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Remembered Today:

Best source for budget but authentic WW1 militaria


Tom Harrison
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I am seeking a favour from those far more knowledgeable than I and today seems an incredibly appropriate date to ask. My 12 year old son is absolutely fascinated by WW1. He reads voraciously on the subject and does all sorts of extra school stuff relating to it - unlike in other subjects! So I am very keen to encourage his interest and would love to give him one or 2 items of authentic militaria from WW1 this Christmas (also his birthday). He has read and loves Harry's War and - because of this - my wife has bought him a cap badge for the Royal Warwickshire's but I'm worried it's a later copy (fake) having read up about it.

So, basically, I'd like to know where I can look for items such as badges, medals and possibly caps/helmets etc.(nothing too wallet-busting :)) that I can be sure are trustworthy. 

Any help or advice would be hugely appreciated.

We're based in High Wycombe should you be able to recommend dealers or fairs etc.

Thanks a million in advance.

Tom

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A Militaria Specialist is a good place to browse, handle items and also ask advice. It's not usually the cheapest option.

 eBay is another good place to look as it offers a wide range of items and prices, but with a lot of fake items it's not a gaurenteed bet for the novice. 

 Most Antique shops will have one or two items tucked away once you know what you are looking at and for.  Great bargains to be found in charity shops and at boot sales. 

 Happy hunting. 

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Best to start with infantry badges-many of the period can be bought for £10 or less- this is a badge forum: http://www.britishbadgeforum.com/  There are militaria fairs held at Farnham and Aldershot. There is a section on ebay under collectables/militaria for WWI items. Helmets and caps are likely to be more than £200. Regards, Paul. PS regards trustworthy- you just have to study your subject before you buy- even if you think a dealer 100% trustworthy- opinions on an item may differ and mistakes can be made- you have to be sure of what you are buying- no shortcuts.

Edited by Wardog
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Wardog and GWF1967; thank you very much for your swift and helpful replies. I shall follow all strands of advice, starting with the many charity shops nearby!

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Sad to say, there is no such thing as "budget" anymore. Dealers operate in packs and rapidly revise prices upwards to meet the going rate. In fairness, it's a living and they will seek to get the best (i.e. highest) price.  Add the anniversary factor, and "supply and demand" kicks in. 

 

Two illustrative examples (not WW1)

 

1. At a militaria and medals fair a while ago.  The "going" rate for a certain medal was under £100, and most dealers had it at £85-90.  But one dealer had his a £100. As I did several circuits, you could see the biros had come out and the price labels were being revised upwards.

 

2.  The Royal Observer Corps had a Long Service Medal, Until recently they were about £120 a go.  Then a dealer online started asking £200; the dominos fall and they are now £250 and more. I am not aware of a sudden shortage of ROC LSMs due to someone buying them all up. 

 

It is unusual that you will find anyone selling at huge discount to encourage new collectors, and therein lies the problem. Even "entry level" collecting is getting expensive. 

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3 hours ago, Staffsyeoman said:

Sad to say, there is no such thing as "budget" anymore. Dealers operate in packs and rapidly revise prices upwards to meet the going rate. In fairness, it's a living and they will seek to get the best (i.e. highest) price.  Add the anniversary factor, and "supply and demand" kicks in. 

 

Budget does exist! 

 An ASC pair with cap badge and shoulder titles finished at £25 with p&p on eBay Friday.  A great starter to my mind. 

 I travel nationwide, and love to rummage in antique and charity shops; the scruffier the better. Bargains include a £1 ID tag,  £4 bought an 18lb casing,  £15 a Metford  bayonet. 

 A brother in the antique trade helps too. 

 

 

 

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As Staffsyeoman has pointed out, you'll be lucky to find anything substantial that's "budget", plus there's the repro factor to consider. Caps and helmets will either be "budget busting", not original or hanging in shreds. One evocative piece still sometimes available reasonably is a 1908 pattern web belt. Green-blancoed 1918 dated examples turn up every so often and you might find one in the £30-40 range. Best bet is ebay or a militaria fair. If you want one of those, do an image search first so you know what you are looking for. Good unblancoed ones are considerably expensive, and anything spectacular or otherwise impressive is highly unlikely to be cheap.

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Depends,myself I like rusty-used"stuff"bought a very nice relic mauser recently .

rustyrelics

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The Princess Mary Gift Tin can still be bought for £30 if you look around. To my mind an iconic piece and a great Xmas present also useful for keeping those WW1 cap badges in!

 

If your son really gets hooked I advise investing in 'books' before 'bits'. While books can be expensive they often pay dividends saving you from reproductions or allowing you to seize a bargain.  The Campaign series are beautifully produced and illustrated in great detail. Not budget but very useful. Also Peter Doyle's Tommy's War is a good entry level book and much less costly.

 

regards

 

Mark 

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