Most people collect militaria because of a relative who served their country, and it acts as a memento of their heroic efforts. There is a popular belief that militaria collectors glorify war, but we have not found that to be the case. In fact, most militaria collectors are historians at heart and collect for intellectual purposes. We have some clients who only
collect from their respective home country.
There are some aspects of militaria we prefer not to deal in, but there are plenty of other examples that are historical, exciting and important as a link between the present and the past. Indeed there is an odd sense of beauty, when holding in your hand something that was a prized possession of an American patriot. Patriotism runs deep in our country, and military collecting from the Revolutionary War is a mainstay of many freedom-loving Americans.
Today we will discuss common bits of militaria that most everyone has, high-value items and premium items. While there are exceptions, we usually only pay $10 to $100 for dog tags, mess kits, canteens and entrenching tools; although
some Civil War canteens can be quite valuable.
Valuable Military Medals
A little more sought after are prestigious medals, military wristwatches, aviator sunglasses and black crackle Zippo lighters. Premium items that often bring $500 or more are leather bomber jackets, US Navy diving helmets, parachute
jumper jackets, katanas, Japanese swords, daggers, rare squadron patches and more.
While not always true, typically, the older the item the more valuable – with the Revolutionary War, the War
of 1812, the so-called Indian wars and the Civil War leading the way. Items from World War I, World War II, and even the war in Vietnam can be valuable. So prevalent is the world of military material that we have one house expert whose job is solely working in that subject.
One of our most interesting purchases was this collection of medals that we bought from the son of Claes Westring, who was known as the Swedish Schindler because of his heroic efforts saving Norwegian Jews in defiance of the
Quislings. The value of the medals individually is around $2,000 total, but because of the provenance and who owned it, we value it at over $10,000. See our large ad in another section of today’s paper that outlines some of the militaria items we are buying.
This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.