Whether it’s a common cap badge or a Centurion tank that you seek to buy there are some pretty common tips for walking away far happier from the deal.
The world abounds with sellers on everything from ebay and small hobby sites like ours to some of the world’s biggest US and UK dealers.
Irrespective of where you shop for your military antiques, collectibles and gear the following tips are worth taking into account.
Use Google as the ultimate Recce tool
These days Google is truly the friend and research tool of the militaria buyer. It can reduce our chances of being ripped off and enables us to thoroughly research any given item and also the telltale signs of whether it might be real or fake.
We can also compare the prices for the same item in various conditions in various countries to see how just any given sale compares.
Unfortunately Google also makes the true bargain a rare thing indeed, as prices being compared globally for virtually all militaria items tends to level the playing field for all concerned.
So do your homework and make the research part of the fun of collecting the items.
Visit / join some forums
There are forums of subject matter experts everywhere these days for badges, daggers, helmets, uniforms, vehicles etc etc.
Of course there are a fair share of ‘nutters’ and ‘rivet counters’ on these forums, but they can be an absolute goldmine of knowledge, expertise and warning signs of potential pitfalls with fakes and rip off merchants.
If you find a good forum with sensible and conscientious contributors your knowledge in virtually any field of collecting can truly be accelerated.
Usually requests for info from new collectors is met with respect and a genuine desire to share knowledge on the good forums, but be psychologically prepared for the occasional nut-job and / or political extremist on some of them.
Be happy before you click buy
Buyers remorse can hurt.
We have all made that impulse purchase where once we discover that the item doesn’t fit our collection or budget we get set to try and unload it to mates at a swap meet or online.
Collecting militaria can be a huge amount of fun, and a rewarding hobby, but it can also be a drain on the finances for the bower birds who click before they think or buy without the proper research being done beforehand.
For those with shopfronts or websites it’s easier to move the stuff they don’t want, but for an aspiring collector being stuck with an unwanted item can tie up funds that could be used for stuff you really want and make it hard to unload for what you laid out.