A top five list of collectible WWII US military items would be difficult to compile. However, five categories of collectible memorabilia remain strong almost 70 years after the end of World War II. Items within these categories continue to surface adding to the number of highly collectible items.
1) Firearms have always been a popular World War II collectible category. The interest continues to escalate for both the military enthusiast and the weapons collector. Some of the more popular WWII firearms include the M1 Garand Rifle, the 1911 A1 .45 pistol and the M1903 Springfield rifle.
2) Headgear is another popular military collectible among WWII enthusiasts. With the number of branches of service and the number of variations within each, this category presents a number of options which can be tailored to almost any collector’s budget.
3) Insignia and Medals also provide an infinite number of collecting possibilities. Patches are popular, but should be researched as some seemingly insignificant differences can translate into a huge difference in price. Medals – because they are earned by individuals in the military – often hold a special meaning to insignia and medal collectors.
4) Knives – While knives were a standard military issue, other knives often sought after by collectors are those privately acquired by soldiers. In this category, collectors often seek a specific manufacturer with their name and date marked on the blade. Theater made knives – often constructed from scrap aluminum, brass, steel and various other materials – are also a popular collector’s item.
5) Groups – Don’t let the category title fool you, often referred to as a grouping, a collector of this category searches for a variety of items – such as medals, uniform, dog tags, photos, paperwork, helmet, etc. – from a single veteran. By establishing provenance, the historical as well as collectible value is greatly enhanced.
Many other World War II items continue to be sought after and collected by military enthusiasts such as photos, posters, postcards and trench art. But when looking at the most popular US Military Collectibles from WWII, the top five list above commands a great deal of attention.