Das Reich !

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b.loree
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Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:24 pm

My first story of an excellent score involves a cloth grouping from Das Reich, the Waffen SS unit. I am not a 3rd Reich collector so those of you who are, please forgive any mistakes that may occur in this tale. We did have a small antique store here in Barrie (gone now), just a hole in the wall really and one day I decided to stop in after work just for the hell of it, I mean you want treasure, then you have to search. It took me about 3 minutes to go through the whole store and there was nothing, no militaria at all. However, on my way out I stopped at the counter and asked...do you have any military items? The owner reaches down under the counter and pulls out a plastic bag with some cloth items in it. He tells me these were brought in on consignment by a young couple who found them while cleaning out granddad's house. So in the bag were about 4 items, the main finds were a Das Reich cuff title, an eastern front medal and an EK2 ribbon. The dealer wanted $100 which I paid with the proviso that if they proved to be fakes then I could get my money back.
The only ex WWII collector that I knew at the time was one Tony Schnurr. So, a phone call, some emailed pics and a careful count of the silver threads on the edge of the title proved that these were 100% original. I never got a chance to get back to the shop as it closed soon after my visit. I subsequently sold all the items to a collector/dealer for $1200. Not a bad return on a $100 investment.
Before selling, I did some research...Das Reich had fought mostly on the Eastern front but were brought back to counter the allied D-Day landings in Normandy. The Canuck forces were sent up the coast to Caen etc and probably encountered this Waffen SS unit which would explain how a Canadian vet brought back some Das Reich souvenirs.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Spiker » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:20 am

Cool story , :thumb up:

didn't know Mr Tony S was also a WWII collector.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:01 pm

Not any more Ed, Mr T had a large collection of 3rd Reich but he got tired of buying items only to have to send them back because they were fakes. He sold his first collection in the 1990's and got into collecting Imperial German because at that time there were no fake problems in that area of collecting. Nazi items still dominate such shows as the SOS in Louisville.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Peter_Suciu » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:00 pm

Tony also once told me that he also felt a little wrong having a large collection of Nazi items, and found some of the collectors "appreciated" the Nazis a bit too much. Those are feelings I can certainly relate to, and I think this has only gotten worse.

As for Nazi items dominating shows such as SOS, there I think things have gotten a lot better. Interest in American items from WWII has been on the rise thanks to movies and TV shows, while British and Canadian items have also become more popular. Vietnam War and even Gulf War/Iraqi Freedom items are getting popular - much of this is due to cost.

If anything the Nazi (Third Reich) era items have reached a ceiling in terms of prices. It is almost impossible for a new collector without very deep pockets to build a collection of TR items. By contrast Imperial German items are actually "affordable."

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by poniatowski » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:30 pm

Unfortunately, the non-collector doesn't even discern between Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, SS, etc. and think they're all 'Nazi' items. Certainly, they were all part of the TR, but not all were true 'card carrying' Nazis and a lot were drafted (compulsory enlistment) into service just as in other countries; except the penalties for not serving 'The Reich' were much more severe.
Sadly, in the US today, many are so ignorant of history (and happily so... but they certainly can text!), that they think Imperial German is also 'Nazi'. Very exasperating at times.

Something I didn't know prior to joining this forum is how far back some Pickelhaube fakes go.

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by ottodog8 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:14 pm

I had a WW2 German collection at one time. When I was a kid I lived in Levittown NY for a while. The original suburb, almost entirely populated by WW2 vets. On one side of me lived a M36 tank destroyer gunner, fought in the Bulge. On the other side a Marine, Pacific vet. I once saw him pruning his shrubs with a samurai sword. Across the street was a muleskinner in a Pack Field Artillery Battalion, fought on Attu against the Japanese, then on to Italy, Southern France and ended up in the Bavarian Alps. Behind me was a Signal Corps vet. When I asked him if he was in the Battle of the Bulge, he exclaimed "In it? We caused it!" meaning as a Signal Corps outfit, when they saw the kraut tanks coming they hightailed it! They all had cool stuff, some was gifted to me and I still have it. Probably the coolest piece I had came later, a Waffen SS four pocket dot pattern camo jacket. Being primarily a weapons collector I had most of the weapons, 98ks, K43s, PO8s, P38s, G33/40s Zf41, Zf4, etc. etc.. Eventually I got tired of the fakes, and I also came to the realization that the Nazis were real Aholes and I wanted nothing to do with them. I kept the trinkets I was given (a flag, armband, some pins) as a kid, a pretty nice 98k, and a Waffen SS M43 Panzer cap. I kept the cap because REAL SS cloth is pretty scarce, and this one came from the vet. Moved almost entirely into WW1, although I do have a weakness for Japanese swords. It sure has been a fun ride, and I made couple of bucks to boot!
Steve

PS
the Das Reich division was responsible for the rabatz at Oradour in France. I never bought into the "soldiers like other soldiers" argument.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:03 pm

Thanks Otto D for your post. I have watched the documentary on Levittown and shown it to my students as part of the 1950's creation of "suburbia". I was born into one of those 50's little "box" houses as the Canucks copied Levitt's design. I wonder if anyone out there has any info on the Canucks coming up against Das Reich?
Pete... what do you see as the future market for our collectibles? Obviously, everything is going to have to be sold eventually. Is there a younger generation of collectors out there who will want these items?
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Peter_Suciu » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:55 pm

poniatowski wrote:Sadly, in the US today, many are so ignorant of history (and happily so... but they certainly can text!), that they think Imperial German is also 'Nazi'. Very exasperating at times.
Ron, you are right that many in the US are ignorant of history and do confuse Imperial German with the Nazis, but as I also pointed out too many TR collectors tend to forgive everything the Nazis did and all too often take the argument that the Waffen SS was somehow not really the bad guys.

That said I have been asked, "is it legal to own this stuff," but I think in general it is anything old and military. For now it is legal... for now.

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by joerookery » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:44 pm

Years ago we went to the max and found a dealer wearing a black SS uniform reproduction. Found out he got married in that suit. :-x
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:54 pm

Yes, the people who dress up in 3rd Reich give me second thoughts as well. That guy who comes to the SOS dressed as Hermann Goering...what is that all about??
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by J.LeBrasseur » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:59 pm

many of us started with Third Reich collecting and then saw the light....

I started out collecting daggers and swords from the Third Reich.

I got rid of all mine that I accumulated over the years, and it got me my first 20 or 30 spiked helmets around 15 to 20 years ago. One thing about the Third Reich stuff, if it is legit, you can get good money for it.

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by aicusv » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:32 pm

Many many years ago, I too, collected TR items. When I started collecting everyone around was a vet and had something they brought home, so getting original pieces wasn't a problem. Then came the flood of fakes, it became hard to find the originals as they had become buried by the fakes. That and then with the concern over what the TR stood for I decided to stop (In the early 70's )and sold off most of the stuff. I only keeping some bayonets, a dagger and my wife's uncle's decorations. I had always looked at the items as representing what the vets, who I got them from, did.

One of the best things about collecting in the 50's - 60's was the collecting of US shoulder patches. My brother and I had a collection that had every US Army, and USMC divisional and higher shoulder patches, along with a good number of US Navy squadron patches (worn on the the flight jackets). We even had the phantom divisions. We were able to put this collection together without spending a dime. During that time the men would wear there old uniform shirts and jackets to work, so if we saw a guy with a patch we didn't have we would ask them for it. Our Dad also would also hit up the guys he worked with and his buddies (some of my father's friends noted WWII figures). Who could say no to a little kid?

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Peter_Suciu » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:43 pm

b.loree wrote:Yes, the people who dress up in 3rd Reich give me second thoughts as well. That guy who comes to the SOS dressed as Hermann Goering...what is that all about??
Maybe it is an excuse not to diet! :D

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:00 pm

That's true I sold a TR soldbuch for $400 at the last SOS. Of course...then I bought a helmet from you J man! I do not have any qualms about the TR items as a vehicle to make money from. I do not have a problem with any collector of TR either, to each his own, it is a part of history. I do have a problem with anyone dressing up in their uniforms and parading about in public at the SOS. To me that is an insult to those allied soldiers who gave their lives to defeat this evil. I do wonder at times, why the German stuff WW1/2 is so much more valuable than our own? The Germans lost in both cases...is it a male trophy thing?? Perhaps they had better uniform/militaria designers than us so their shit was sexier?? I do think that it is ironic that German militaria commands the prices that it does. Perhaps it is recognition of a tough adversary who was ultimately defeated?? It would be interesting to hear from our Eastern European members who suffered so much from the Nazi occupation during the war. Do they collect Third Reich?? This is a grey area to which there is no clear black and white answer.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by skelts1974 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:24 am

Brian,

If you are looking to offload kit I may know an interested buyer - although given I have just hit 40 May not meet your requirements of the younger generation.

Steve

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Spiker » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:49 am

b.loree wrote: I do wonder at times, why the German stuff WW1/2 is so much more valuable than our own? The Germans lost in both cases...is it a male trophy thing??
Germany won the war in 1870/71 ,but nobody collects stuff from that era , :-k it seems like the losing party is always the most attractive one ,or indeed a trophy thing.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by joerookery » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:43 am

1870/71 ,but nobody collects stuff from that era
Larry Stewart does!
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Gustaf » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:36 am

Brian, I think you will find that WWI Canadian stuff is nearly as dear as German, British and French are closing fast too. American stuff from WWI will always be cheaper because The US had millions of uniforms and equipment for the 1919 spring offensive, when the war ended unexpectedly, every US soldier was given a new uniform when he headed home, was allowed to keep most of his gear and the warehouses were still full of uniforms and equipment. Real wartime US uniforms are as rare as German, but even they are depressed in price because there are so many "muster out" uniforms in the US.
When it comes to equipment, British, Canadian, French, Italian and Russian is all more expensive than German because so little was souvenired. Forget about finding Belgian, Serb or Portuguese stuff.
Am I the only collector who never collected TR stuff? I do have a nasty arm band given me by a DP camp commandant who married my great aunt in the 80s, She was French and survived WWI, he was Belgian and survived WWII. She told me that they would get in arguments about what happened during the war, she would not admit to him that the reason was she was remembering WWI and she did not want to admit she was 20 years his senior.
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by poniatowski » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:29 pm

As far as vets stating they liked fighting the SS Divisions better, I've had two or three tell me that and they did distinguish between the SS and Wehrmacht (especially if prisoners were taken, the SS tended to die on the way to the 'pens', the others tended to live unless they did something stupid). Others, of course, did not distinguish or care... a target was a target. Not having been there, I don't know what I'd have thought.

I stopped re-enacting (tank crew, Shermans and Stuarts) because of the Nazi re-enactors who would sing those darned Nazi songs at night by their Hetzer or whatnot. Sorry, but I had no patience with that. A drinking song was one thing, the Horst Wessel Lied was another... especially in public at an event to honor US veterans.

Other than that, I do think that European uniforms tend to have a nicer style to them with the different colored piping for 'specialties' of the soldier. Also, there is something of 'trophy' hunting in it, perhaps. As for Pickelhaube, I'd liked them since I was very young and don't know what influenced me to key into them. I can remember the photo that did it, but I don't know why.

:D Ron
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by Spiker » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:05 am

When I started collecting, I was mostly interested in WWII.
Some of the stuff that remained is still in the attic.

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Re: Das Reich !

Post by b.loree » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:35 pm

Hmmmm... I see 2 return plane tickets to the next Louisville SOS, food, lodging (Joe will buy the beer) and lots left over for helmets! :D
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Re: Das Reich !

Post by joerookery » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:57 am

I would be glad to buy the beer if I can go. These dates are not Joe friendly. =;
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