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How to Start Collecting Military Collectibles

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military collectibles

Uniforms, flags, helmets, medals, weapons… there’s an astonishing variety of military collectibles out there.

The most prized artifacts are held in museums worldwide, but an equal number of no-less significant finds are held in private collections. If war things fascinate you? you can start a collection of your own.

But what should your first step be? Should you be researching online, niching down to your core interests, or attending auctions?

Below, we provide you with a brief lesson in militaria collecting 101. Read on to start your collection today!

Lock in Your Special Interests

Militaria collecting spans an incredible breadth of eras and types of memorabilia. First, consider where your interests lie.

Are you passionate about the weapons used during WWII? Perhaps you’ll take interest in the American Civil War items? Or do your interests extend even further back, say, for example, to the wars of medieval Europe?

Niching down on particular collectibles, wars, dates, or even specific battalions, will help your research and purchases process.

Set Some Collecting Goals

Next, consider what your goals for collecting are.

If you just want to fill a few frames with collectibles, like military badges, you can start small on sites like eBay or by rummaging around at local garage sales and estate auctions.

If you want to collect with investment in mind, you’ll need to focus on highly desirable military memorabilia and be prepared to pay higher prices for items.

And If you want to create a personal military museum in the basement, you’ll need to become an expert researcher so you can prove the authenticity of the items you purchase.

Invest in Research Resources

You’ll also need to start building a library of research material at home. There are numerous books on military artifacts—each specializing in a specific area of military antiques.

Head to online forums or military collectors’ Facebook groups and ask which books are best to get started with. Your local library should have a decent selection if you’re on a budget.

Auction catalogs are also helpful when determining how much you should pay for an item.

Always Pay Cash

When it comes to any collection, it’s good practice only to spend the cash you have on items. Don’t be tempted to pay for military regalia on credit—no matter how much you just have to have that piece!

Remember, the military doesn’t make one-off items. The piece you’re after will crop up again in the future, and you can be ready with the money you’ve saved to swoop it up.

Plus, impulse purchases tend to lead to regret. That’s because you don’t give yourself time to thoroughly research the item and ensure it’s authentic and suitable for your collection.

Focus on Military Collectibles You’re Passionate About

In general, military collectibles aren’t hard to come by.

If you’re collecting solely for your interest, you can focus on small, cheap, historically interesting items like medals or badges. However, if you hope to sell your collection for profit one day, you may need to dig into your research and be willing to pay more for your acquisitions.

For more interesting military-related content, look at the other articles on our blog.

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