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Posted on Jan 30, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Militaria ’06

By A J Summersgill and Roach

In fact, without appearing sexist, it is always quite surprising to see the large numbers of women attending these types of militaria jumble-sales, and indeed, there were a significant number doing the rounds of the stalls with their partners at Militaria ‘06; it is certainly a trend that seems to be on the increase. There were females aplenty at this oft-perceived men-only domain, apparently just as eager to snap up a bargain as the next man – or even woman.

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From swords to grenades to artillery shells, it seems that almost anything
can become a much sought-after commodity

Of course, if it was a new dress they were after (damn, I am appearing sexist after all!), there were certainly enough civilian clothing stalls on hand. These were doing just as much business as those selling items for the discerning GI, Tommy, and Landser. It has to be said that one of the features of Stoneleigh is normally the Saturday night ‘40s Ball that kicks off the show which no doubt boosts the need for civilian outfitters. Unfortunately the Ball was cancelled this year, but hopefully it will return next year. Ah, dancing, alcohol, women, and militaria (but not necessarily in that order) – what more could a man want?!

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Answers on a postcard…

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Keep your hands off our hairy grassmats…

As already mentioned, all periods of warfare were covered by the dealers present but as is often the case, the emphasis was on WW2 and the usual plethora of deactivated weapons for sale, mainly from this period, attracted their usual interest. The gun laws introduced in England in the last 15 years prevent legal ownership of virtually all live-firing weapons, military or otherwise, and therefore, if you want to own something of this nature, then your only option is to buy a ‘de-act’. These still command high prices, especially if you want to own something that still has moving parts. When new legislation was first introduced in the late 1980s, the process of the legal deactivation of weapons still allowed for moving parts, enabling the owner to be able to field strip the weapon to some extent, as well as cocking and dry firing.

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Just a tiny selection of the thousands of de-activated weapons for sale

 

However later legislation insisted on a total lack of moving parts; essentially the weapon was welded down tight. This legislation was not retrospective so first pattern deactivated weapons are still legal – and accordingly command higher prices than the second pattern de-acts. As an example, you could buy a late specification deactivated M3 ‘Grease Gun’ for £200 at Militaria ’06, but if you wanted one that had been deactivated to the early specification with, for example, a working bolt, then the price was double. As another example of the high prices early specification de-acts command, an M1 rifle (now a very rare beast to find for purchase on these shores at the best of times) was on sale for the best part of £1,000.

Nobody said militaria was cheap!

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