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A Collector's Letter to Santa...

Dear Santa,

It’s that time of year. My daughter and my partner have asked me “what do you want for Christmas?” I know it is hard to buy for a collector—it can actually be disastrous if I don’t provide some guidance. So, rather than leave it up to all of you to try to find things you think I will like, I thought it would be a good idea to write to you early this year. A collector’s serious Christmas list usually involves making phone calls, website surfing and shipping times so the more lead time I can give you, I know, the better chance I will receive what I want!

I know how hard it can be to buy for a collector. Collectors have very specific likes and dislikes and the reasons for these are far too deep for others to understand. For example, I realize very few people think that a pair of old leather gloves with the name of a WWI tanker written on the outside is as drop-dead cool as I think they are. It is also obvious to me that few will understand spending $500 or $1,000 on an old, rusty helmet can possibly be a good idea. And when I need a new car, spending $20,000 on a WWII Jeep just doesn’t make sense to anyone who isn’t a serious collector. But, I don’t expect you or those close to me to understand THOSE nuances of my Christmas desires.

The gift-giver has to believe what they are giving is just about as cool as the gift receiver will think it is. So, with that in mind, I am going to give you a small list of items that you will at least recognize as worthy gifts. You don’t have to worry about buying any musty uniforms, vehicle parts wrapped in cosmoline or spending hundreds of dollars for a little piece of bronze insignia. With all that said, my Christmas Wish List for 2010 is below:

1. Books.
What collector doesn’t appreciate the gift of books? But this is a dicey area. Don’t go shopping at Barnes and Nobles thinking you are going to buy something off the shelf that I really want. Just because a book is big and full of pictures doesn’t mean it is any good.

You know I usually buy the books I want as soon as they become available. But, like any collector, I pick and choose books that are most important to my area of interest and that means, there are several I would like to have, but will never have the extra dollars to buy them because they don’t specifically relate to my collecting interests.

A few books that really caught my eye this year but I just didn’t get around to buying include the following (And for your convenience, you can just click on the title to learn more—or buy one for me):

*River Patrol Insignia by Scott Kraska and Stephen Kirby, $49.95.
*Combat Badges of the Third Reich: The Luftwaffe by Stephen Previtera, $159.95.
*Comprehensive Guide: M1 Carbine by R.C. Larson, $59.95.
*A Scarlet Coat: The British in the War of 1812 by Rene Chartrand, $59.95.
*Crimson Spearhead: An Illustrated History of the First Special Service Force by Ken Joyce, $59.95.
*Equipping the Corps: Vol 1 Weapons, Webgear and Headgear by Alec Tulkoff, $79.95.
*SS Steel: Parade and Combat Helmets expanded edition by Kelly Hicks, $62.95.
*The German Infantry: Uniforms and Equipment from 1871 to 1914 by Ulrich Herr and Jens Nguyen. Two-volume set, $170.
*The German Reichswehr: Army Uniforms and Equipment, 1919-1932 by Adolf Schlicht and Jürgen Kraus, $130.

This one isn’t so much for my collecting interests, but rather, my late-night reading in bed pleasure:
*Into the Den of the Bear by Hermann Pfaeffle, $39.95.

2. DVDs. You know me, Santa, I value my weekend couch time. There is hardly anything better than a Saturday afternoon and a good war movie! You know that I already have a lot of movies, so buying one for me might be too intimidating. Here are a couple of suggestions:

*The Longest Day (1962). One of my favorite war movies and a John Wayne classic. 2-disc collector set, $14.49.
*Battleground (1950), $12.95 I just never got around to buying this classic!
*A Very Long Engagement (2004) $14.95 I know this sounds like a sissy-film, Santa, but I assure you, it has some of the most accurate depictions of WWI trench warfare ever recorded.

Oh! I just remembered, Santa. My own magazine, Military Vehicles didn’t publish a 2011 calendar, so I am going to need a couple for the wall next year. Thankfully, my buddies at the MVPA printed a pretty cool military vehicle-related calendar for 2011. It is only $10. Click here to find it.

Well Santa, those are a few ideas. I know it is hard to buy for a collector, but books and films are a safe bet… I am going to share this list with my readers so that they too, may be inspired to compile an easy list for their own friends and relatives to use as their shopping guides. (Hopefully, Diane and Trisha read my blog as well!)

John Adams-Graf
Editor, Military Trader & Military Vehicles Magazine

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