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    Imperial German Militaria Undervalued: Why?

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    Guest Craig Gottlieb

    I am constantly struck by the fact that imperial militaria is grossly undervalued, when compared to Third Reich militaria. Granted, the Nazis enjoy a monopoly of sorts on the historical stage (how many History Channel specials do you see on pre-Nazi Germany?). I would enjoy hearing feedback from other members on what they think about this. Specifically: Do you think Pre-Nazi militaria will come into its own as the prices of Nazi militaria climb to new heights, and collectors realize the value and quality present in pre-Nazi items? Or, do you feel that pre-Nazi German militaria will always be relegated to the back-seat of German Militaria collecting? I personally think there's a decent future in pre-Nazi German Militaria, simply because a) the quality is there, and b) the Nazi period can only be understood through the lense of the decades that lead up to the 12 year Reich.

    Edited by Craig Gottlieb
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    welcome aboard! i've only been here for a matter of weeks,

    but find the pace to be relaxed, the pictures excellent, and

    the information most interesting.

    i would caution you, however, to watch out for the rick twins.

    each claims to be the "good twin".... i'm not sure who's who.

    one of the reasons i left active TR collecting was my disillusionment

    with the number of reproduction items i purchased. i assign

    responsibility for that to no one other than me. the old radio

    commercial for a clothing store in Philly comes to mind: "an

    educated consumer is our best customer..." (imagine that in

    a nasal, south philly dialect!). while i seldom have the repro

    problem anymore, somewhere along the way i got distracted by

    all those good looking medal bars. ('fess up. how many TRULY

    gorgeous TR medal bars have you seen??? the beauties are

    from 1860's - 1930's)

    i was fortunate to meet a number of people who have been interested

    in Imperial history and collecting for many years. in the past several years

    i have been exposed to some pretty rare pieces, and between the

    medal bars, the EK's, and a real schooling in imperial uniforms from

    brian ward, what does it for me is the following:

    -variety. there are variations upon variations. and

    this, to some extent, is a result of

    -personal pride and craftsmanship. don't get me wrong.

    there are some beautiful TR pieces. but each duchy, principality,etc had it's own

    hofjewellier. AH had the LDO and the PZK. and he was NOT noted for his love

    of creativity.

    a red leather, cased set of EK2, EK1, RK??? gorgeous! but look at a

    one of a kind, or at least very rare neck order, and you tell me who the

    artiste is....

    peruse one of kube's or thies' catalogues. the beauty is there.

    and so is the value.

    a plain, cased 1914 EK 1 in about 85% condition. i just described my first

    1914 EK purchase. it cost me $90. and i garantee you the ones i've come across

    since are in better shape. and i also GA-RON-TEE you won't find the cases alone

    for a whole lot less these days.

    bottom line. TR will always have a following, but ask some of the people

    who've been in the hobby for 20-40 or more years, and they'll tell you

    that imperial stuff is getting very hard to find, and especially the really

    top shelf stuff.

    i think it's a great investment, if chosen well, and fascinating at the same time.

    and most important, it's a lifetime avocation.

    apologies for the diarrhea of the keyboard. you posed some questions which are thought-provoking.



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    There does not seem to be much Imperial stuff around compared to Nazi stuff. But prices are going up. I have a M1918 Helm with liner, no chin strap. I paid $50 for it some years ago. Now I see them going for $400-$500. I was shocked to find this out. I have discussed it with some helmet experts and that is what they say. That stuff is coming up on 100 years old. Prices should be up.


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    Looking at the amount of militaria available worldwide, I would be tempted to agree that there is a lot more "Nazi" (whatever that might mean to you) stuff around than Imperial. But this may simply be a reflection of what the majority of collectors wnat to have.

    However, quite apart from the fact that I find Third Reich history a bit jaded, I prefer militaria from the Imperial era (not just German) for a number of other reasons:

    1. There is a much better chance of Imperial militaria being authentic.

    2. For me, it is infinitely more attractive, varied and interesting.

    3. There is, as yet, very little hype attached to it, which is reflected by the prices Imperial militaria generally commands.

    4. There is none of the stigma attached to anything "Nazi".

    5. There are so many books and websites on "Nazi" Germany, there seems little left to research. Understanding the background to one obscure Imperial award document will keep you in relatively unknown territory for a long time.

    By my personal definition, research involves reading extensive primary and secondary sources and sharing this information with others who have similar interests to find out minor details of unit histories and personal biographies to put "my stuff" into a context.

    There are many collectors of Third Reich ("Nazi" if you will) militaria who seem to regard research as comparing a few Internet threads to see if they have actually bought an original item, or yet another carefully crafted fake. Anonymous pieces of "cool" zink don't do much for me.

    If you are prepared to do your homework, there is plenty of fascinating Imperial history to be acquired at relatively low cost. Whether you are prepared to do your homework and find out what it represents is another matter.

    I will never fully grasp all military aspects of the 24 entities that made up Imperial Germany, but just understanding and collecting the basic awards and the documents of the men that received them keeps me very happy and doesn't have to cost a fortune.

    Don't get me wrong, I also have many interesting German documents and related items from the 1933-45 period (I deliberately avoid using the term "Nazi"), but I have stopped actively acquiring them. I am quite happy for the majority of collectors to stay hooked on the bent cross and to leave all the nice and relatively affordable Imperial stuff to me.

    Although I collect militaria for the history it represents and the personal stories it can tell and have never considered it an investment, I would be very surprised if Imperial items didn't experience a sharp price increase around 2014, 100 years after the outbreak of The Great War, in much the same way as WW2 items jumped in price after Saving Private Ryan and the 1994 D-Day anniversary.

    I don't consider Imperial militaria to be undervalued, because I do not to think of militaria in terms of monetary value. That being said, I do feel Third Reich ("Nazi") items are grossly overpriced, but that is perhaps more a question of supply and demand, and I am not prepared to pay huge sums of money for just another piece of shiny metal with a bent cross.


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    Guest Craig Gottlieb

    Interesting comments. While I disagree that "Nazi Stuff" is overpriced, I do believe that the price is too demand-driven. It makes me uneasy that a Knight's Cross can be $15,000, while the best German Cross in Gold, is only $5000 or so. The German Cross In Gold is far more intricate and stately an award, and yet it commands 1/3 the price. I don't see that ANYWHERE reflected in pre-Nazi german militaria. I find that rarity is expressed in ACTUAL rarity, not rarity that has been increased due to consumer demand.

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    Guest Rick Research

    If there is ANY military collectible under-valued, I haven't seen it... offered for sale lately!

    Under-appreciated, ah, now THAT's entirely different and has nothing to do with price.

    ? la Kipling: dealing is dealing, and collecting is collecting, and never the twain shall meet... in outlook. Same means, different ends, c' est la vie.

    Third Reich items are and have been for a long time, in general and with few justifiable exceptions, grotesquely overpriced, considering the mass production and supply STILL available to anyone not trembling from uncontrollable Instantaneous Gratification Syndrome. There is nothing rare or unique about an M42 helmet, a Luftwaffe belt buckle, a Black Wound Badge, millions of SA daggers etc etc et cetera. Real, actual, how-many-collectors-ARE-there "demand" can never outstrip THAT supply, though some new members of the community can be drawn into believing so.

    MARKETING is riding a Quote Unquote investment rolleyes.gif market largely driven by those who SELL to those who BUY as if THIS is the very last EK2 on Earth and hurry up now before it is too late. speechless.gif

    Iron Crosses are a good example of the cross over between hysterically hyped Third Reich and Imperial collecting, somehow or other finding enough buyers willing and able to pay through the nose for items which are not and never will be "rare" except in extremely limited cases. Everything else is simply hype.

    Those of us who have devoted decades of our lives to Imperial know that rarity has NOTHING at all, NOTHING to do with prices today, because yes indeed, we Noble Imperialoids too face being driven (resist, my brothers, resist! ninja.gif ) by the Full Time Investment market. That happens when any enjoyable "hobby" turns into profit-or-die "business."

    Dirt common Iron Crosses are selling to "must have one of every maker" collectors, while TRUE rarities-- awards from little states award made in mere hundreds and often only in dozens-- are left

    under-appreciated and... sometimes (gasp-- ignorance usually has a way of over-valuing, doesn't it?) under-priced

    in the Professional Retail Market... which cannot even identify what they are, lucky us when we do, buwahahahahahahah. jumping.gif

    I agree with David. I do not, never have, and never will collect driven by the perceived "value" set by "market pressures." What I collect is what I want to collect, not what I "must" collect... because that's what everybody else says everybody else wants. (Word of advice: collect what nobody wants but you-- and there's no competition AND prices stay where you want them. cool.gif ) I strongly recommend, after 40 years of collecting, that no one gamble in militaria as "investment"-- hit the roulette tables or gasoline futures or play the lottery instead. Run with scissors. Drive the wrong way in traffic, if that kind of excitement moves you. Anybody who WANTS to overpay for common items is certainly entitled to

    this hobby should be based exclusively on personal satisfaction

    however that is derived beer.gif but the benefit of scholarship and real expertise is knowing when a pearl pops up in the usual pig slop. And in the long, lonely interludes when no pearls appear, there is the satisfaction of learning and building experience... and hanging out with people who are NOT going to slit your throat for that one-of-millions "last" Infantry Assault Badge. wacko.gif

    Every increase in price narrows the market by cutting out the inexperienced and the timid. They may shop "peace of mind at any price" once, twice, may even WANT to keep on overpaying but just can't quite make a collection that way, but not over and over and OVER again. Eventually they learn, and/or drop out. Every bad deal cuts the market further. That glorious wonderful internet provides collectors havens like here... and cesspool sharks lyin' cheatin' and stealin' in a way face to face dealing never allowed, THUMP. Consumer demand that is force fed by the new Professional Seller Caste (things were a lot better all around in the not that far off past when it was just cigarette smoking guys in plaid shirts whose wives wanted them out of the house so they could get Sunday dinner ready) to Buy High and Buy Now will certainly catch the short-timers, those collectors without the patience or experience to know better

    and they will be the ones who burn out, frustrated, angry, and never able to recoup what they have overpaid for and fantasized about some bright imaginary future day, "profiting" on.

    Third Reich collecting has gotten a lot more complicated than when I was a boy. We never cared back then what a maker mark was (who knew? so what?) or HAD to engage in NASA-engineering studies of atomic weights versus calibrated placement and angle of pin hinges and all that is now, sadly, necessary in the world of extremely high prices and Biblical floods of fakes on the all-for-money market, to STAY in that collecting field.

    But by comparison, Imperial German collecting was and is orders of magnitude more complicated for anyone wading in deeper than one-of-each-Iron-Cross. Imperial German was and is a SPECIALIST'S area. There are no "Imperial Generalists." We CAN'T "have it all," and so very soon we find our niches and specialize. Imperial German collecting requires a lifetime's commitment, and will never be complete in a human lifespan. There is no "I want all XX Kriegsmarine war badges and now I'm bored I have them all and what am I going to do for the rest of my life?" in Imperial German.

    Imperial German collectors, as a group, I am glad to say cheers.gif are NOT into the trophy snob Freudian "paid more = bigger" scene. Our little treasures, our jewels, our prizes beyond price, are measured in aesthetic beauty and numbers of recipients-- not decimal points. We do not judge each other by the size of our wallets, but by the knowledge and satisfaction our collections give us-- and each other.

    And how many OTHER collecting fields can say without blushing that it is NOT all just about the money? "What's this worth?" threads are for OTHER collecting fields: Imperialoids are in for the LONG haul, for a lifetime of study and good company. We're low stress, low maintenance lifetstyle types, us. Can't toe-dip into that... it requires a full fledged plunge into the deep end of the collecting pool.

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    Some of the price differences, I would guess, would come from the relative distance of the Imperial era compared to our own. WWII is a lot more on the consciousness of the average American or European than is WWI. Count the ratio of WWII movies versus the number of WWI movies coming out over the last few years. Think of the personal connections that come from knowing WWII vets first hand, and think how few collectors running around out there have known anyone who fought in WWI. WWII is a lot more "real" and "accessible" for most people. Most people on the street can relate to WWII and have a basic understanding of it. I honestly don't think the same thing can be said for WWI any longer. Once an event recedes a certain distance away from the general social consciousness in which the collector is living, it moves into the realm of the more serious / professional historians and collectors.


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    Hi Craig,

    I am compelled to add a few observations to many of the very fine comments (especially Rik?s) listed above; and I apologize for approaching redundancy on a couple of them. So, if I may -

    Let?s start at the beginning where you say ? imperial militaria is grossly undervalued, when compared to Third Reich militaria.? I must respond by asking what is the standard here? Would it not be just as accurate to say that Third Reich militaria is grossly overvalued, when compared to imperial militaria?

    In many ways, we are comparing apples and oranges here. Let me explain. Start by referring to Nimmergut?s OEK (Orden & Ehrenzeichen). We find listings for about 600 Third Reich items, probably two thirds of which could be considered to be actual wearable items. The same source lists over 3,000 Imperial German items; 99% of which are wearable orders and decorations. Aside from it?s size, the Imperial German category is far more complex in that there are over fifty separate entities, each of which awarded orders and decorations.

    Now, if you were to ask a dozen Third Reich collectors what they collect, in all likelihood, the answers would be something like nine ?Third Reich? one ?Panzer Assault Badges?, one ?knight?s crosses? and a ?1939 Iron Crosses?. Answers from twelve Imperial collectors would be along the lines of three ?Imperial German?, two ?Prussia?, one ?Bavaria?, a ?Waldeck?, ?Saxon Albert Order?, ?1914 war merit crosses? and so on. Therefore, the demand for a specific piece among the Imperial collectors is diluted by this huge range of particular interests. Don?t forget, for example, there are about 100 variations of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle alone.

    Fortunately in part, this diversity has protected Imperial from the ravages of ?investors? because with Third Reich they can concentrate on probably less than a dozen items and screw up the whole market. I do not mean to say that the prices of Imperial German pieces have not appreciated over the years; but the increases tend to be selective and sporadic. 1870 and 1914 Iron Crosses, after laying relatively dormant for a long period, have shown spectacular increases in recent years. Prussian Red Eagles fourth class (third type) have gone from under $100 to around $300 in only a very few years; and don?t try to tell a PLM collector how undervalued the PLMs on the market are. Consider also - how do you put a value on a certain piece when the last one on the market sold for $x fifteen years ago and there might be only five collectors in the world who would be interested in it and only two of them know that one is available?

    If you are concerned about investing in Imperial based upon projected values, I would encourage you to look elsewhere. Consider World War II Italian and Imperial Japanese items; both of which, after several false starts, seem to have been showing signs of life lately. We have all seen, from varying distances, the saga of Soviet orders and medals which, price wise, over the past fifteen years have gone from ugly stepchild to queen of the prom status; but with this success has come the predictable wave of fakes, forgeries and unscrupulous so-called dealers. I have collected Soviet ?on the side? for ten years and the $ value of the bulk of my Soviet collection has increased by three to five fold. Big deal! For all practical purposes, my Soviet collection is as complete as it ever will be; my collecting resources are once again pretty much dedicated to to Imperial German.

    Frankly, even though my collections represent a certain amount of money, I will not be devastated if, when disposed, they bring back no more than was put in. They have brought me much joy, caused me to pursue intellectual tasks (research) which have taught me a lot, caused me to learn some of a second and third language, travel (often with my family) to places I would not have otherwise and, most importantly, meet a whole new world of very interesting people - some of whom have become my very closest friends. Sorry Craig, but I for one will very happy if, as you put it ?... pre-Nazi German militaria will always be relegated to the back-seat of German Militaria collecting?.


    Wild Card

    Edited by Wild Card
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    I'm inclined to agree with Rick on almost every point he made. By the way, what's all this stuff about "the" evil twin? There's a rumor going around that both are evil, and one is "eviler".... javascript:emoticon(':rolleyes:')


    Collecting and dealers are often engaged in a symbitotic (or is one of them parasitic?) relationship with each other. Market factors such as -perceived- demand and -perceived- value can drive prices up, not to mention competition between collectors who are out to show other collectors the "gem(s)" in their collection.

    The escalation in prices of Imperial items over the 20 plus years has been driven by many things, but there is a large element of "investing" and an expected profit when items in collections (or sales inventory) is eventually offered for sale. When real estate, and other traditional investment areas gets overpriced, there are always people looking to find new areas. Sales catalgoues from various auction houses (Chrities, Southbies, and so on) don't go unoticed by brokers and investors who are looking for new areas in which to make money. Twenty years ago, German field grey tunics were selling for a couple of hundred dollars in good to fine shape. Now...they are selling for several thousand. I recall a silver-gilt PlM I was offered in 1984 for the princely sum of $750, and the price these days would fetch enough to buy a new car.

    Let's face it, demand results in increased sales, which dealers notice, and price rises. Collectors notice price rises, and a "get it while it's hot" syndrome can create a feedback cycle.

    I'll end with a situation I see often when I go trout fishing. Trout can be incredibly lazy at times, and will lie in the bottom of a stream not caring to eat. If they are alone, and some mayfly floating past doesn't look particularly eidble or appetizing, even if the trout -is- hungry they might let it go. Even if the bug bumps into the trouts mouth, it might not be interested. If there's another trout in the stream and they know each other is there...the situation changes radically. Both trout will go after that same scruffy watersodden bug even if both are stuffed to the gills, -because- they don't want the other trout to have it. Collectors can be the same way at times.

    I think many of us are trout like at times...


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    Guest Rick Research

    I'm the Good Twin. All else is abominable heresy. cheers.gif

    "Frankly, even though my collections represent a certain amount of money, I will not be devastated if, when disposed, they bring back no more than was put in. They have brought me much joy, caused me to pursue intellectual tasks (research) which have taught me a lot, caused me to learn some of a second and third language, travel (often with my family) to places I would not have otherwise and, most importantly, meet a whole new world of very interesting people - some of whom have become my very closest friends."

    HEAR HEAR!!! beer.gif

    After all (reality check time) virtually every item we collect has not even got nominal scrap bullion value-- and most normal people would throw away what we consider treasures without a second thought. speechless1.gif

    The Retail Investment Syndrome would have collectors buy, not what THEY like or want, but what the supposed "market" wants-- because collections now are assembled out of neither love of nor respect for history, nor for personal satisfaction-slash-eccentricity, but for the investment marketing insistence that anything bought be re-sellable at a profit. So what everybody ELSE wants is what YOU "have to buy," so that you can... sell it on.


    I haven't spent my life building somebody ELSE's future collection! speechless.gif

    This leads people-- usually younger at collecting and certainly disputably "wiser" than me-- to often chide me for being naive, that everything has a value, and that value and resale "cannot" be ignored. shame.gif

    Watch me keep on doing so.


    Because these same people are part of, or buy into (literally) the same dreadful fallacy which causes balding middle aged men in gold chains to drive convertibles

    hoping to "impress" teenaged cheerleaders.

    Freudian stuff churning just below the surface in the "bragging trophy" idea that you should miss a car payment, put off Junior's surgery, and maybe risk that federal indictment on income tax evasion

    in order to "impress" strangers with "bigger" purchases.

    That is of course an underlying symbiotic/parasitic (Now that you mention it, I'm not sure either) drive now that there is professional militaria selling. Those sheepish Sunday morning guys hanging out with their oddball hobby did not have to make mortgage payments off of it--and would have laughed at the very thought!

    Self fulfilling prophecy, as collectors are informed that they "must" continually "improve" their collections by buying more--

    and by a non amazing coincidence

    spending more

    to "prove" thereby that they are "Serious Collectors."

    rolleyes.gif News Flash: serious collectors do what they do because THEY want to, and KNOW what they are doing. Serious collectors are not the Temporary Future Former Pre-Owners of somebody else's investment gamble of the far off moment.

    Which brings us to another standard which never arose during those damp fall tailgate mornings:

    Each and every serious collector (the real kind) must and does uphold his own highest standard for what does or does not go into his own collection.

    But amazingly enough, there has yet to be any reciprocal standard for the Serious (Money) SELLERS.

    Affability is not expertise. Easy return privileges are not enough to cover ignorance or indifference.

    NO ONE can know everything-- which collectors handle by concentrating on what they CAN know.

    Why then are full time sellers so often given a free pass on actually (doh!) knowing what they are asking real money for?

    It never mattered when the actual money changing hands didn't matter. It matters now. MONEY is killing this hobby.

    How many times is the first question "What is this worth?" How many times is there no second question? What is the "value" of mass produced items the Average Citizen regards as vaguely creepy junk, best well wrapped as it slides into the trash? Example: I doubt 1 person in 500 could correctly identify the much enlarged little piece below (don't worry-- neither a test nor a contest, just an example). "Worth?" It's been "*" = "no examples sold on open market" for 20 years. "Market?" Besides me? I know ONE person. (He'll have to outlive me to get it, but then it's alllllll his, free and clear: because the MONEY doesn't matter to me. Especially not to Dead Me!) THAT'S Imperial collecting!


    How "much" is history "worth?"

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    a few points.

    my wife used to say to me "you don't have any friends"

    ( a SLIGHT exaggeration from an Italian women i've

    been with for 25 years....). after getting the collecting

    virus - a logical extension of my 40+ year love of

    military history - i started getting calls and emails from

    strange people from all over the country.

    people who over the years have become friends. yeah,

    a bit psychotic about militaria ephemera, but also able to

    discuss sports/politics/sex/cigars/golf/famine in africa

    (not necessarily in that order...). these are people i'll

    know for the rest of my life.

    and of course now the wifely refrain is "what? you don't have

    any time for your children?????

    and my favorite "piece" in my "collection"? those wonderful people

    i've had the privelege of getting to know.


    i DO think there is an investment potential in almost anything,

    and i choose to see what i've collected at least partially in that

    light. but it wouldn't get in the door if i didn't enjoy it. and i think

    the point of breaking even is well taken. i broke even a long

    time ago in this hobby.

    just one or two more things....

    some of the most reprehensible "people" i've ever met

    have been collectors or dealers. there is about the same distribution

    as in the real world.

    couldn't agree more about pricing ourselves out of a future. if

    young collectors can't buy even the common stuff, we have

    burned the only bridge off the island....

    great, and thought-provoking thread!


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    Oh, boy, how i love to read comments from Rick to this topic cheeky.gifjumping.gif

    The high prices will destroy the hobby, because there will be noone left, who collects because of these insane prices and the fakes on the market. I agree, Imperial may be underappreciated, but definately not anymore underpriced. That may seem so to someone, who is used to deal with TR-Collectibles prices, but like Wild Card pointed out, they increased dramatically in the last 5 years.

    I also collect for the joy of handling and looking and researching a medal and not about the Dollars, its worth. For my taste there are too much "Investment"-Collectors out there, but they will be surprised, when in 30 years noone wants to spend money on that crap, because there are not many collectors left, who could explain him, what exactly the difference between a real one and a fake is.

    With soviet-awards i have chosen a collecting field, where i will never have ALL orders and medals, even if i win the lottery. So i am happy with the more common stuff. Of course i don?t mind to own a high soviet order, but its not a must. I am happy about every tiny bit and also about every information surrounding my awards.

    Also, collecting Imperial and Soviet has tought me more things than seeing the difference between a 3rd and a 4th class Red-Eagle-Order, but much more. Due to communicating with other collectors i have made friends (and i MEAN friends) all over the world. My english is much better than it was in the beginning. I have learned so much about german and russian history and military in general.

    all the best,


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    Pricing is simple supply & demand. Imperial pieces will bring (usually) higher prices with the people who "need" the piece. Shop a few of the "major" (and I do use the term loosely) dealer websites and you will find pieces that have been sitting there for 2+ years........... this is a function of normal price trends. Dealer A thinks his FAK2 is worth $150.... it doesn't sell, but other dealers follow the 'trend' and raise their prices and there's a glut of over-priced FAK2's on the market that don't sell. Normal supply & demand, basic economics.

    Certain items will bring massive money in the hands of those that have knowledge and respect from collectors. Most items of this nature will trade hands privately and never see the light of day......... It is difficult to establish pricing for obscure rarities because in the proper circle these items are basicly a "name your price" piece. I'm not talking PLM's here either.

    I would submit that Imperial is hardly "undervalued" as Mr. Gottlieb has inferred, but more accurately priced than over-blown 3. reich items are these days. I have watched both war's materials spiral ever upwards over the past 6 years. However, we are in a situation as such:

    Finite supply of items overall

    Finite supply of buyers willing to pay the prices asked

    There you have it from a true economist. Remember people, you are discussing economics. Economics is unproven theory applied to surrealistic situations.

    And I suppose ya'll think that the Hurricane is responsible for obscene price increases in the 1000+ gallons of bought & paid for gas IN THE GROUND at your local service station's storage tank??

    When people STOP buying gas at "Brigandich" prices, the price will come down quite nicely.......

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    • 1 month later...

    Interesting comments. While I disagree that "Nazi Stuff" is overpriced, I do believe that the price is too demand-driven. It makes me uneasy that a Knight's Cross can be $15,000, while the best German Cross in Gold, is only $5000 or so. The German Cross In Gold is far more intricate and stately an award, and yet it commands 1/3 the price. I don't see that ANYWHERE reflected in pre-Nazi german militaria. I find that rarity is expressed in ACTUAL rarity, not rarity that has been increased due to consumer demand.

    I think the example is not that well chosen. As far as rarity goes (looking at the amount of the awards made) there should actually be a larger price difference than a 1:3 ratio between a KC and DKiG.

    but then, I think prices of 15 000 and 5000 reflect purely demand and not rarity and given the fickle nature of the modern human being, I think those prices may come down once beanie babies take over.

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    What about the future of the hobby and the security of our investments? Has anyone noticed if there are more young collectors of Nazi than of Imperial poking around the shows? I think prices on a lot of items are peaking, but still high enough and fraught enough with problems of authenticity to keep new collectors out. I just heard of someone paying $16,000 for an SS steel helmet. Who are we going to pass this stuff onto at the prices we paid?

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    What about the future of the hobby and the security of our investments? Has anyone noticed if there are more young collectors of Nazi than of Imperial poking around the shows? I think prices on a lot of items are peaking, but still high enough and fraught enough with problems of authenticity to keep new collectors out. I just heard of someone paying $16,000 for an SS steel helmet. Who are we going to pass this stuff onto at the prices we paid?

    There are a lot of young collectors who think the Nazi stuff is "cool"... will they stick with the hobby when that wears off?

    When I started collecting an older german collector said "3rd reich is entry level collecting, some collectors mature to imperial, some stick with 3rd reich and some just fall along the way"

    To each his own, I dig the imperial, took a few years for it to happen, but there it is.

    Its like marrying the farm girl after fiddling around with all the big city floozies.

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    What percentage of imperial collectors STARTED with Imperial (other than Rick :P )

    Good points, Chris. I think many if not most collectors (myself included) started with TR. The stuff was designed to get a visceral reaction out of ANYBODY! (Good for recruitment.) Unfortunately most do not outgrow it. I'm not laying a judgment on that field or period. I see the the period 1914 - 1945 as a 30 years war, with time out to raise a new generation of cannon fodder. I just don't see how people can get excited for a lifetime's worth of collecting chasing the same old run-of-the-mill daggers, badges etc. In Imperial (and I collect aviation of allied nations, too) you've got fantastic diversity.

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    Guest Rick Research

    I don't "invest" in militaria, aside from my interest and time and the satisfaction it provides to me. "Value" to me is unrelated to money, nor do I collect with resale in mind, ever. I intend to die and go out like King Tut, figuratively speaking, "taking it all with me."

    "Investing" is what has poisoned this as a hobby and created a culture where evil people are able to pursue lucrative lifetime criminal careers preying upon unwary buyers. True enough, that's been going on since Pieces Of The True Cross hit the after-market big time, but the point is that MONEY drives the bad end of business, whether the "commodity" is Saint Euresdispias's miracle-working toenails, pork bellies, or SS collar tabs.

    As I sit in my lavish crenellated estate, sipping a 19th century golden vintage before the crackling fire in my garage sized fireplace, it is the satisfaction of having pieces of HISTORY and the remembrance (and especially the restored identity of anonymous "lost" pieces) which makes me grin in my satin smoking jacket, as I beckon languidly with a well manicured fingernail for a servile underpaid unreported third world body servant to pour me a refill.

    Yeah, rrriiiight.

    To correct a misapprehension: I too actually started collecting Third Reich-- if PLAYING with it as a child (being of that Next Generation) can be considered collecting, before ANY money exchanged hands. There were fakes even in the 1960s-- I slaved all one summer to pay $50 for a cased RZM "authentically hallmarked" Knight's Cross from then un-outed Hollywood Military Hobbies (may he :angry: in perpetaul torment, Amen) as a boy when that sum was a low but livable adult's living week's wage.

    But I was distracted (as I easily am) into ALL arcane and obscure areas, fostered by my first guru when he was fresh back from Vietnam and opened my eyes to the fact that there WAS information out there, and all of this was not just Sunday morning table trinkets for a couple of bucks, but had meaning and relaty behind it all.

    So while I was only 20 when I switched mainly to Imperial, having started really at about 6, that put me in about 15 years as my interests shifted.

    That was POSSIBLE then, for a child/teen on a child/teen's income, when a 1931 Brunswick rally badge was $6 and a cased 1939 EK1 was $7.50. But when adult hourly wages were under $2, that was Real Money BACK THEN, even if it seems impossible nowadays.

    The "investment" market is hellbound for a repeat of the 17th century Dutch tulip mania. Prices may not, in fact, ever reach sanity,

    but the effect of keeping new people OUT and prevented what was, in my day, the sort of casual accumulation from local yard sales that is now regarded with the sort of awe that I reserve for those World Class 1950s collections that WE will never be able to match again, indicates the sort of decline in standards of what is and is not collectible

    to the point where I can envision entire websites in the not too distant future humming with electric excitement over such Major Finds as spare Zeltbahn buttons and whether chemical analysis of the paint proves or disproves originality.

    EK2s are NOT rare. IABs are NOT rare. Wound badges are NOT rare, Wehrmacht tunic eagles are NOT rare. And on and on and on. "Market forces" certainly are DRIVING such "investment trends"-- that is, Professional Sellers would have buyers BELIEVE such things, but oddly enough all too often TRUE rarities are not even given a second glance because NOBODY appreciates them for what they are, rather than Give Me Lots Of Money For What I Have In This Paper Sack And You Can Sell It On For More Later Wowee.

    It come down to:

    WHO are we all collecting FOR?

    Ourselves... or

    ... spending our lives amassing items for the NEXT owner?


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    Guest Rick Research

    I'm just a monastic killer aesthete at pure and implacable heart. :rolleyes::speechless1:

    But I never got into collecting THINGS because I could theoretically convert those things into MONEY at some dim hoped for rosy future.

    If all I wanted was More Future Money, I'd have invested the money in something that grew MORE money and skipped all the conversion bit.

    When civilization comes to a screeching halt and people are slaying each other for the last corroded remnants of canned goods from pillaged supermarkets, I do


    think anyone is going to be lining up by torchlight to offer food and water for General Assault Badges or 1918 Uboat Badges.

    The standard investor "argument" that runs on the track of "but I ALREADY have so MUCH 'invested' in all this I HAVE to get a return on my money..." is just plain fallacious thinking.

    Put your MONEY in real estate, then.

    Roll all those quarters in a piggy bank and bury them in the back yard.

    Buy government bonds.


    I won't argue aesthetics over personalization, because a Nice Wuzzit IS a Nice Wuzzit whether or not the original owner's life and times are known, cradle to grave.

    But I personally prefer to HAVE that sort of personal, identified items. It makes for a tangibly SPECIFIC hold and connection with the past that unsold stock off a retailer's shelves when The War Ended just doesn't have.

    Not quite "psychic vibes" (OMMMMMMMMMM) but yeah, pretty close to that.

    THIS Wuzzit was AT Wherezit being WORN by Whozit.

    And I GUARANTEE you that then and there, HIS thoughts were not "I wonder how much my stray belongings are going to be worth long years after I am (hopefully not TODAY) dead?"

    Things = people.

    People XXXXXXXXXXX = money.

    Of course these things have monetary value within our small crackpot community (Barbie collectors are hissing with disdain, Formula 1 race car accumulators are sneering smugly, celebrity used Kleenex collectors are rolling their eyes in contempt) but that should NOT be the REASON collectors collect them. Yes, money (= food for self, college money for children) is a legitimate end for Professional Dealers with no love for what they sell, any more than the supermarket produce manager cannot bear to part with his brocolli

    but ask yourselves

    Why Am I Collecting THIS Whateveritis?

    If the answer is "Because some day I'll be able to sell it for more than I paid for it," you need a new hobby.

    It is beyond human understanding for some folks, I know, but I have been collecting for over 40 years for one very simple if psychologically complex (is this all simply a transferance of the impulse of medieval Personal Relic accumulation, with being Touched By History as a secular motivation rather than being Closer To God? Ewwwwwwww-- why pay MONEY when every potato already has a couch for self analysis! :P ) reasons :shame:

    I simply ENJOY it. :ninja:

    Whew! The Torquemada Of Collecting has externalized his inner demons enough for today. :Cat-Scratch:

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    You doth protest too much, Rick. I can wax endlessly on the psychic virtues of why I collect. But no one wants to lose money. That's why we discuss the originality of pieces, to safeguard our.....[you insert the word you have the least semantical difficulty with]. Stogieman buys and sells and earns a return on his...[insert word]. In their old ages, many collectors will need to convert their....[insert word] ....for health needs, grandchildren, retirements and so on. Only the very rich or the very irresponsible can divorce themselves from financial considerations.

    I was only wondering if kids are entering this hobby to ensure its viability, not whether I need to sell medal bars and buy shares of Google.

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