We know it is hard for our friends and family to find holiday gifts that appeal to a military collector. A tactic that has worked well for some of us is to leave clippings with full ordering information in strategic locations like: On your spouse’s pillow; taped to the refrigerator; attached to the bathroom mirror; or even stapled to the top of the dog food bag. You might laugh, but this technique got me a $100 book on Soviet medals last year instead of the usual socks and underwear!
To assist you in getting the kind of gifts a military collector likes, we have assembled this “easy-to-use” gift guide.
Larry & Terri Stewart are two of Santa’s busiest helpers. I admit, I don’t wait for Christmas to check out their web site — in fact, I visit it weekly! So, my list is long. They have thousands of items from all periods. Personally, I am partial to their medals, How cool would it be to find a named, Civil War medal (10th West Virginia Infantry) at the bottom of my stocking this year? Item #42388 is on their web site for $435. If that is too pricey, take a look around. They have militaria and Americana to fit any taste or budget. Check their web site at: www.StewartsMilitary.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 480-834-4004.
How about a reproduction WWII German WWII Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) gravity knife? Sure, we all want originals, but have you considered just how cool it would be to have one to carry in place of your pocket knife? 1944 Militaria has one for $135 (Product Code: RPGRAVKNF—Usually ships within 24-72 hours of ordering). Contact: 1944 Militaria, 387 Rainey Rdl, Woolwich, NJ 08085; Telephone Number 856-294-9310 Email email@example.com; web site: www.1944militaria.com
B-2 Style Shearling Leather Cap with USAC Wings and Insignia, $275. Who doesn’t want to look like Carter on Hogan’s Heroes? Bell’s Aviation has loads of one-of-a-kind aviation items, but this one stands out. Check out the entire line to find that right aviation-related item for your Christmas stocking online at www.BellsAviation.com or contact Bells Aviation, PO Box 342, Tilghman, MD 21671; 800.531.489.
David Ginader at Time Traveler Militaria has a full line of great original, one-of-a-kind items. A visit to his website is like sitting with a “Sears Catalog of militaria” — there is just so much to choose from! That said, I haven’t got around to adding a more modern US helmet to my collection. David has this nice USMC Kevlar Helmet w/Cover (item HU-913) for only $90! Contact David or Sung at 703.216.4994; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the site at www.timetravelermilitaria.com
World War Supply has been one of Santa’s exclusive military accessory dealers.
It is a veteran-owned and operated company that takes pride in historically accurate and quality reproduction militaria. Among the hundreds of items offered on their web site is this awesome Denix Replica U.S. Cal. 30 M1A1 Carbine for just $229.99 (product code 805). The non-firing reproduction has a working folding stock and removable magazine. It would be perfect to hang on a mannequin or on a Jeep. Contact info: World War Supply, P.O. Box 72, Ada, MI 49301; 24/7 Ordering Line: (616) 682-6039; www.WorldWarSupply.com
I know Santa gets a lot of good ideas from Jean-Pierre. I have even suspected that Jean-Pierre is in direct contact with the North Pole, as he has often monitored my behavior at the Show of Shows! Well, if Jean-Pierre is reading and is in communication with Santa, I checked out the web site at www.pierreww2.com and picked out this mint condition RLB belt buckle. It is listed for $260, so it might sell fast. Don’t worry, there are hundreds of items available on the web site or check out Jean-Pierre’s most recent offering in his 2-page ad in this issue. Contact Jean-Pierre at P.O. Box 331, Exton, PA 19341; 610.420.0236 (PM only), or email: Pierrecollectibles.email@example.com
If your Santa is a bit more well-off than my Santa, you might suggest a visit to www.wwiidaggers.com. Thomas T. Wittman has some of the finest German Imperial & WWII Third Reich militaria in the hobby. Whether your Santa’s budget is $50 or $50,000, Wittmann Antique Militaria has something for you.
Santa, if you are reading, I have always had a soft spot for Afrikakorps stuff, and this would sure be a treat to find under the tree! I really like this item: Afrikakorps Cigarette Case (item POTPOURRI #43333C), $895. You can get it from Wittmann Antique Militaria, PO Box 350, Moorestown, NJ 08057-0350; phone 856.866.8733; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.wwiidaggers.com
One of my favorite movies is Das Boot. How cool would it be to wear a repro U-Boot officer’s cap the next time I watch it? MilitaryTour.com has hundreds of original and high quality reproduction WWII items, and this one got my attention. For $259 plus shipping, I can bark out orders from my own tower! Check it out or any of the other 3,000 items at www.MilitaryTour.com; 800.785.8644. Order online and you can get 10% off on your first order (watch for the drop-down)!
Stasi Decorations and Memorabilia: A Collector’s Guide, by Ralph Pickard, 2007, English language text, 248 pages, fully illustrated in color. Complete guide to medals and documents issued to DDR’s notorious internal secret police force. Only 750 copies in print and each copy is individually numbered. This book may soon become an out-of-print collectible in its own right! $75 Available from Atlantic Crossroads, Box 144, Tenafly, NJ 07670; phone: 201-567-8717; igor@collectRussia.com; www.CollectRussia.com. If you visit the web site, take time to look at the hundreds of serious medals, awards, and other militaria. It’s a feast of incredible collectibles.
Where does a shopper begin at Johnson Reference Books? Don’t let the name fool you. While there are dozens of quality reference books available from LTC Thomas Johnson, he is known for his discriminating taste in Third Reich Collectibles. A visit to his web site will reveal the depth of items he has available. At any given time, there are more than 2,100 items of original German Imperial and Third Reich edged weapons, parts and accouterments, as well as out-of-print and current militaria reference books. His 47+ years of service has given him an unprecedented advantage in the German militaria market. So, it is hard to pick just one item for my Secret Santa to acquire. But you know, it’s the holidays, and I have never owned a chained SS Dagger. So Secret Santa, if you are reading, I would gladly accept this 1936 Chained SS Dagger (#30777). It’s $8,400, so I won’t ask for anything else this year. To wrap it up for me, contact Johnson Reference Books; 403 Chatham Square Office Park, Fredericksburg, VA 22405; (540) 373-9150; email@example.com; www.johnsonreferencebooks.com
Bunker Militaria offers a wide selection of 19th and 20th Century German militaria with a focus on field gear, medals, paper and personal items from WWI and WWII. The majority of their inventory is imported directly from Germany. There are hundreds of great ideas on their web site. After about an hour of studying, I decided I really liked this Afrikakorps Kriegsmarine cap (item no. 26490). It will set Santa back $950, but, wow, what a gift it would be! Check out this and all their other offerings at: www.bunkermilitaria.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 918-283.4417.
One of Santa’s true helpers in our hobby has to be Hayes Otoupalik. He has been buying, selling, trading, and appraising militaria and firearms as long as I have been able to sit up and say, “I want that!” The man literally has warehouses full of cool stuff, so check out his web site for just a taste. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one item, but what caught my eye on my most recent visit was this original Vietnam War US Army rubber AK-47 as made as training aid during the Vietnam War. This would be such a cool addition to a Vietnam display or a military vehicle. Hayes has it listed for $225.00 (item 004878). I wouldn’t be surprised if he had more than one! Contact him at Hayes Otoupalik, PO Box 8423, Missoula, MT 59807; 406.549.4817; email@example.com; www.hayesotoupalik.com