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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Brian Wolfe

Senior Moderator
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About Brian Wolfe

  • Rank
    Senior Moderator
  • Birthday 06/08/1948

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Medals: British and India (post 1947), Special Constabulary and a few others.
    General: Staffordshire and British Police memorabilia
    Plus odds and ends that capture my interest from time to time.

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  1. The Value of a Collection

    Hi 2dresq, Thank you for your comment, all very valid points. As you said you can't take it with you and unless my health fails and the kids put me in a "home" I'll be collecting until I stop breathing. Then again if I am on life support and assisted breathing I will be collecting online. The photo I included is of only a portion of my collection as I felt I needed to add some sort of photo with this blog. At least this time it was more relavent than usual. You have also hit on the very thing that makes the GMIC a great place to belong to in that we do make friends here, and many of them long term friends. By the way I really do like your avitar name, very cleaver and leaves me wondering about the inpiration for its creation. Well done. Thanks again for your response. Regards Brian
  2. Very nice helmets and especially since they belonged to your father. Thanks for sharing them with us. Regards Brian
  3. Group to Swr./L.D./C.L.D./Nb.Ris. J.S.Sandhu AC

    Hello anand singh, Thank you for your comments. I just checked the naming of these medals and the 9 year medal must have been impressed incorrectly as it is indeed CLD. Your suggestion certainly would be the logical progression in rank. I will make the changes to my records. Many thanks. Regards Brian
  4. The Value of a Collection

    The Value of a Collection A lot is said by collectors as to what their collection is worth. Last month I threw out a subject for dialogue regarding the use of avatar names on the Social Network sites and one of the comments was in regard to collection value; more specifically that there is a need for anonymity to help prevent theft. This is a very valid point indeed and one that could generate much discussion on its own merit. It has been pointed out that one may even discover someone’s identity if they use an avatar on eBay, for example, and their proper name here on the GMIC. This may be accomplished by paying attention of what is in the background of the picture of the posted item for sale then noticing the same background here on this forum. I’ve seen this myself in regard to one of the GMIC members who also sells on eBay, though I only know his real name as we both have been members here for a long time. I am also guilty of this in that I used to sell a lot on eBay and always employed the same grey corduroy back drop cloth in every photo both on eBay and on the GMIC. I usually wait until later in a Blog to get sidetracked but this time I started with being distracted, though it may be argued that it was after the first paragraph when this blog went off the rails, so-to-speak. I leave that up to you. One comment, last month regarding security started me thinking, which is the very reason for these Blogs, about my collection and the attractiveness to criminals that it might present. I do have a security system but not of the James Bond laser, poison gas type. The concept that someone could easily cut the phone lines just outside of the house has been eliminated when I built a shop attached to the side of the dwelling. The lines all remained in the same location and the shop was built over them so the lines are eight feet below the surface of the yard and enter the dwelling inside the shop. We live in a small community and an extremely quiet neighbourhood where the biggest event of the year is when the first robin arrives back from the south in the spring. So it is a fairly safe and secure neighbourhood in a small and low-crime town. This left me with looking at what my collection was actually worth and with this exercise came a rude awakening. Exactly what is any collection worth? Certainly if you have kept good records of the amount paid out for your collectables you could state the cost of a collection. Probably a figure best kept locked away in a secret safety deposit box and the key hidden from your spouse. What you paid and what it is actually worth are two completely different figures. If a criminal broke in and was able to steal whatever they wanted what would they take? Firearms would be on the top of the list I am sure and then anything they could easily sell, usually to support their drug habit. Unless you have diamond encrusted military awards or solid gold medals the criminal may have to sort through dozens, perhaps hundreds of military medals in order to take only those made of silver. Keep in mind most thieves are “grab and run” types and do not take the time to sort, especially if an alarm system is blaring away. Most pawn shops are hesitant to take in any quantity of so-called collectables, though anything that could be easily melted down may be more desirable to the less honest pawn shop owner. I would say that electronics would present a more attractive target than 200 bayonets, even with their original scabbards. Moving on from the possibility of criminal activity because you have either taken precautions to “harden the target” (police terminology) or preserved your anonymity by not allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry in to see your collection, let’s look at post mortem sales. This may be the fate of a lot of our collections. Certainly our own mortality is not in question; unless you have found out something I haven’t. If you have, sharing it would be much appreciated. So here we are in a state of personal extinction, dead as a dodo bird and securely under six feet of dirt, with your collection in the hands of your heirs. I have found that spouses and family are fairly quick to dispose of the deceased collector’s hoard. It is not because of greed and the desire to pick the carcass of the estate clean, in most cases, at least in my opinion. It is a time of grief and your collection is a small part of the whole issue at hand. One should never discount how much your hobby has irritated the family and their point of view may not be that of the selfless parent or spouse but rather has always been a silent point of contention. There may be a small bit of resentment over the time and money you have lavished on your collection, time and attention, if not money, that could and should have been spent on them. This could be a moment of self-reflection for me, if it were not for my deep seated lack of empathy; my dear wife calls me her, “cold hearted old bastard”; that rather sums me up on so many levels. In retaliation I call her, “yes dear”. Perhaps that should make me even more reflective but, nope, it doesn’t. I’m sure my collection will be sold as soon as they can pry it from my cold dead fingers. At least I hope they will wait that long. So you are gone and your heirs go to a dealer or two and offer your collection for sale. What could they expect to see out of your “investment”? We’ve all heard such discussions between collectors and it usually goes something like this, “Those @#$%& bastards (dealers) will only give you ten cents on the dollar”. With this in mind I asked around and found that the range from those dealers who would actually offer an estimate varied greatly. The highest was from an American source at 60 cents on the dollar with the average here in Ontario at 20 to 25 cents on the dollar, Australia came in around the same as here. Bear in mind that any dealer must consider the purchase of a whole collection as a long term investment tying his money up perhaps for years. The highest estimate was from a collector/dealer with the lowest estimate from a dealer with a “brick and mortar” shop and therefore with the highest amount of overhead to cover monthly expenses. The average came from dealers who set up at shows with little to no overhead. Looking over my own collection, which includes firearms (all deactivated except my muskets, they are all in working order), I realize that I have two room filled with history’s unwanted junk. Obsolete tools of war and medals to persons long gone that tell no real story on their own. All items that any self-respecting thief (an oxymoron is I ever wrote one) would not risk his freedom to take. This, you may think, would be a bit sobering, even depressing for me and it would if I weren’t so self-absorbed and believed my collection is indeed my treasure trove of historically significant objects. So what is your collection really worth? To others perhaps an average of 40 cents on the dollar for your investment but more importantly to people like us it’s priceless. Happy collecting! Regards Brian
  5. Avatar Names; Why?

    Thank you for your comments "E". One of the issues I have problems with, keeping in mind that my wife says that I am the most paranoid person she knows, is allowing anyone to view my collection. Unless the person in question has been known to me for quite a while and we have built a relationship based on trust I simply am not interested in "showing" my collection. Most of these trusted friends are fellow collectors of like mind when it comes to security. There are those who might look at my deactivated automatic weapons collection and then through the telling and retelling of the story gets to the "street" as this crazy old guy who is sitting on a pile of working machine guns. Not a story you want to be told around the wrong crowd. The crazy old man part notwithstanding. I know of one fellow who will change his avitar on a regular basis because he has a following on the internet and is seen, rightfully so, as an expert on one particular brand of sporting rifle. He is known as Mr.(the band name of the company) and other collectors watch the on line auctions and if he is a bidder they know the item has to be rare. This drives the closing price up. His changing of his avitar is not so much security as it is economic, which is still a good enough reason not to use your own name making it even easier for others to watch your movements. On a more positive note. One evening a decade ago the phone rang and it was a fellow GMIC member calling me from the other side of the word wanting to speak with me in person, so-to-speak. He had easily traced me though the internet. The fellow and I have been very good friends ever since, communicating several times a week through email and once in a while through Skype. I will leave this entry with the thought that using your name rather than an avitar is not completely a bad idea; nor is it totally a safe one. Regards Brian
  6. Avatar Names; Why?

    Thanks for your comment Ulsterman, All good points from the membership and ones I would agree with completely. I recall that incident you have mentioned, not the high note in the collecting world to say the least. Using my own name certianly makes me think twice about blurting out some comment that I would regret later. On the other hand if I decided to "take on" a knob such as the one you mentioned it would be without reservatiion. For the most part those on the internet out to do harm are rarely worth the time to get into a confrontation, I just can't be borthered to put in the effort as they are not worth my time. Regards Brian
  7. Hi fellows, I’m sure there were many examples of use what you have the budget is tanked in the past. I really like my “Canadian” helmet even though it is in the poorest condition of the rest of the collection. Regards Brian
  8. When I first read this post I thought to myself that I have a Canadian police helmet and photo that the members in this section might find interesting. It has literally taken me this long to locate the photo to show as proof of sorts that the helmet and badge belong together as one can alter any helmet to support a claim. I should not refer to this post as a “claim” as I am not claiming anything only showing what I have in my collection regarding the helmet plate versus the hat badge in use. I agree with everything that has been said here by people obviously more informed than me. No, I am not stroking egos here, just facing facts that I am in unfamiliar waters. So please be kind when you respond as I propose no argument. A number of years ago, possibly more than a decade past I was in an antiques shop in Barrie Ontario and saw a police helmet with a Canadian police hat badge attached. At lease I assumed it was a hat badge as it was too small to be a helmet plate. Beside the helmet was a photo of a police officer standing beside what I believe is a 1925 Studebaker. The officer is wearing a police helmet with a small badge, perhaps a hat badge affixed to the helmet. The dealer made no claim as to the helmet’s authenticity and from our conversation it was clear he knew nothing about police collectables, nor really cared for that matter. The photo he claimed came from St. Catharines Ontario and the police sign on the door supported this. He did say that the helmet came from the same “pick”. I hope the photo of the officer is clear enough to make out the badge. I am not sure why the helmet looks white perhaps a trick of the camera; my background in the helmet photo was white so as you can see cameras can be fooled. Perhaps St. Catharines Police Dept. used white helmets in the 1920s I have not researched that as I placed the photo in a box shortly after I purchased it and it has remained there ever since. The helmet was not over priced however the photo did not come cheaply at over four times the price of the helmet, making the helmet almost like a bonus for purchasing the photo. The helmet appears to be of an older style from its side profile as well as the inner parts being only a leather sweat band and attached chin strap. There are attachment holes and a faint outline of a former helmet plate from times past. If this is an original helmet then I would speculate that the helmet plate may have even been Victorian and after she passed way it was replaced, eventually, with a Kings Crown hat badge; perhaps as a money saving measure. I would think the forage hat with its smaller badge was at least in the planning stages as a replace the old helmets by the early 1920s. I hope you all find this interesting even though it really proves nothing unless it is that in collecting almost anything can happen. Regards Brian
  9. Avatar Names; Why?

    Hi Chris, "I use my pic as I am the lord of the rings :-) " And yet your wife has the ring that rules them all. You make a very good point and perhaps that alone condones the use of avatar names. The internet is full of people hiding behind their avatars while launching an attack on another's view point, religion or race. This was the point I was going for however your view is quite valid. From now on I am changing my avatar name to, "Not Brian Wolfe, some other guy not to be confused with the Brian Wolfe you might think it is". Too long? Regards Brian (or maybe some other fellow)
  10. Avatar Names; Why?

    Hi Paul, Thanks for your comments. I do agree with you and my comments were in regard to the Internet in general, especially social media. Here you will be stopped short if you get out of line, however this is not the case for much of the internet. I think forums are pretty good on the whole to keep insults and ignorant comments in check. My issue is with those who hide behind an avitar name mainly because they are to cowardly to take ownership of what they say. Personally I don't really care if people use avitar names as long as they remain respectful; after all, what's in a name anyway; a rose by any other name, so-to-speak. Regards Brian
  11. Avatar Names; Why?

    Avatar names; Why? What I would term as odd or bizarre human behaviour has always interested me and the search for why people act as they do has not only fascinated me but at times eluded my powers of comprehension. The person who said that there is nothing as funny as a barrel of monkeys obviously was not, at the time, situated in a room full of people. Since politics and religion are subjects non grata here on the GMIC, and rightfully so, I will resort to the plethora of other subjects that I personally find irritating; subjects upon which I obsess. Straight off I will say that I do not tend to keep up with modern lingo as used in today’s internet communications. Using the letter “n” to represent the word “and’ or ISO (in search of), IMO (in my opinion) and BRB (be right back) simply seems as foreign to me as putting maple syrup on your French fries (chips for those of the British persuasion). This brings me to today’s rant, so get ready as this is probably going to ruffle some feathers. Why do people insist on using avatar names? For the most part I am talking about avatar names on the internet in general, You Tube, as an example rather than a forum such as ours. Since I have admitted that I do not keep current on modern terms perhaps I just don’t know what the term avatar means. Upon looking it up I found that in Hinduism it is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth: an incarnate divine teacher. Well, this could not be the definition I am searching for as we are not allowed to talk about religion here and from some of the comments on the internet I can ascertain they not likely come from any form of divine teacher. The next definition given was from the computing “world” as, “an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet, etc”. Ah, there we have it a suitable definition from which to work; something that represents a person on the Internet. Of course I knew this ahead of time but why say something in a few words when a whole paragraph will do (besides I am paid by the word). Again I will reiterate that I have no problem with avatar names here on the GMIC as we do have very good controls regarding ungentlemanly behaviour. Over the years we have seen a few members “cautioned” as to their conduct. However, on the Internet in general that seems to be exception rather than the norm. I never use an avatar name whether here or commenting on the Internet because if I am willing to put something down in writing I am will to stand by what I say. If I am incorrect in my convictions I do stand to be corrected followed by my apology or expression of gratitude whichever is appropriate. On the other hand I don’t see myself as an offensive sort of fellow, I have never found pleasure in kicking a cat for example, not even unintentionally. There was an incident a number of years ago when one of our daughters arrived home late from her part-time pizza shop job sans her door key. She decided that sleeping in the car was a poor choice and rang the door bell to awaken someone to let her in. This resulted in my rushing through a darkened house to let her in before she woke the whole household. I should mention that we had a cat; a cat whose name evolved in proportion to his girth to the point where the kids aptly renamed him “Fat Tony”. Fat Tony was fast asleep, his natural state when not gorging himself on Fancy Feast, or some other over-priced cat food. Unknown to me this lump of a cat was transfixed, due to his preponderance, to the floor in line with my path of travel. My left foot apparently just missed him however my right foot made contact with the force of a footballer (soccer player for those of you of the North American persuasion). As a science lesson this is an example of Newton’s First Law of Motion, sometimes referred to as the Law of Inertia, “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. Just to clarify, the “object at rest” and the “unbalanced force” represent the lethargic and comatose Fat Tony. The “object in motion” being yours truly. Imagine, if you will, a football player taking a penalty kick or attempting to kick a field goal (depends on your definition of football) and the ball is replaced by an anvil. Suffice it to say that the object in motion, in this case, still stayed in motion though transformed from a vertical state to a horizontal one in a split second. Thus ends the science lesson and the answers the question as to why you never kick a cat, or at least not Fat Tony. To return to the question at hand, why do people use avatar names? Do they feel more at ease giving an opinion and if so what is it about expressing their ideas that frightens them. Is it giving free range to rude and crass people? Well, sometimes. Perhaps it much the same as using an avatar picture, such as the Canada General Service Medal’s reverse that I use. It hints that I am a Canadian and it is a bit of fun, after all life without a little whimsy would be most dull. At times I find it awkward to respond using the avatar name as it is just too impersonal, therefore I usually simply make the response and live with the feeling that I have failed to act in a polite manner by not starting with “Hello X2bKl9”, or whatever their avatar name happens to be. I would like to see the use of a first name in the closing of an entry or response with “Regards (your first name here)” as an example. At least a reply could be made to what would appear to be a real person and not some sort of Bot. I do hope I used that Internet term for Robot correctly, in today’s terminology I run the risk that this is somehow an offensive term. If so I apologize. By now you must have realized that I had nothing for this month’s blog but I hope this amused you somewhat and gave some folks pause to think. Regards Brian (a real person not an Internet Bot).
  12. Hoarder to Historian

    That's a good one. No there is no patent pending and the copyright, as always, is quite vauge at best. We are working on water proofing these shoes with the use of two plastic grocery bags and two elastic bands to hold them on the shoes. This will also be available in our gift shop along with the nifty rain pouncho made from a large plastic garbage bag; plus sizes will also be offered made from yard waste bags. Here's a warning. Once you get them made "off shore" and approach the "big box stores" they will want to give you a skew number and an order for thousands. Be careful because if you fill the order without an iron clad contract spelling out the cost to them, which they will ignor, then they will tell you that they will only offer you 25% of the agreed upon price. You will then find out the only part of that iron clad contract that seems enforcable is the part where you can only sell to that particular chain. Better to flog them on the internet or Shopping Channel. We, here at the Home Office are happy to sell them through the gift shop. Good luck with your venture. Regards Brian
  13. Hoarder to Historian

    Thank you for you kind comments, it is high praise indeed. Paul, The adult size shoes should be available in the Home Office Gift Shop for Christmas. Regards to all, Brian
  14. Hoarder to Historian

    Hoarder to Historian One of the types of articles I absolutely distain are the “personal journey” stories with some sort of life changing message at the end. The only thing intentionally placed at the end of one of my blogs is a full stop. That’s a “period” for our American friends. I actually say “full stop” just to irritate my Canadian friends who insist on speaking like Americans, which is alright if that’s what you are going for. I said it was “alright” with one exception. One of my all time favourite modern actors is Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who has brilliantly brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, “Sherlock Holmes” into the twenty-first century. As an open letter statement to Mr. Cumberbatch, please, please do not attempt an American accent as you did in the movie Doctor Strange. Listening to him announce that he (his character) was an Am-air-ik-an was painful. It makes me wonder what Americans ever did to him. To get back on track, while I was making notes for this blog I suddenly realized that the topic was pretty much about my own journey in collecting. As I have said I really dislike those types of articles so I will end this blog with a tip on how you can save money to allow you to do more collecting rather than some hippy-like transcendental useless spiritual advice. Yep, another public service announcement from the Home Office. I suppose you are surprised to read that I actually make notes prior to banging away on my keyboard. If you think I ramble on and on now, you should read the unedited notes. Getting back on getting back on track, see what I mean; and these are the edited results. Many of us start out collecting as hoarders, to a point. Not real hoarders such as seen on television programmes that deal with the physiological illness of hoarding but the accumulation of specific items at an accelerated rate to the exclusion of any in depth research and study. As an example I offer the short story of a fellow I knew who collected British War Medals and Victory Medals from WWI awarded to Canadians from a specific regiment. This was the same regiment he had served in during peace time just before the Desert Storm era. It is understandable why he would collect WWI medals from his old regiment and there is nothing wrong with that. Another fellow from his regiment was also trying the “corner the market” in these medals and a stiff rivalry ensued on the internet auctions between them, complete with bidding wars and heated emails between the two competitors. The fellow I knew would receive the medal or medals he had won then place them in a large zip-lock bag hiding them in the attic space under the insulation. He claimed it was to foil burglars, however, considering he left the small step ladder in the same place directly under the attic hatch it was obvious he was hiding the amount he was purchasing from his wife; a fact that I know to be the true reason. He often said that he intended to open a museum to his old regiment but in reality even a few hundred medals is not enough on their own to fill a museum. I have 210 drawers (I just counted them) filled with collectables, mostly medals and even that would make a pretty poor showing for a museum. The fact that he simply stored the medals away, out of sight and out of reach of his wife, she is quite a short lady, makes me categorize his as a hoarder. I will admit that I was in much the same category for many years then something strange (not Dr. Strange) happened. My collecting started to slow down and research started to interest me more and more. I say “strange” because as I aged my disposable income increased. I am much happier now than when I was driven by an obsession to add to the “pile”, as organized as it was. Now the accumulation of knowledge, and still adding to the collection of course, has become paramount in my obsessive little mind. Perhaps it is age or perhaps it is a simple matter of available space to house my collection, I’m not really sure. The one thing Nature and a collector agree on is that they both abhor a vacuum and will try to fill any void. Now for that money saving tip. One of the areas one can save money and therefore have more funds to spend on a collection is by doing-it-yourself. Take the high price of children’s shoes for example; they’re just little shoes so why do they cost so much? Why not make your kids foot wear in your shop; no shop then in your kitchen, as the materials are cheap and tools readily available in the average home. Take two cardboard boxes of the correct size, or cut larger boxes down to the appropriate size; use the ones your latest collectables from e$cam arrived in. Once you have them to the correct size cover them with duct tape. I used silver but it comes in black as well. If your child is a boy then adding a strip of “camo” duct tape (I used Gorilla tape) will give it that masculine look that most boys strive to achieve. If you have a daughter then duct tape also comes in bright colours as well. Take a black magic marker and draw laces on the tops of the shoes, after all we don’t want to emotionally scar the little buggers too much, and besides we are not animals. Once this is done, “Robert’s your father’s brother”, you have a nice pair of shoes, and darn sporty looking if I do say so myself. Just another public service from The Home Office...you’re welcome. Regards Brian
  15. Japanese Fieldmarshal sword

    Great photos, many thanks for sharing them. Regards Brian