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.

WWII M1 Garand 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.

WWII British Army Brodie Helmet

WWII US Army Enlisted Man's Visor Cap








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.

WWII Medals


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.

World War II NIchols Fighting Knife


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.

Shadow boxes are often used to display WWII memorabilia


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.


10 Responses to Top Five Categories of Military Collectibles from WWII

  1. Melissa Lemasters says:

    I found an US Army WWII Army Enlisted Mans visor cap with a name and ID number in it and was wondering if anyone knew how to research the person. So we could track the family down to possibly return it to is owner or his family. Any ideas would be helpfull.

  2. Susan Zimny says:

    I recently found my fathers Army uniform, shirt, pants, cap, jacket and overcoat. I would like to donate it, but am wondering about its value? There are a few moth holes, butmit really is in excellent condition.

    • alon2392 says:

      First, let me begin by extending our appreciation for your father’s service. We do not value items. You are best to do some research and see if any others are available for sale on the internet. You can also contact the American Society of Appraiser in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-272-8258 or http://www.appraisers.com

      If you would like to donate these items to the AFHM, you can bring the items into the front desk and fill out a donation form.

  3. Frank Freeman says:

    Two Questions, Please:

    1. Following the Nov ’43 timeframe, were ALL enlisted personnel issued a ‘visor’ cap?

    What collar insignia would a member of a Machine Records Unit have worn?


    • alon2392 says:

      I will forward your questions to our historian and post his response once I receive his reply.

    • alon2392 says:

      Our historian said the majority of the enlisted had visor caps. He was, however, unable to find any collar insignia for machine records, he felt they most likely had unit and rank.

  4. Bonnie says:

    I have a lot of military items, mostly paper and medals from my father who served in WWII, was a POW in Germany and retired in 1964. I have no children. I am not just wanting these items to get thrown away if something happens to me. What are my options for all of this history?

    • alon2392 says:

      You can contact local museums or possibly libraries to see if they are accepting donations. The Armed Forces History Museum would like you to know we are most grateful for your father’s service.

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