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10 Questions on buying Military Surplus

Talking with Experts at Government Liquidation

We are all in this together. In an effort to report on the state of different facets of the military collectibles market, Military Trader strives to discover and share the opinions of the hobby’s leading dealers and collectors. This month, we had the privilege to talk with the folks at Government Liquidation, a Liquidity Services marketplace.

Government Liquidation (GL) is a contractor of the DLA Disposition Services for the sale of surplus and scrap assets of the United States Department of Defense (DOD). GL operates an innovative and powerful online sales channel that enables surplus buyers to purchase available government assets in a convenient and open environment. GL utilizes world-class logistics, technology, marketing and customer service capabilities to assemble and promotes available property for the convenience of its buyers. With over 500 different commodity categories and thousands of surplus items added weekly to our inventory.

10 Questions Pic3
  1. Military Trader: Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us. Even though most of our readers are familiar with retail outlets of military surplus, it would be useful if you briefly describe how surplus material flows from the military down to retailers.

GL: Once an item is deemed surplus property, the DOD filters it to GL. Hundreds of items are added to our inventory weekly. The property is separated by commodity, lotted into an event and available for purchase via internet auction and/or sealed bid sale.

  1. Military Trader: Who can register to bid? Briefly explain how someone can register to bid in a GL auction. Are any special licenses or permits required to bid?

GL: Registration is a one-time requirement that is a prerequisite to your bidding in an event. Property is available to all qualified buyers either as an individual or business. Restrictions apply to anyone from an embargoed country. Simply click the “Register” button at the top right hand corner of our website ( The process is free and easy.

If property is classified as Demil B or Q, you are obligated to complete an End-Use Certificate (EUC) which requires approval by the Trade Security Controls department. An EUC is necessary each time this type of property is purchased. Our medical and dental equipment requires the one time completion of a FDA Certificate. (Property requiring these forms will be tagged and easily identifiable.)

  1. Military Trader: Where and when do the auctions take place?

GL: The property is sorted by commodity and sold via internet auction in “like” sales. Some categories are scheduled monthly while others are weekly. On our website, there is a calendar showing every sales event. It can be sorted by Category or Close Time. Each event and lot will have an Open Time, Close Time and Location. We have warehouses at military bases around the U.S. and two national warehouses in Columbus, OH and Oklahoma City, OK.

  1. Military Trader: Can you describe the types of military surplus material that routinely comes up for sale? Do bidders vie for individual items or lots?

GL: We offer property in over 500 commodity categories ranging from field gear to generators, vehicle components and parts, fired brass, electronics and much more. Items are sold by the lot. Quantities vary depending on what is received from the DOD. Each lot will list the quantity and have an item manifest. The starting bid per lot is $25.

  1. Military Trader: Can a bidder inspect lots in person?

GL: Yes – all sales have preview dates and times. You will need to schedule an appointment. As all items are sold “as is” we strongly encourage you to preview the lots you are interested in.

  1. Military Trader: If bidding is done online, how does a successful buyer take possession of lots? If the items are on military installations, what special instructions do you have for a buyer? Do you provide shipping?

GL: GL does not ship. There are two options – pick up the winning lot(s) yourself or you can arrange for a third party to pick up the lot(s) on your behalf. For your convenience, GL has provided a list of local and national shippers on the “Shipping Details” tab. All lots list dimensions and weight to easily obtain a shipping estimate. The removal period is listed on the lot and your invoice. Each instillation has their own set of rules and procedures. There is a “Preview & Load out” tab on each lot explaining their individual requirements.

  1. Military Trader: Auctions or buying lots of a single item isn’t for everyone. Tell us about “Uncle Sam’s Retail Outlet” and how this might appeal to military enthusiasts.

GL: Our inventory is sold by the lot and generally in large quantities. Wanting customers to feel comfortable with the quality of surplus, the USRO was established for people to “test the waters” and also for those who only needed one item. There is a USRO banner on our website so they are easy to find. The USRO will ship your order and if you spend over $100, shipping is free in the continental US.

  1. Military Trader: Your web site invites people to sell their surplus through GL. What type of material do you auction for private entities? Briefly describe the process.

GL: We have proven that we can sell anything from military surplus to Rolex watches. Why shouldn’t we sell your surplus too? With multiple marketplaces under the Liquidity Services umbrella, we able to provide the results you demand. We are very excited about an upcoming auction (IA21522) featuring very unique 2008 & 2009 HMMWVs with extremely low mileage. If you’re interested in having us sell your surplus, there is a contact tab on our website.

  1. Military Trader: Other than military enthusiasts, do others purchase military surplus?

GL: Yes they do! People have started their own businesses with military surplus – a builder turned railroad cars into bridges and a college student started a Designated Driver bus service. Others have taken surplus and turned it into works of art such as one gentleman who purchased a lot of oak bunk beds and turned them into a beautiful staircase. There are also the humanitarians who donate items to homeless shelters, etc. To see what others have done, click on the “Surplus TV” button on our website.

  1. Military Trader: Finally, we are all collectors—tell us about the most memorable bit of militaria that GL has sold.

GL: GL has sold some interesting items such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, china and memorabilia from the Reagan administration, a couple Half Tracks, cooking grease for fuel, the USS South Carolina Cruiser Ship and even retired military horses and mules. Our inventory is never boring!

We are honored to interview and report on prominent players in our hobby. To learn more about Government Liquidation, log onto; email: or call, 480. 367. 1300. We are available Monday - Friday from 8AM - 5PM AZ Time.

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