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

Militaria ’06

By A J Summersgill and Roach

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One of the most interesting stalls – model war machines made from wood!

Of course, everyone wants to find the bargain of a lifetime; everyone wants to buy that inoffensive looking piece of kit for considerably less than the market value. Everyone wants to get a result. The only problem of course is that dealers seldom undervalue things, or don’t recognise that curious rare, early pattern “B” jacket for what it actually is! Nevertheless, most militaria enthusiasts still hope for the best, and hope to beat the dealer at his own game – and get that result!

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I personally didn’t get any results at Militaria ’06; or at least not one that I had to part cash with. Like a lot of militaria shows, Militaria ’06 was a chance to catch up with old friends, take a look at the current militaria ‘scene’, to see what was ‘hot and what was not, and generally keep up to date with everything that is going on.

There were even some re-enactment displays to be seen, ranging from a recreation of the retreat at Dunkirk to some German paratroopers defensively holed up in a house.

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Seeing so many people walking around in uniform soon becomes
normal at shows like these…

Amongst the very many unfamiliar new faces, there were plenty of old familiar faces doing the ‘rounds’ of the stalls; the same faces I first saw 20 years ago, still looking for that bargain, still looking for that result. In many ways there is a different feel today, but then again, in many ways it is still the same.

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Were these for sale or was the car park full?

The constants are there; for one thing, prices keep going up and up! I can still recall paying £5.00 for a fairly good condition US rifle belt some years ago – and thinking that was pricey. At Militaria ‘06 I saw average condition belts for £100.00 and some in excess of that! It is almost hard to believe, but only almost; and I’m so glad that I still have two or three incredibly mint examples safely tucked away – who would have thought webbing would be an investment!

Another constant is, of course, the enthusiasm of collectors. This was very much in evidence at Militaria ’06. And as I’ve already hinted at, you don’t have to spend money to actually get a result. Sometimes all you actually have to do to learn something interesting is keep your ears open and listen to the hubbub of conversations going on around you: browse and listen.

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Everything for the discerning Stormtrooper

As I also already mentioned, there are plenty of self-proclaimed experts around, many of them with years of experience in their specific avenues of interest and some of these ‘experts’ really do know what are talking about. And better still, they often do love to talk, and to let others know a little (but not necessarily all) of what they know. As a famous television advertising campaign in England used to profess: it’s good to talk.

As I was leaving Militaria ‘06, I had a final brief word with Seimon Pugh-Jones as he took a very quick break from the hectic ACG stand: Had it been a worthwhile day? I asked him. Oh yes, he replied, I haven’t stopped talking to people all day.

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Seimon and friend; "Remember that time I made you
throw yourself off a Tank?"

So there you go then: Result.

Spread the word.

Words by Roach, pictures by A J Summersgill – andrew@armchairgeneral.com

To view the complete set of images from our visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.

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