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WWII militaria as an investment?

Discussion in 'The Members Lounge' started by Ken The Kanuck, May 10, 2017.

  1. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

    May 16, 2010
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    I have an interest in WWII firearms and have several, much to my surprise they have turned out to be a pretty good investment (although I doubt that I will ever sell them, but my kids will get an even better investment as I paid for them),

    I was wondering if other items from WWII are also a good investment, I do realize that junk never is,

    Could you tell me what you think?


  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Nov 20, 2012
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    The Arid Zone
    I'll defer to collectors with better knowledge of the market, but in my (uneducated) opinion we may be in kind of a bubble right now with WWII militaria. The prices on some things seem to have surpassed reason and I wouldn't buy right now as an investment, though I'd certainly buy things I liked and wanted to keep. I'm one of those Antiques Roadshow nerds and you often see somebody with this or that item who are told "ten years ago it worth a ton of money, but now it's only worth a fraction of that..."

    Collectables are subject to a kind of fashion sense; Victorian brass items are in, then out. This or that period jewelry are in, then out. It may be that WWII militaria will continue to climb, but I wouldn't count on it. If you bought when cheap, then hang onto it, but I wouldn't buy right now (with an eye to investment) unless it is really something special.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Apr 21, 2006
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    Perfidious Albion
    On MVs, if I'd had £30k to buy a dozen slightly tatty WW2 B vehicles ten years ago, they'd be giving a handsome return right now. Though I reckon KB has a point about bubbles - current vehicle prices seem a bit silly to many observers.
    Still, overall militaria from large to small has stayed pretty strong. If there wasn't a solid market there wouldn't be so many fakes about.

    I couldn't afford my boxed deac Bren these days. Wish I'd bought as many Nazi party badges at £3.50 each as a massive box in a York shop contained, and it still hurts slightly that the old man laughed and turned down a tatty running Sherman for £7.5k from a reenactor across the road 30 years ago... But such is 'antique world'. The days of WW2 bargains are probably gone other than for the truly dedicated hunters like Skip etc..
    Doubtless there's still profit to be made, but the price of entry has risen remarkably in the last decade.
  4. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

    Jan 2, 2014
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    New England
    Good discussion. I agree with the others. It's very cyclical in regards to an investment. It all depends on what is popular at the time. Since I tend to lean towards ephemera, I've come across a few hot ticket items which have decent resale value. The propaganda posters I have purchased have a solid resale value (not that I have any intention of selling) due to their use as decorative pieces to adorn walls. In the case of ephemera or other militaria it also depends on its place in history. German items tend to hold and raise in value. I was on a "black propaganda" kick last year and paid twice as much for German items than the counterparts.
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Jun 20, 2002
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    London, England.
    I think that most of our militaria 'investments' are unintentional - mine certainly are ! I've been collecting for a long time, and I do confess to getting pleasure from looking at a treasured item, thinking that I only paid 'X' and now it's worth 'Y'.

    In investment terms, militaria is referred to as a 'tangible' ( along with classic cars and of course, fine art ). All 'tangibles' are subject to whims and fashions. The advice for all these items is that you'd better like it because you may need to keep it a long time before 'realising' your investment....

    It's often debated, but without a doubt items from the Third Reich constitute the best 'investments' but as a result, are today faked to an almost unbelievable degree. Without a doubt, the advent of the internet was a watershed in values. Back in the day, you could fall into a conversation with an Ardennes farmer who would produce a long-forgotten item from the barn. Now ? He can do some online research, put it on e-bay, and voila ! - it can be on its' way to China tomorrow......

    Buy what you're interested in, and leave pure investing to the experts. Like Bruce Crompton - buy a Panther for around £1.5m, put it into fully restored, running condition for £?m, and sell it on for a rumoured £5m. ( Don't try this at home ! )

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