boxed toys he received for Christmas or birthdays, saving them in mint condition. He still has them.
    I started with stamp collecting then moved on to the more interesting militaria collecting when I was 14, fueled by my grandfather's periodic gifts (a veteran of two world wars) of military pieces he had acquired. I was hooked then and the interest never diminished apart from parking the hobby while we had small children and less money.

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