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Farnham Militaria Fair - Hardly fair at all!


Guest Ian Bowbrick
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Guest Ian Bowbrick

I made a visit to last Sunday's fair at the Farnham Maltings and as the rhyme goes if you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise!

The £50 medal pair seems to have arrived!

Some examples I scribbled down:

British War/Victory Medal pair to a soldier of the Buffs non-casualty £52

British War/Victory Medal pair to a soldier of the MGC non casulaty £46

British War Medal to a Gunner of the RA non casualty £23

Victory Medal to a Driver ASC non casulaty £15

Victory Medal to a soldier of the Dorset Regt non casualty £18

British War Medal to a soldier of the Hampshire Regt non casualty £25

Well I know Farnham is on the Surrey/Hampshire border and a bit posh but really..........

When I challenged a few dealers all I got was 'I can get more on eBay' or 'This stuff is getting harder to find'. Unfortunately they forgot the third and more likely explanation 'I'm greedy and out for a quick buck' :ph34r:

Ian

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British War/Victory Medal pair to a soldier of the Buffs non-casualty £52

British War/Victory Medal pair to a soldier of the MGC non casulaty £46

British War Medal to a Gunner of the RA non casualty £23

Victory Medal to a Driver ASC non casulaty £15

Victory Medal to a soldier of the Dorset Regt non casualty £18

British War Medal to a soldier of the Hampshire Regt non casualty £25

Hahahahahahaahahahahahah gibber gibber :lol:

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And you think it is only in GB like that???

Come and visit Flemish or French fairs... atleast as expensive ;)

Or flee markets. You ask the price, and you hear something as "this is from the war, it is very, very rare, so i want 25 euro. Then you have to lay back the rusted relic enfield bayonet. And you think: " I better bought that one on the fair" :D

Just an experience.

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But Ian you are a dealer as well, surely one would try to maximise proifit as much as possible! ;)

When I challenged a few dealers all I got was 'I can get more on eBay' or 'This stuff is getting harder to find'

This is mostly true nowadays. Ebay has certainly changed things and market forces will always decide prices - there are a lot more collectors chasing a lot less merchandise. BTW, I was talking to a dealer at Watford a week ago regarding the silly prices for plaques - he mentioned a collecter friend who had been buying them for 20 years and had 600 odd...quite a stash at current eBay prices.

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It's what the market will bear: do you want it at near the asking price, or not? If not, someone else will.

I collect Military Manuals and have done so for 40 years. Yes, I had some good items at £1 to £5. But nowadays, I look at the book before the price. I am, I suppose, an expert. So I ask myself how much is it worth to me. If the marked price is in the same ball-park, I haggle. If the same or less, I haggle!

But the bottom line is, these matters are market-driven, and if you can't stand the heat ......

I paid £45 last month for a not-very-good specimen on Military Mining: I really needed it to complete a set, and paid £5 less than the asking.

Life's a bitch, as Clint said.

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Collecting (c1980's-90's) for me used to be hitting the medals shows every other weekend, anxiously awaiting the dealer lists in the mail, and daily trades with other collectors over the phone. In those days C$20 could buy you a Pair to any line regiment, C$35 a Trio. A Trio with Plaque was C$125 at best. I used to swap and buy MM's like they were fast food! I remember trading into two brilliant officer brother groups (Complete with all medals, plaques and scrolls!) I got them for C$250 in trade. (My first KIA Isandlwana Zulu Medal was C$750...Today the same medal is approx. $10,000 USD)

I would never think twice about picking up any group, even if it wasn't exactly what I wanted, because why not....its only $100! I don't really know for sure but in my hey-day I must have been picking up a group a week.

My how things have changed. Prices have reached the breaking point for me sadly. The group a week days, have turned into a group every three months or so. I just cant do it anymore.

I lay in bed at night counting all the DCM's, MC's, MM's and blow-your-mind groups I traded or sold for a song and dance in the 'old days'. If I only could have seen the future I would have held onto them like grim death!

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I have only been collecting about 3 years,I am however astounded how prices have risen in this time.

Gallantry groups in particular seem to have risen the most,when I first started I used to see MM and Trio groups going for £350 to £450,now those same groups are fetching more than double this,I don't know how much more the market can stand before we see prices stabilize for a while or perhaps even drop.

I visit some fairs and surf numerous dealers sites and it seems that some dealers don't seem to be shifting their stock,you see the same old stuff every time.

Some dealers pricing seems more resonable than others,there is definately an ellement of greed with some dealers though,at a London fair I attended earlier this year I was very suprised to see an Irish officer casualty group I had owned 9 months previously for sale at a dealers table for nearly 3 times what I had got for it from another dealer,who I know gave me a very good price that I was more than pleased with,I also know that he sold it on to a different dealer to the one who had it at the fair for a very fair price,I was also rather upset that it had been removed from the original wooden frame it was mounted in :angry:

I now have had to reveiw how often I buy as it is just getting out of hand.

Stu

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
But Ian you are a dealer as well, surely one would try to maximise proifit as much as possible!

Sir - I am not! :D

I have got into trading because I have re-focussed my collecting and sold or swapped that which I no longer have an interest in. In addition like most of us when I see a bargain be it at a boot or junk shop, I snap it up and will then sell it to fund perhaps another purchase.

Obviously when selling by auction there exists the risk that what I sell might not even break even, however I have been lucky in that respect. Particularly with MGC items :lol:

The other week I sold a postcard size photograph of a group of soldiers from the Suffolk Regiment. The final hammer price was £28. I was gobsmacked to say the least particularly when the buyer told me she was willing to go a lot higher - the reason - her grandfather was in the front row!

I can understand pulling the stops out and paying the odds for family related items and single medals to re-unite a set and a death plaque to addt o a group, but for a discrete item - its just madness......IMHO

Ian

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
And you think it is only in GB like that???

Come and visit Flemish or French fairs... atleast as expensive ;)

Or flee markets. You ask the price, and you hear something as "this is from the war, it is very, very rare, so i want 25 euro. Then you have to lay back the rusted relic enfield bayonet. And you think: " I better bought that one on the fair" :D

Just an experience.

Unfortunately it is a long time since I popped over to a Market on the Continent - thanks for the tip off!!

Cheers - Ian

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
It's what the market will bear: do you want it at near the asking price, or not? If not, someone else will.

Yes but surely this is a vicious circle - only those with money will be able to afford to collect seriously. As time goes on there will be fewer and fewer people with purses big enough to collect, to the point where no one will be able to afford anything.............perhaps by then the supply to the market will have dried up anyway :D

Ian

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Ian,

Hmmm...your description of your trading sort of makes you a dealer...allbeit a little one ;)

Yes but surely this is a vicious circle - only those with money will be able to afford to collect seriously.

I used to collect cameras as well as militaria and regularly attended the Christies camera auctions in Kensington looking for the odd bargain. The last occasion I attended there was a large American gentleman who simply sat there for 3 hours with his hand permanently in the air until the hammer fell on every lot. He purchased everything with a view to creating an instant museum - there are lots of very rich people about who now via eBay have access to that which before money could not buy - a seemingly bottomless supply of militaria at the end of a computer screen.

It's not just militaria, every collectible commodity has seen price rises. eBay, as we all know, allows every collector across the entire World to view every collectible offered online. And many of them are a lot richer than you and I!

Mind you, I don't collect medals thank goodness - sorry, but I have never seen the fascination with having countless similar examples with varying names...

:o

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I am personaly amazed how some prices are artificial freezed, like german WW2 stuff. To me worthless + a lot, a lot of copy.

If all SS helmets on a fair where once really used, how could Germany lose the war then??? ;)

And also: is a German helmet rare??? <_< nope! So why so expensive? You can find them quite easy. But can you find a real Greek helmet? Nope, i have one, but for most it is worthless...

Stange world that of collectors...

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
Isn't this just market forces at work? More demand than supply = rising price.

Chris - Yes but like the housing market isn't there a risk of the market crashing?

Lets say interest rates increase considerably ovetr the next few months. People will have less spare cash to spend and will naturally cut back on the non-essentials such as hobbies and before you know the number of willing and able paying customers has shrunk. Prices are lowered to achieve sales, zero or very little profit is made and people who are full time professional dealers cannot sustain a business at that profit margin without increasing considerably their turnover and so they go bust!

Anyway I have never seen a market for RA/ASC medals so why stack the prices on these?

Intertesting - Ian

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
I am personaly amazed how some prices are artificial freezed, like german WW2 stuff. To me worthless + a lot, a lot of copy.

If all SS helmets on a fair where once really used, how could Germany lose the war then??? ;)

And also: is a German helmet rare??? <_< nope! So why so expensive? You can find them quite easy. But can you find a real Greek helmet? Nope, i have one, but for most it is worthless...

Stange world that of collectors...

How did the Germans lose WW2 - well that is quite a lengthy discussion!!

But I take your point about the number of fake German WW2 items.

So why is your Greek helmet worth less than the German article - well the Greeks didn't exactly conquer a large proportion of the world in the 20th century, enslave most of Europe and reach the Gates of Stalingrad!

Whilst I have no time for Nazis, the German soldier in WW2 as an individual was one of the most formidable that has ever stepped on to the battlefield.

IMHO

Ian

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Must agree with Ian; I have nothing but contempt for Nazism, but the German fighting man was quite a soldier. My father's comments from Sicily/Italy/NW Europe, and what I have been told of my grandfather's opinions from 14-18 seem to be in complete accord. The German soldier was second to none.

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Prices for British coins had a ridiculous increase in the late 70's and early 80's and then crashed , pretty much in the way that Ian suggests might happen. Some pieces have only just recovered to these prices. Classic cars had a similar experience.

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
Prices for British coins had a ridiculous increase in the late 70's and early 80's and then crashed , pretty much in the way that Ian suggests might happen. Some pieces have only just recovered to these prices. Classic cars had a similar experience.

Ian,

I had forgotten about that - perhaps I have predicted the start of the decline, but as you have stated a precident was set with coins so why not medals/militaria?

IanB

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How can hobbies hope to survive as the passion of the common man if prices continue to rise? New collectors will not be able to fund even basic pairs soon-even though I've collected medals and badges for 20 years and have traded sets of medal in reflection i was mad to get rid of.I have to look twice at even what used to be normal run of the mill pairs. <_<

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Guest Ian Bowbrick
How can hobbies hope to survive as the passion of the common man if prices continue to rise? New collectors will not be able to fund even basic pairs soon-even though I've collected medals and badges for 20 years and have traded sets of medal in reflection i was mad to get rid of.I have to look twice at even what used to be normal run of the mill pairs. <_<

Too right - its called pricing your self out of the market. :(

Ian

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"Whilst I have no time for Nazis, the German soldier in WW2 as an individual was one of the most formidable that has ever stepped on to the battlefield."

An aside

I remember talking to an old soldier once. Having made a comment similar to the above he said. 'I don't know what that's all about, Everytime we met them we beat them!'

He had served in North Africa and Italy.

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Just out of interest, whereas other named British and Commonwealth medals are enjoying an unprecedented boom (and, from an entirely selfish point of view will hopefully enjoy a consequent slump back to more 'sensible' prices), I am perplexed by how cheap WW2 South African medals continue to be.

These are officially named and can be researched quite thoroughly; oftentimes they represent service at key battles or campaigns; and what is more the buyer can be assured that they are a genuine set (unlike equivalent British medals in boxes or with named TEM). Why then, can a group of 6-7 to a prominant SA Infantry or Cavalry regiment sell for as little as £50? Bizarre. (I realise the 1945-94 history of that nation may put off a few, but when you compare it to similarly discriminatory (if far more tacit) policies in Australia until the 70s, whose medals are still highly sought after, or those who collect Nazi militaria, again attracting immense profits, it is doubly perplexing.)

Cheers

Richard

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Guest Mrbeancounter

IanB

Quite right - Frame that mail! Don't say we weren't warned!

Not all collectors have the funds of Michael Ashcroft and his 100 VC collection!

On the Ebay front, talk of the supply drying up is exaggerated. I suggest there is increasing supply as many non-collectors are putting medals they find up for sale. Just look at the mislistings, poor descriptions and split ups that are there.

These are medals that would never have otherwise entered the market.

Collecting remains the most discretionary spending of all - The first to evaporate when council tax, mortgage rates, school fees etc go up

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