The term ‘militaria’ refers to military items of historical interest, such as medals, uniforms and equipment. It’s a broad topic, as military items can appeal to fans of a certain historical period such as the 1940s; collectors of a certain type of item such as swords; and also those interested in a particular conflict, battle or area of the world.
Interest in militaria has always been strong, and has risen recently with the centenary of the First World War and 60 year anniversary of the Second World War. There’s a great fascination in collecting items that are such a powerful and tangible reminder of the past, and this is one area of collecting where an item displaying a few genuine ‘battle scars’ may actually be worth more than a pristine example.
As ‘militaria’ refers to more or less anything that was carried by or issued to a member of the armed forces at any point in history, it covers a vast range. The more commonly collected items are weapons; uniforms, particularly helmets; medals; documents; photographs; buckles and insignia, but some collectors specialise in more tangential finds such as military-issue match books or even field dressing kits.
As with all other antiques, rarity and condition dictate value. Another factor affecting value is provenance, and for more recent militaria value can be enhanced by accompanying original photographs or documents. A proven connection with a well-known person or incident can also help to boost interest.
At Peter Wilson’s, our in-house experts have years of experience in assessing and valuing militaria, so do get in touch if you’d like to discuss a potential sale or valuation.