WORLD WAR ONE MILITARIA COLLECTOR
Be careful when choosing what to collect. There are so many possibilities that it pays to be selective.
Collecting weapons, for instance, is a specialized interest. If World War 1
weaponry attracts you, join a club and subscribe to specialist magazines.
The smallest article of uniform is going to he pricey, because even tin helmets are getting scare.
Beware of fakes; it is very easy to stitch World War I badges onto a battledress and you need to be very knowledgeable not to be taken in.
Haunt the Imperial War Museum and the National Army Museum so you can get a feel for the real thing.
Medals and decorations are also widely faked. Once again, knowledge is the best defence. Join the Orders and Medals Research Society and subscribe to their journal. If medals can be identified as belonging to a known individual, then they are worth more.
By far the safest areas for the novice collector are trench art, paper memorabilia and commemorative china. It is possible that you have inherited some items, as World War I is relatively recent history.
You may pick up some items at flea markets and even at car fairs, hut the best hunting grounds are salerooms and specialist dealers.
As usual, it is important to check china for chips, cracks or rubbing to transfer prints. Bairnsfatherware is particularly collectable as his Old Bill character was so much a part of the Great War.
Figurines and toby jugs and mugs depicting notable generals, admirals and the like are also desirable. Look out for those designed by Carruthers Gould for Wilkinson's; you will find a maker's mark on the base of items.
Always make sure that none of the fine detail has been chipped or broken off.
Crockery and models of tanks or ambulances with coats-of-arms or regimental insignia were made by Goss, Swan, Carlton and others. Again, look for maker's marks.
Magazines, posters or postcards should be in good condition. Tears, serious yellowing, bad creasing or water damage will reduce the value. Books with their original dust covers in good condition are worth more than those with no cover or one that has got tatty.
Although good condition is an important consideration, mint condition is suspect in items made 80 years ago, especially if the article supposedly spent time in the trenches. Ensembles of kit associated with a particular person should never be broken up.
Troops stationed overseas kept in touch with Blighty by mail. Postcards with embroidered motifs were very popular.