Over the course of our nation’s military history and its involvement throughout World War II and other global conflicts and world wars, many military antiques and collectibles have emerged. Collections can be as specific as a particular item such as insignia, or broader based such as World War II memorabilia. The possibilities are endless and some of the items being sought are rare and difficult to find.
Firearms and Ordnance
Firearms and Ordnance are another popular area for collectors. A collector may choose to collect only a specific type of firearm such as pistols or rifles or they may focus their collection to a specific era, such as World War II. The combinations are endless and with careful consideration of the various resources available today on the internet, a collector of military firearms and ordnance can find himself investing a great deal of time and money, with the end result being a very impressive collection.
The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has a large collection of military weapons and firearms on display in the Firearms and Ordnance section of the museum.
The British implemented some of the earliest known military insignia – dating back to the Revolutionary War – to assist with differentiating various ranks within the military. Not long after, the United States began using a similar system. With the various branches of US military, and the extensive history of each, the number of US military insignia alone is staggering. Over the years, some of the insignia have changed while others were discontinued making them obsolete. A collector of military insignia can choose to focus on a particular military branch, rank or era in history.
A variety of military insignia from various conflicts are on display at the Armed Forces History Museum. The insignia are displayed throughout the museum in the areas reflective of the insignia’s history.
Trench art is a term which refers to items soldiers made by hand in the trenches using the limited materials available. While trench art eventually became popular as modern, mass produced souvenirs, the original hand trench art is a piece of art work. The soldiers would pass time in the trenches and hand tap designs into shell casings and other materials that were available. Many of these items today are highly sought after by collectors of original trench art.
AFHM has a number of unique trench art items on display throughout the museum. The trench art can be found in the dioramas and displays reflective of the trench art’s history.
Today, many people enjoy collecting scale models of prominent battleships, aircraft, tanks and vehicles that were used throughout our military history. Models can be purchase already assembled, or the collector can research and choose a specific skill level and assemble the scale model himself before adding it to his collection. The kits are available in various scales and materials, so close attention is warranted when purchasing scale models for any collection.
In the Armed Forces History Museum’s WWII Pearl Harbor Gallery, scale models of Japanese ships from the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! are on display.
Propaganda posters from WWI and WWII are very popular among collectors. The posters were used extensively throughout the war to raise awareness and patriotism in the United States. With thousands of designs to choose from, one must also be careful to ensure the poster is authentic, and not a replication. Condition also is another important factor, as it has a large impact in determining the price the collector will pay.
Authentic, replicated posters from various eras are on display throughout the Armed Forces History Museum. These posters lend a deeper appreciation for the patriotism and the importance of the each individual’s contribution during the war(s).
Post cards are another category of military collectibles. The post card was widely used in World War II as a means of communication between a soldier and his family. Some of the post cards replicated the themes of the propaganda posters; while others would be purchased from a local vendor in the area the soldier was stationed. All of these make great additions to any collection.
Other War Memorabilia
A vast number of additional war memorabilia is popular among collectors of World War I, World War II and other historical military eras. Radios and communication devices, books, military uniforms and military challenge coins are just a few of the additional areas collectors often explore when seeking to establish a collection of military memorabilia.
The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL boasts a large collection of military memorabilia, including full-sized, fully operational military tanks and vehicles. The items can be found in the areas of the museum that reflects the history of the piece. Come immerse yourself into the past with over 100,000 pieces of military antiques and collectibles at the AFHM.