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Sadly, for autograph collectors this was often standard practice in the past as they only cared about the signature and not the context in which it appeared. Often, these scraps were then pasted in a scrap book. I am certain that much history has been lost due to this practice.

Many order/medal collectors are not totally innocent however. Estates get split-up all of the time with helmets going to one collector, medals to another, uniforms to yet another, etc., etc. Most dealers now do this to get the highest dollar/euro amount for the items as most collectors are too specialized to want everything. I know of many order and medal collectors who don't know anything about the documents associated with the awards nor do they care. So, while we are quick to judge, sometimes our narrow focus is also part of the problem that causes "history" to be lost.

For wishing the death was painful?

On German ebay a seller is selling 110s of Autographs collected by a now departed Autograph collector....

All neatly cut out from the original document.....

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Splitting a group does not destroy anything but the continuity of the group. You still have a whole helmet or whatever. I agree with Chris - destruction of the document isn't necessary to collect the autograph. It's just simple idiocy. I don't suffer idiots too well.

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