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 Deven Huwig of Ohio.

As a young person with just five years in the hobby, Deven has a very good sense of what “appeals to younger people” in the hobby. We are pleased she agreed to share her insight to our “10 Questions.”

Military Trader: Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us. Tell us what inspired you to begin collecting militaria

Deven Huwig: I’ve always been interested in the military so that definitely influenced it. I first started out with Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear stuff (mostly gas masks). This evolved into my collection that, today, consists mostly of uniforms.

Military Trader: How do you pursue the militaria hobby? How do you add items to your collection?

Deven Huwig: Knowing people certainly helps. I do get most of my stuff from the internet, though.

Military Trader: How do those close to you react to your collecting? Tell us about an encounter where you felt you had to explain why collect military relics?

Deven Huwig: My family and close friends support all that I do, so that’s good.

I do sometimes have to explain why I collect to those who don’t know me well and/or aren’t in the hobby.

I even have to explain to fellow militaria collectors why I’m interested in certain areas.

Military Trader: Do you find being a young woman in a hobby that is predominantly filled with older men unusually challenging? Describe what a typical interaction with a miltaria dealer is like for you?

Deven Huwig: I do, actually. It can be challenging. It can even be a little uncomfortable sometimes.

Sometimes, I get dealers who love to see young people — especially a female — in the hobby. Then there are others who, though they mean well, can come off as demeaning or underestimate my knowledge in some subjects.

Overall, I can’t complain too much.

Though Deven started out collecting gas masks, she has expanded to uniforms with an emphasis on military bands. She had collected 10th Mountain material specifically related to service in Afghanistan.

Though Deven started out collecting gas masks, she has expanded to uniforms with an emphasis on military bands. She had collected 10th Mountain material specifically related to service in Afghanistan. 

Military Trader: Tell us how if / how you share your collection. When you show it to people close to your own age, what reaction do they have?

Deven Huwig: I share most of my collection on an Instagram account that is dedicated to it specifically. I tend not to show it to people who are my age. Many don’t really understand, or they think it’s weird that I collect.

Military Trader: What would you say is your favorite type of material or time period to collect?

Deven Huwig: My main focus is on the United States and uniforms specifically. I have pieces from WWI through current issue, but I would like to focus approximately on the 1880s-1920s (this is my favorite period in history).

Deven’s favorite pieces in her collection — for now — are her Pershing’s Own band cap and uniform. While she wants to add more military band material to her collection, her real interest lies in uniforms of the 1880s through WWI.

Deven’s favorite pieces in her collection — for now — are her Pershing’s Own band cap and uniform. While she wants to add more military band material to her collection, her real interest lies in uniforms of the 1880s through WWI.

Military Trader: Tell us about your favorite piece in your collection. How did you acquire it?

Deven Huwig: I am not sure I can pick a favorite! But if I had to, my Pershing’s Own U.S. Army Band dress cap and coat are my favorites. Those were really lucky finds.

Military Trader: Do you look to grow your collection? If so, into what historical eras or types of material would like to collect?

Deven Huwig: I am always hoping to grow my collection. I’d like to move onto uniforms from Spanish-American War to approximately World War 1. I would also like to obtain more military band uniform pieces.

Military Trader: Have you ever been to a militaria show or, perhaps, and antique / flea market where you searched for relics? If so, what advice would you give to dealers who want to sell to someone that is under the age of, say, 25?

Deven Huwig: : I’ve been to a few military shows, but mostly antique and flea markets. They’re always fun.

The best advice I can give is to understand that some of the very young people might be lacking money. It’s an issue that I stumbled upon, but I’ve always had people nice enough to haggle with.

Military Trader: Up until recently, the role of woman in military has been down-played. What role, if any, does “women in the military” impact your collecting?

Deven Huwig: Honestly, the role of women in the military hasn’t impacted my collection at all.

Military Trader: Where do you research the pieces in your collection? How important are books vs. websites, and have you used social media to connect with other collectors?

Deven Huwig: I tend to use the internet more for research since so many resources are available. Social media has been great for connections. I have met two of my very best friends through it. I’ve also received a lot of help from other collectors through it.

In addition, she plays trumpet and participates in JROTC with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Recently, Deven had the honor of playing Taps at the memorial service of a fallen graduate.

Deven Huwig is an Ohio high school student who is also an avid militaria collector. In addition, she plays trumpet and participates in JROTC with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Recently, Deven had the honor of playing Taps at the memorial service of a fallen graduate. 

We are honored to interview and report on people in our hobby. We are grateful to Deven and her parents for participating in our interview and sharing a perspective few of us can know.

You may also enjoy

*What style of military collector are you? 

*Five steps to becoming a "serious" collector

*10 Questions with WWI Collecting Expert, Scott Kraska

*Calendar of upcoming military relic shows

*As an Amazon Associate, Military Trader / Military Vehicles earns from qualifying purchases.

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