Saturday, June 26, 2010

Volksmarche medals

All it takes is one small thing to interest me in yet another aspect of collecting. This time it was a conversation about the cold war, which led me to look at some Volksmarche medals related to US units based In Germany.

This led to searching the web, reading about the marches, (making a small bid on ebay on one and getting it). It just never ceases to amaze me just how many areas of military related collected are out there.

military money, military beer cans, military sports items... the crossover to other collectible areas is pretty amazing. There is just no limit, and it just goes to show you that the old collector's adage about specialization holds true.

I bet you could amass a world class military volksmarche collection without spending too much money.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Victory was Beyond Their Grasp

Anyone that read my old book reviews in the GI Journal knows I don't take kindly to crap. I get irritated when people publish books that are rehashes of something else, tell us nothing new, or show the author clearly does not have a good grasp on the subject.

Thus I bring up Victory was Beyond Their Grasp, by Doug Nash.

So this book makes me angry. Not because it's bad- heavens no. It's good. Van Johnson good! It makes me angry that something like this which breaks such new ground, on a topic no one else has done any real work on gets pretty much ignored.

While someone like Rick Atkinson who doesn't know a WW2 battalion from a regiment, gets massive royalties and $100,000 awards from the Pritzker Military Library. Life is just not fair.

So to be brief, this is an important book. It's the only one in English I am aware of that deals with the company history of a Volks-Grenadier Company in the Hurtgen Forest and on. It belong in every military history library, and the author deserves a major award for doing something new, interesting, important, and good.

Another fine book from the Aberjona Press - which if you don't know their stuff you need to!


I have no storage space left. None. Zip. Zilch.

This means most of my collection is stored and not displayed. Yeah, lucky me.

So in my Nth reorganization I find that I have stuff I totally forgot I had. Which is kind of scary since I have been going through the Alzheimer's thing with my mom.

What this means is that some things have been packed away for a long time. In fact I have been in the house for almost 20 years now. There are boxes that I know I have not opened since the move (OK, those are pretty much the stuff I thought was junky surplus at the time - now some of it actually worth something).

But a lot of things have just been packed up over the years and stored away. Which got me to thinking about the old adage of pack as if it's going to be there for a while.

This means don't just toss it in a box, but give it some thought: like don't pad with acidic newspaper. Now in theory you are supposed to store clothing out flat. Few of us can afford to do this. So in some cases rolling the uniforms up may be a better way that folding them (as the time and pressure may make those folds permanent).

Don't store the stuff where there's a chance it will get wet (like near a washing machine), and not where it will hit extremes of temperature (like a garage or attic).

Keep stuff together. You may think you will remember that the cables for those radios is in the second small box from the right, but one day you won't. I have a jeep part that had all the nuts and bolts safely put into a jar so they would not get lost. And now, they are. In the jar (I hope) somewhere. Lost in the depths of the garage of doom or the basement of diet-Pepsi.

Somewhere there is a guy who has a list of everything he owns, and it tells him what box it is in. I'm not that guy. I used to know in my mind where everything was, where I got it, and what it was worth. But now I find time has let some of that slip.

So take it from me - start good collecting habits now.