DSCN3728 copyMilitary Memorabilia is far more than just collectible items.  These items tell a story, they give us the rich history behind the men and women who made valiant sacrifices in order to serve their country and preserve the freedom we still continue to experience today.  Military memorabilia is a porthole to the past; and when you enter the AFHM, you pass through that very porthole and are transported back in time and immersed into sights and sounds that bring history to life.


WWI and WWII Military Memorabilia at the AFHM

The Armed Forces History Museum boasts of over 100,000 pieces of authentic military memorabilia dating back as far as the Revolutionary War – a bayonet on display in the Firearms and Ordnance Room.  A Civil War Uniform, which was reproduced from the remnants of an actual uniform, is on display in the Salute to Services Gallery.  The AFHM has a WWI Trench with posts from Flanders Field in France, a WWI horse gas Pearl-Harbor-4-300x225mask and a number of other WWI militaria.  The WWII Pearl Harbor Gallery has a 20 ft. screen showing actual film footage from the bombing.  Also in this gallery are the scale models of the Japanese ships which were used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!


The WWII USMC room has a number of pieces on display.  As visitors view the military memorabilia in this area they can listen to the story of Iwo Jima survivor John Residence – who witnessed the flag raising on Iwo Jima – as he tells his story of that fateful day.   As visitors pass through this area they are amazed at the full sized Stuart Tank and WWII DUKW.  Like all the vehicles and armor at the AFHM, these two pieces are fully restored and fully operational.


The WWII US Navy gallery has an inkwell on display from the USS Missouri, which would have been aboard the ship around the same time the Japanese signed the treaty.  An actual Navy periscope is also on display in this gallery.  Visitors can peer through the scope out into the museum parking lot.


The WWII Normandy diorama displays military memorabilia that belonged to Colonel DSCN3652Schroeder – the first man to step foot on Normandy Beach.  A reproduced French Village is part of this area of the museum along with a diorama showing Private Steele hanging from the steeple of St. Mere Iglese.  The German village diorama in this area houses the uniform of Karl Mauss and a number of other militaria from the Axis.  Displaying these items is based on their historical significance only.  A WWII Communications diorama shows a WWII soldier using radio communication equipment.  A number of other communication pieces used during the war round out the extensive World War II portion of the museum.


Korean and Vietnam War Militaria at the AFHM

The Sherman Tank at the AFHM is representative of the Korean War era, along with a MASH - Pic 4Korean MASH ambulance and diorama of a MASH surgical unit.  A number of items – including surgical instruments used by the MASH doctors – is on display just outside the MASH tent.  Also in this area is a tribute to Tampa Bay’s own Korean War hero – Baldomero Lopez.  His family was kind enough to donate a number of items of this brave young warrior.  The AFHM is honored to have them as part of their Korean War display.  Visitors can listen to the story of Baldomero Lopez’s heroic act at the Inchon Landing diorama.


Another diorama in the Korean War area is dedicated to the Frozen Chosin.  Military memorabilia here in this area depict some communication devices used as well as the winter outerwear that was crucial in surviving the frigid temps.  As the story of the Frozen Chosin is heard, the chilly temps depicted in this diorama can almost be felt.


The Korean War section of the museum also has a diorama of Rosie’s Bar and a very unique display from Korean War POW Bill Allen.  Bill volunteers at the museum and educates visitors on the trials and tribulations of a POW.  Bill recounts his story in his autobiography “My Old Box of Memories”.  Bill brings his military memorabilia to life with the real life stories of being a prisoner.


ho-Chi-Minh-Trail-for-WS Pic 5The museum also has a collection from the Vietnam era.  An impressive diorama of the Ho Chi Minh trail takes visitors on a brief walk through the forest of Vietnam.  Display cases inside and around the trail display a number of authentic pieces from this historic time period.  A diorama of a Vietnam Firebase rounds out the Vietnam section of the museum.


Other Memorabilia at the Museum

A few pieces are also on display from the historically significant Cold War Era.   Next to the Cold War exhibit is a display case which houses the only known uniform in the United States of Saddam Hussein.


A partial replica of a Quonset Hut, a MiG 21 Supersonic Jet and a number of jeeps, halftracks and other armor are also part of the extensive collection at the Armed Forces History Museum.  The museum is located at 2050 34th Way N in Largo, FL.


The above is but a brief overview of the extensive military memorabilia on display at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Read below to learn more about military memorabilia in general. (Continued below)

WWII Military Memorabilia

World War II is probably the most sought after military memorabilia.  Though much of veteran-telling-story Pic 6it is still available, the stories that go with it are dying off quickly.  Many a brave young man stepped forward after the bombing of WWII, and while some of their stories have been forever immortalized because of the significance of a particular act or overall contributions of their service.  Many stories will never be known as they died with the brave young warrior on the battlefield.  Others, for whatever reason, never made it to the lime light.  Their contributions were equally as significant, but their stories remain only with a small number of family members and close friends.  Some of the veterans of the various conflicts have been unable to share their experiences even with family members.  Once they are gone, their untold story dies with them.


WWII Military Memorabilia includes uniforms, helmets, field equipment, dog tags, Log-book Pic 7posters and postcards, personal effects such as a flight log or pay record, rifles, shotguns, patches and insignia, as well as firearms and ordnance.  Jeeps, halftracks, tanks and other armored vehicles are still around from this era.  Unless they are on display at a museum, many of them are in need of refurbishing.  All the vehicles at the AFHM are fully restored and fully operational.


Rare Military Memorabilia

Though a number of authentic military memorabilia are available today, some items are rare and difficult to find.  Original Revolutionary War relics – 1775 to 1783 – are quite rare and desired by avid collectors.  Civil War memorabilia dating from 1861 to 1865, for the most part, is also often hard to find.  WWI military memorabilia is sought as WWI was the first conflict that involved other countries and used ‘modern warfare’.

With WWII being one of the most widely sought after eras (1939 to 1945) for military memorabilia, some of the items have become more difficult to locate.  Even Vietnam (1961 to 1975) and Desert Storm (1990 to 1991) have rare commemorative items such as edged weapons, trading cards and oxygen masks.


Purchasing Military Memorabilia

Military memorabilia can be purchased from a number of sources:

1)      A collector
2)      On-line
3)      An Auction House
4)      An Antique Store

Before purchasing, sources should be researched so the purchaser can be confident that the item he is buying is both authentic and realistically priced based on its current condition.  When purchasing military memorabilia, research into the market can be helpful to gain broader knowledge and a general idea of what to expect to pay for any given item depending on its condition.  One of the most important aspects of purchasing memorabilia is to finding reputable sellers/dealers.  Before purchasing, read the return policy thoroughly and be sure to take all the appropriate steps if you are unsatisfied with your purchase.


Displaying A Collection

Collections can be displayed in a number of ways.  The only limit is the imagination.  shadow-box Pic 8Many individuals get creative with shadow boxes, especially when the items they wish to display belonged to a loved one.  Shadow boxes allow a number of items to be on display in a limited space without detracting from the overall effect of the display.  Items can also be displayed on bookshelves.  The items can be grouped for a more profound effect.   Larger collections may require an entire room of various types of displays.  All items should be catalogued on an index card at the time of purchase along with any special notations about the item.



Whether you are visiting a museum, looking over a veteran’s personal items or you are a collector of such items, military memorabilia tells the story of the past in a way no book can ever depict.  Military memorabilia once used and relied upon provide a deeper insight into the experiences and history of the world and that of the military veterans who have gone before us and the sacrifices they made in order for us to continue to enjoy our freedom.


51 Responses to Military Memorabilia

  1. kevin says:

    My uncle was in Koren was. He was a tail gunner.He left me what looks like some kind of sighting tool. I is black with gold lettering. It says b50/29. It is round with a loy of what seems to be calerbritions on it. Can anyone tell me what it was for. Should it fram it to keep it safe. It is in great condition .

    • alon2392 says:

      I have forwarded your comment to our historian to see if he can identify the piece you have described. Thank you for visiting our web-site. On behalf of the AFHM, we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for your uncle’s service.

    • alon2392 says:

      I have also emailed you, but in case it went into your spam folder, I also wanted to respond here on the web-site as well. Our historian has requested the type of aircraft your uncle flew on and was also wondering if you could forward us a photo of this tool. Sounds intriguing. Please forward to kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com

  2. Jolene Smith says:

    My father served in WWII as a Merchant Marine. I have his leather case that he used to carry his passport & other military papers. The front is embossed and says MERCHANT MARINE PAPERS ISSUED BY US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE IN WASHINGTON D.C. GENUINE LEATHER. The case is 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. The case is in excellent condition and the plastic inserts inside are intact. The only issue is that the embossed writing appears to have originally been done in silver
    foil and that has faded. I have only been able to find one other one on the Internet – can you tell me more about this? Thanks. Jolene

    • alon2392 says:

      Hi Jolene:

      Thank you for visiting our web-site and taking the time to post your request. I am forwarding your comment to our historian and will advise as soon as I hear back from him. If anyone can shed light on this, he can. We are very grateful for your father’s service.

    • alon2392 says:

      Our historian was able to provide the following information regardng your request Jolene:

      Quality things were built in the old days, folks did not have the money to replace things. Things had to last. The leather case most likely was issued to Merchant Marines or it was sold to them. Sounds like a really nice item, not to much out there about the Merchant Marines.

  3. Sallie Gregory says:

    I am 65 yrs. old and have become the curator of my father’s WWII memorabilia. There is no one to pass them down to and I worry what will happen to them when I die. Having been a customer framer, specializing in memorabilia, I have framed the last letter he wrote to my mother from Germany. In it he says, “I guess you heard that the war is over.” I think that makes it very special and I wonder if there is a museum where I can donate it so it will be safe. Thank you.

    • alon2392 says:

      The Armed Forces History Museum is always open for donations. Yes, it sounds like you have quite a wonderful piece of memorabilia. You could contact any local historical or military museum. I do not know where you live, but if you would like to consider donating it to the AFHM, please email me at kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com Thank you for visiting our web-site. And on behalf of the staff and volunteers here at the AFHM, we salute your father’s service to our nation.

  4. BARBARA DORIS says:

    I have a sword that my father claimed to have taken off a dead German soldier at Normandy Beach. It is beautifully engraved in the sheath. All the engraving is is german and the sword is approx. 3 feet long. Any ideas where I can find it’s value?

    • alon2392 says:

      Sounds like an incredible piece of memorabilia. We do not do appraising here at the museum and recommend you contact the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com

      We wish you luck. The AFHM is appreciative of your father’s service. Thank you for visiting our web-site.

  5. Judy Childers says:

    My father-in-law was a cook during WWII. He brought back a coffee maker set that includes a coffee maker, a carafe and a tray. What would this be worth today?

    • alon2392 says:

      We cannot give you an accurate appraisal. We recommend you contact the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com for further assistance. Thank you for visiting our web-site. We are grateful for your father’s service.

  6. Kathleen Burke says:

    I would like to know if you can direct me to a website or resource to help me with identification of WW2 navy nurse uniforms that has pictures as well as identification. I can only find army nurse corp. Thanks

    • alon2392 says:

      I have forwarded your inquiry on to our historian to see if he can provide you with some direction. Thanks for visiting our web-site.

  7. C. Harris says:

    In the process of renovating a very old house, my mother came across five very small Nazi books written in German. The books are from 1933 – 1937. Each book is 1 7/8″ x 1 3/8″ in size. The titles and text are in German and the photos are all black and white. All of the titles begin with the words “Der Fuhrer”. I would like to get these books appraised and find a buyer for them. I would appreciate any assistance that you can offer.

    • alon2392 says:

      I have forwarded your information on to the appropriate personnel. The museum, in general, is not in a position to purchase items. However, I did want them to see what you have found. In the meantime, we cannot appraise items, we suggest you contact the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com Thank you for visiting our web-site.

  8. Roger Zoch says:

    I am disposing of my parents estate and one item my father had in their garage was what he claimed to be a WWII Japanese ‘barge’ outboard type motor. I am interested in donating it to a museum for display. If you are not interested in it for display, I would like contact information on possible other veterans organizations to find one that is. I can provide photographs. Thank you. Roger

  9. Mark Tucker says:

    I have a wooden box, @ 6″ x 12″ x 1/2″ deep. Inside is a frame, two 3/8″ square pcs of wood. Between the two, are two 1/8″ round dowels, @ 10″ long. Thus creating a rectangular frame. In the middle of the frame, are spider webs, in a zig zag pattern. There is a warning label on the lid of the box, that warns the user, not to stick their hand thru the frame. I was told this was some sort of piece for a sighting mechanism?

    • alon2392 says:

      How intriguing. I’ll pass your information on to our historian and see if he can provide any additional information. He is out of town this week, so it may be next week before I have any information for you. Thanks for sharing. We appreciate your visiting our web-site and taking the time to post your comment.

    • alon2392 says:

      Hi Mark: I am afraid our historian was unable to provide any information based on your description. Can you email a photo to me at kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com? I can send it to him and see if that would be of any additional help. Thanks!

  10. Connie says:

    I am helping a lady sort through her husbands items. He was a marksman in the military and continued rife shooting later. We have a tripod shooting stick with a telescope thing attached. It is heavy. It has on it a medal tag that says, Spot-A-Rama Spot Shot with a serial # 181 Arthur Cook Supply corp. Laurel, Maryland.

    Can you give me any info.
    Thank You

    • alon2392 says:

      Hi Connie:

      Please first pass on our appreciation to this lady for her husband’s service. I will forward the information to our historian and see if he can provide you with any information. Thank you for visiting our web-site and taking the time to post your question.

  11. Tom King says:

    I have 3 maps from the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. These maps are marked “Top Secret”. They’re original and dated 1945. I would like to know their value if possible.

  12. Derek Gore says:

    I operate a military museum. Along with our museum we have an enclosed trailer, which is our mobile museum where we take our tank, and vehicles with a full line of displays all over the country. We also have our own reenactment grounds. We have been given military artifacts and memorabilia by many generous donators. All the donated Items are given a proper place in the museum where thousands a people enjoy them each year. We strive on protecting military artifacts and the stories and history behind them. If an item belonged to someone’s relative, or someone they knew, we try to get their name and history to put on display with the items…… Remember to protect history…
    Gore’s Military Museum

  13. Richard Hovis says:

    Looking for military memorabilia auction house in Dallas area.
    Understand this is not your business, but might know of possible contact EM address

    Richard Hovis, Honolulu Hawaii

  14. Robert says:

    I am looking for an antique USAF leather flight helemt. My friend is in the Air Force, and I thought it would be a nice gift. Do you have any idea where I could find one?

  15. NANCY says:

    My brother served in vietnam and he passed away in 1983.And probly and i don’t when my passes too i will need to place my brothers uniform,muddy boots ,all his metals and countless pictures in a proper place hopefully in a museum.I would have to find out information that would go with the items likes dates,squadron and whatever.I do not money for any of this,we have made one of those memory boxes and i’ll keep that.I have a lot of bad memorts of those days and the stories he told.Dennis came from that war and drank himself to death,he was 34….Nancy Emard McGuinness

    • alon2392 says:

      The museum is most appreciative of your brother’s service, but are so sorry to hear of his loss. We do accept items of donation and if you are interested, please feel free to email kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com for more information. Thank you for contacting us.

  16. danny allen says:

    I have a ring made from an airplane aluminum nut, given to me by a WWII veteran who served in North Africa. It has palm trees on face and 1943 on one side,TUNIS on the other. How rare are these types of jewelry???? Thanks!

    • alon2392 says:

      Rare, maybe not so much as it is most probably considered trench art, which was a huge past time of the soldiers during WWII. Unique – ABSOLUTELY!!!! And definitely a one-of-a-kind. Nice you know so much about the piece.

  17. J. W. HUNT says:

    I have inherited a wooden box OD in color 9x20x13.5 tall. Inside the box are 9 17″ tools with steel tips numbered 0-9.
    The box also contains a rather large cloth bound book that is labeled (pferde einschatzungs)there is a supply of stationery along with to types of envelopes and one entry dated 1939.
    I have never seen this in any Militaria events that I have attended. jw

  18. Donna Veach says:

    My Dad was a soldier in WWII. Recently we found what looks to be a field rations heater of some sort. It plugs in and heats up. There are tins for holding food, and metal plates that slide out for food. Any idea what it is called or what it may be worth? Thanks

  19. Connor says:

    I have a Family Aerloom and am wondering what its worth. My Dad Was One of the top money managers in the world at one point and flew all over the world and met with world leaders. A French man of royalty, i think he was a prince, still trying to get ahold of family to find out who gave it to him. it is a colonial revolutionary era single shot pistol, dark wood, black with excellent silver craftsmanship over the entire gun, and has deffinately been used alot, it still cocks back and the trigger fires just fine. any feedback is appreciated

  20. gatlin says:

    Hey I just found an original 1939 Mein Kampf written in german and it has 783 pages in it. There is also a post card from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin inside the book. I was just wondering if you could help me determine if it’d worth a lot more then expected. Gatlin.

    • alon2392 says:

      Please send photos to kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com I’ll forward them on to our historian to see if he can assist you. We do not appraise items, but might be able to give you an idea anyway. For an actual appraisal, please contact the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com. Thank you for visiting our website.

    • alon2392 says:

      Here is the response from our historian. Again, please forward me photos (kathy@armedforcesmuseum.com) so he can provide you with more accurate information. THanks!

      I need to see a picture. Value will be based on condition, and the covers color. A 1939 addition was a latter copy but they did come out that year with a special addition. Hitler turned 50 years old that year and there was a special addition version. If you have the dust jacket it would be a plus. A 1925 version in perfect condition went for $15,000. The post card can range between $35.00 -$100.00. I’m looking forward to the pictures. Please provide background how you got the book.

  21. phyllis wright says:

    We have a large tapestry, approximately 4.5 ft by 6.5 ft. that my father brought home during WW2. As the story goes, a barracks mate was deployed overseas and left the tapestry rolled up in his foot locker. Dad decided that he’d take it for safekeeping until his soldier friend returned. Dad never heard from him again. The tapestry is quite lovely, in muted shades of greens, golds and browns and depicts a remote Japanese fishing village. We’d like to have it appraised. Any help you can render will be appreciated.

    • alon2392 says:

      We do not appraise items at the museum. One place you can contact is the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com. Sounds like an incredible piece of history. Good luck. Thank you for visiting our website.

  22. sadanand kumble says:

    Hi friend, My Dad was an collector of WWI WWII,Officers Shirt Buttons,Prisoners Relief Pass Card of Nazi camp prisoner,1940 Model auto motor cycle RUDGE WITT WORTH with all its recordof 1940s, we wish to sell these items if any body interested. contact.

  23. Dennis Benge says:

    I recently purchased a tube of WWII Air Force training posters (2′ x 3′). The subject matter is flight oxygen mask and use and safe storage of oxygen tanks. They are mostly black & white, but some have color enhancements. The other think about these posters, is that someone has drawn cut away drawings of an A-bomb and an
    H-bomb, and devastation charts on the back of some of them. Any idea of their value? I wish to sell them.

  24. joanne says:

    I have a WWII As the Tomahawk Strikes map/newspaper with signatures and some ranks and most with homes towns of the men from the XIX Engineers. Any idea who would be interested in this piece?

  25. My cousin served in WW11 -Normandy, France, Germany.
    He has died; a family member sent me some war memorabilia. I need assistance as to what to do with items.
    postcards – including several of Hitler in France.
    Bound history of the 79th Infantry Division.
    Photos of Fort Benning encampment.
    A German personal medal.Name on back.
    And what really charms me, are two hand-rendered posters of impending visits of Bing Crosby and Frances Langford – executed on very fragile paper (like tracing paper) in pen and ink.They are about 3′by3′
    They are the work of an artist named Cerasa.
    I need guideance as to what to throw away and what to give to an appreciative organization.

    • alon2392 says:

      I have forwarded your inquiry to our historian to see if he can provide you with any direction. Please know we are most appreciative of your cousin’s service.

    • alon2392 says:

      All those items are special. Your cousin is special because he was part of the biggest invasion in the history of the world. Because of his landing in Normandy millions are free and alive today. If you have young people in your family share these items with them. Every week I have people that want to know the past of a loved ones. If you still want to discard the items please consider donating them to the museum so that others may learn.

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