Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “militaria”

Spike TV – Get off my lawn!

Yeah, I know.  Spike TV is supposed to be the “all-guy”/”testosterone-only” television network with shows like Deadliest Warrior and 1000 Ways to Die.  But, as I’ve fully admitted, I’m not a typical female.  I’ve never been comfortable in frilly dresses or with lots of makeup (unless it’s special effects makeup for Halloween or the theatre).  I can’t stand to walk past the annoying pink aisle in every toy store where every incantation of Barbie and her “friends” live.  I like hunting, fishing, reenacting, shooting — typical “guys-only” activities.  The only dresses I own are either for Halloween/theatre costumes and my wedding dress (which I certainly can’t fit into anymore).

So, anyone who personally knows me knows that watching Spike TV isn’t that unusual for me.  Tonight, Husband said he wanted to be sure to catch the season premieres of Auction Hunters and American DiggersAuction Hunters usually isn’t that bad.  The personalities on the show — Ton Jones and Allen Haff — aren’t annoying and do admit that they don’t always strike it rich with what they buy.  There’s not a lot of staged “drama” as shown on other storage-unit-purchasing-shows.  The guys are funny, honest about what they don’t know, and occasionally find some really awesome items that make me wonder why I can’t find the neat stuff they find around where I live.

But tonight’s premiere of Auction Hunters was supposed to be a live show where the guys and other buyers would get to bid on four large vaults stuffed with a variety of items.  Watching them were an invitation-only group of experts in militaria, precious metals, firearms, and other collectables; each of them were waiting for their chance to see what was pulled out of them and hoping to land a great bargain.  Ton and Allen spent $5000 on one vault that they felt had the most items they could resell and make a big profit.  Spike TV also agreed that whatever the profit they make, the network would match it dollar-for dollar to Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.  They even kept a countdown clock running throughout the show and commercials because the guys were limited to one hour to bid, buy, dig, and resell the items in any vault they purchased.

They found a lot of collectible toys, but no really valuable items in the toy pile that would have made them worth a lot.  They also found a 1920s-era electric guitar made of aluminum and an amplifier made by the same company that sold for a decent price.  They sold a business safe as well which was probably from the 1930s and received a decent amount of money.  But, throughout the show the host kept telling them how much time they had left and Allen kept complaining that it was rude and distracting for him to do that.  The clock kept ticking and they sold a 1980s boombox and a reproduction Dr. J uniform (packaged with an authentic autographed photo), but they still weren’t out of the red.  Finally, the last item they pulled out of a trunk — a wheel-lock pistol — sold for enough to give them a decent profit and the network said they’d boost the donation to $25,000.  How scripted is that?  It was painful to watch them sift through items and stack things in different areas instead of trying to sell something.  I’d have pulled out a box, seen what was inside of it, and put it up for auction to the crowd.  They were invited there to purchase items, so you know they had money to spend.   But, Allen and Ton just kept digging and arguing until the last second (literally) when they sold the huge pile of “collectible” toys.  And I say “collectible” in quotation marks because the types of toys they found were made for the collectors’ market, which means they’re not because no one would ever play with them.

After that was over, I figured I’d give American Diggers a chance since it’s only a 30-minute show.  That was 30 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

The idea behind American Diggers is that Ric Savage, a former professional wrestler (of only 7 years) and his crew drive around America looking for places that might have a historical significance and ask the property owners if they can dig on their land.  Tonight’s premiere episode was in Alaska as they were trying to find relics from the gold rush.  I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically as the first houses they went to had owners that didn’t want them anywhere near their property.  One guy finally agreed to let them dig and agreed to a 70-30 split of the profits.  So, Ric and his crew went out and found a few cool items (a bear trap, pick axe head, two-man saw, panning tin) and brought them into town and sold them at a local antique mall.  They then returned to the land-owner and divvied-up the profits.

They’re lucky they weren’t in our area or where I used to live.  The people in these areas are well-known for greeting strangers at the door with a minimum of one firearm and perhaps a large growling animal.  I’m also not sure about this show because in the description online it says they “target areas such as battlefields and historic sites.”  If they attempt to do their digging on a national battlefield, they’ll have a nice surprise when the historic preservation organizations and the law enforcement authorities show up since unauthorized relic hunting is illegal.  Even if they don’t find anything “of worth” in their digs, going onto national park lands and many historical sites with the intention of relic hunting is illegal.

And the Spike TV website says that they have found lots of Civil War bullets, Civil War artillery shell fragments, and Native American arrow and axe heads.  By the way, “arrow heads” are called “projectile points” in the archeology/anthropology/historic preservation communities.  Obviously, these guys aren’t really interested in preservation of any sort, except for their bank accounts.

I don’t think the show will last past the episodes already taped, but I could be wrong.  I doubt it, but I could be wrong.  There are already lots of preservation/collection publications that also educate their readers on what they’ve found and how to avoid being scammed.  This guy’s show (and magazine by the same name) is just wading into the deep end of a genre that doesn’t really need another player and more than likely will sink instead of swim.

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Spring Gun Show: Day Two

Today was also a nice day at the annual Spring Gun Show.  Not too many people asking stupid questions, like “Is that for sale?” when the item is clearly marked with what it is and how much we’re asking for it.  Not too many people wanting to stand around and touch everything we have on the table but not actually interested in buying anything.  We did have a few people try to haggle on prices with us, and we actually encourage that (unless the price tag says “FIRM” which means we’re probably selling it for someone else).  But trying to haggle with us for a lower price, us coming to an agreement on a lower price for the item, and then the customer walking away because they don’t have the money to buy it is just silly.  I lost count how many times that happened today.

But, we returned home with fewer items than we took which is always a success.  We did purchase some .45 ACP pistol parts and a reproduction MP-40 “non-gun” (doesn’t work, never did, never will) that we’d planned to add to our collections and/or resell and ALL of them sold within a half an hour of our purchases.  We were lucky to get an M1 Garand bayonet in excellent condition at a very reasonable price.  We plan to resell it but we bought it so close to the end of the day today that there wasn’t time to resell it there.  That’s okay; that’s why we have the website.

My oral surgeon advised me the other day to be careful with what I ate and drank and to not be surprised if by the end of the second or third day my face began to swell and ache worse than it did when I went to his office.  That would have been any amount because nothing hurt when I went to see him and now I’m in excruciating pain!  I almost wanted to skip posting tonight because earlier I could barely lift my arms or my head long enough to type anything.  But, I sat and watched the Oscars and figured if I’m still up this late I can at least post something.  So, here it is.

I’m looking forward to the next gun show we’ll be able to attend.  Not sure when that will be at the moment but it will be fun as will the search for new items to offer at the next show!

Spring Gun Show: Day One

I’m surprised.  I’m very surprised.  I’m actually on the verge of being stunned.  Today, I didn’t have to yell at anyone in disgust during the gun show.  And that’s a first for me in a long time!

I don’t consider myself a rude person.  I try to be friendly and cordial with everyone I meet, especially if they’re a customer, until they give me a reason not to be.  Then, depending on the amount of stupidity or rudeness received, all bets are off.  My business is there to make money, not to please the entire world.  I’ve spent years of my life studying and researching information so that I am as close to being an expert as I can be with regards to the items I sell.  And since 99% of all of the items are either from the Vietnam War era or earlier (I deal in military surplus, in case you forgot or are new to my writings), a lot of my information has to come from hands-on experience with the items, talking to veterans who owned or were issued the items, and doing a LOT of reading so that I’ll know the little details.  Not every helmet is the same.  Not every weapon is the same.  And just because you watched Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan doesn’t make you an expert on WWII militaria!  You might own the entire DVD set of every Tour of Duty season or you have every M*A*S*H and After M*A*S*H episode memorized, but that doesn’t make you an expert on the Vietnam or Korean Wars!

The worst thing to do is to come up to my table (which I have spent a fair amount of money to rent so that I can sell my items) after I’ve traveled a long distance to be at the show (sometimes I’m lucky and the shows are actually at a center across the street from my house!) and made sure that I’ve brought a wide variety of items (because one of the biggest complaints at shows is that “there’s nothing worth buying”) and trying to inform me that the polyester-blend jacket you’re holding was passed-down three generations from your relative that served in the American Revolution and because you’ve seen the latest documentary on History Channel that has one “just like it” that I must purchase it from you for an ungodly amount of money.  Or, you bring an item to me and tell me how you watched a television show where someone had one exactly like it except for the color, size, and rust on it and that you demand that I pay the appraised amount from the show.  I’ll make this simple — do either of those things, and the answer is going to be, “Not gonna happen in this lifetime, buddy!”

Another one of the top items to not do is to bring your item to my table, stand in front of me and give me a very, very long, very, very detailed “history” of the item and how you came to own it and then ask me what it’s worth.  It’s even worse when you start your diatribe with, “Do you know what this is?” not in a manner of “Can you help me?” but with the attitude of “I’m going to teach you something.”  What’s most irritating is when I’ve answered your question that I do or don’t know what the item is and ask if you want to sell the item to me and you respond with a resounding “Of course not!” or “Depends on what you tell me it’s worth!  Why should I give you an appraisal for free?  You don’t get other items appraised for free.  Why should I utilize the many years research and knowledge that I have to tell you something that (1) you think you already knew or (2) had no clue about and not get anything out of it?  I don’t work for Antiques Roadshow so my appraisals aren’t free!

Also, when I give a “value” on an item, it’s going to be one of three things — (1) the current market value of the item based on others I’ve seen sell at retail or auction, (2) an estimated insurance value if it’s something that I’ve already been informed is going to stay within the family (and my appraisal fee is paid), or (3) what I think it’s worth to me or what I’m willing to pay because I am going to resell it and need to be able to make a profit.  I’m not buying your memories or appraising your family’s history — I’m in this game to make money and just because you saw someone else told that their item is worth $30,000 doesn’t mean that your’s is as well!  Not every World War II uniform was worn by Eisenhower or Patton and not every German pistol was carried by Goering or Hitler.  And trust me on this, there are a LOT of faked items out there!  Collectors and reenactors have demanded reproduction items and manufacturers have been more than happy to provide them, especially if they’re Nazi items!  They first started reproducing the uniforms but used actual WWII-era materials and thread which made detecting a fake almost impossible.  Then they reproduced weapons with old parts found in defunct factories.  The parts are “original” but the build of the weapon didn’t happen until the 1980s — so saying it’s “real” is kind of hard to do.  Now, there are companies that not only fake the medals (and not just the high honor ones but even the ones that EVERYONE got) but they even fake the presentation boxes the things came in from the 1940s!!  It’s getting so you can’t trust anything as “authentic” anymore!

Oh, and when I said “real” above, that word drives me insane.  People come up to me when I’m wearing my WWII-era authentic uniform and ask, “Is that real?”  I tell them, “Why, yes, it is — in the sense that it takes up time and space.”  That usually baffles them for a few moments until they decide to ask, “Is it really your uniform?”  I reply, “Yes, it is mine because I bought and paid for it myself and am the only person who wears it.”  Again, I’ll get some blank stares because they’re not sure of what to say.  What they should have asked is, “Is that an authentic WWII uniform?” or “Is that uniform original to the WWII-era?” or “Was that uniform made during WWII and possibly used by a soldier then?”  Then I could answer them whether or not my uniform is “authentic,” “genuine” or “vintage.”  “Real” is a word that has way too many meanings.  And asking if it is “mine” implies that I am the person who wore the uniform during World War II and earned the medals pinned to the dress jacket and actually obtained the rank worn from the United States Government.  I may be starting to look older, but I’m not THAT old yet!!

So today wasn’t filled with as many questions or issues like those.  It was nice to have intelligent and humorous conversations with prospective customers.  And when some would ask me for my “expert” opinion or for clarification with regards to an item or type of items I’ve spent a lot of time researching, I was happy to oblige.  True, there were a number of people who tapped on the helmets to make sure they were really made out of metal and others who tried to “inform” us that we couldn’t own or sell our wares because “it’s illegal to own government property” even though the items are edging 70 years old and no one in the government has been searching for them (especially since they discontinued them and threw away what was left-over ages ago).

Hopefully tomorrow will go well.  And if not, at least I’m still on my painkillers from yesterday and they help mellow me out for short periods of time.

Whee!! Over 1000 views!!!

Yippee!  My blog has over 1000 views on it as of late last night!!  Of course, it’s really easy to get me happy and giggly about something right now.  Had to have some minor oral surgery and the anesthesia has still not totally worn-off.  They asked if I wanted a “local” or “general” and I said “general” would be fine and probably safer for them because if I was awake during it I’d probably have been trying to talk and ask too many questions.  An unconscious patient is an easy patient at times.

Plus, I got my own bottle of prescription pain-killers, too!  Those will be fun once I start needing to take them.  All weekend Husband, Youngest Son, and I are supposed to be working for my online company at the local gun show.  No, not a “gun show” where steroid-riddled guys show off their muscles; a “real” gun show.  I enjoy looking at firearms, using them, and having my Second Amendment rights protected.  We’ll have a few for sale and a bunch of military surplus items as well.  We don’t get rich off of it but it gives me something to do to help make money when my primary employment doesn’t have a huge disaster to which they want me to respond.

But for now, the “voices” and I are going to go curl-up on the couch and let the remote become one with my arm.  It’s going to be a long day tomorrow and I’m pretty sure those pain-killers will be needed soon.  Time to rest, relax, and….um….something witty that fits there.  Yup, the brain is already decided it’s down for the count today!

Discovery’s “Combat Cash” goes MIA tonight.

It’s Wednesday and I settled in for an interesting evening.  Two weeks ago this blog lit up after I said that Discovery’s Combat Cash was awful.  That’s not exactly what I said, but you can go back and read the original post for yourself.

I looked up when it would be on again and found that today was the next air date.  TV Guide said that I’d have to be ready to watch at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time.  Here are the descriptions of the episodes:

7 p.m. – Real GI Joe; 1795 Springfield Musket:  A 1795 Springfield musket is test fired; a rare GI Joe is sold; the guys meet a helicopter crew from the Vietnam War. New (CC)

7:30 p.m. – Hellcat Ammo; Flamethrowers:  Flamethrowers from WWII and the Vietnam War are used for a photo shoot; the guys search for ammo for a Hellcat tank. New (CC)

I started flipping channels to find something to watch until 7 p.m. and switched to Discovery a few minutes early so I could get settled-in with a snack.  The show advertised above as the 7 p.m. episode was ending!  What’s up with that??

So, I went to Discovery’s website and pulled-up the schedule for tonight.  Here’s what they advertised (times are Eastern Standard Time):

7 p.m. –  Hellcat Ammo/Flamethrowers TV-PG; Bob and Owen roll up their sleeves to search for WWII-era ammunition for a Hellcat tank. The owner offers them the bonus of getting to fire off some live rounds. Then the guys light up a special photo shoot with WWII and Vietnam War-era flamethrowers.

7:30 p.m. – Real GI Joe/1795 Springfield Musket TV-PG; Vintage Productions owner Bob and partner Owen connect passionate collectors with rare military items. They sell a very rare GI Joe and test fire a 1795 Springfield musket. But it’s their job for a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter crew that really strikes home.

I did get to see the guys test fire the Springfield musket and the video of the new owner placing it in his customized display which, when the musket is inserted, looks like a “life-sized” Combat Infantry Badge.  That’s actually pretty awesome.  A neat idea for displaying a nice firearm.

But that’s all I got to see!  TV Guide and the satellite guide say one thing; Discovery says something else.  TV Guide and the satellite say the episodes will rerun at midnight Central Standard Time.  Discovery says they’ll rerun at 1:30 a.m., 2 a.m., and 2:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, January 26th.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I do enjoy sleeping.  It’s one of my favorite activities.  And I function a LOT better when I have an average amount of it each day.  I’m not staying up until “0-Christ-Hundred” to watch a show that may or may not be worth watching.

So what’s up, Discovery??  I’ve already been getting emails and questions from friends/family if maybe the episodes weren’t aired when they were advertised because they didn’t want me to see it again.  While that’s flattering, I don’t believe my blog post would cause a full-scale schedule makeover.  But I still don’t understand why Discovery would change its schedule when it’s already been printed and programmed for one time and decide to air the episodes when people are not usually watching Discovery.  Do they want it to fail now?  Are they hoping only the diehard militaria fans will stay-up to watch it?  Do they hope that those who are usually up at those times will “appreciate” the show more than those who made sure their schedules were open to watch at the advertised times?

Shame on you, Discovery.  Shame, shame, shame.  I was actually looking forward to watching the episodes — and not just to be snarky about them.  I wanted to see if there was any improvement from the first two episodes and be able to comment positively on that.  I have no idea why anyone would want WWII-era ammunition for a Hellcat, so not having seen the episode I can only imagine that it’s an idiotic reason since ammunition does become unstable over time, but I don’t know and I’m not going to speculate.

I’ll wait and see if new episodes are forthcoming, but I’m beginning to seriously doubt it.  Especially since there’s an article on Discovery’s website saying “Combat Cash Finale” and dated today (January 25, 2012).

Oh well….at least I’ve got time to watch something else, and it sure as heck isn’t going to be Sons of Guns that they’ve decided to show in the scheduled time slot for Combat Cash.  If you thought I didn’t like Combat Cash, you don’t want to go into the deep waters of Sons of Guns.  Trust me.

Preparing for battle tomorrow….

Today I’d planned to write something about it being the first Friday the 13th of the new year, but holy crap on a cracker!!  You guys are really into my post about Discovery Channel’s Combat Cash!  My hit-counts are going way up and I’ve had a few comments on the article, too.  I’m either the new speaker for the masses who agree with me that the show is not what it should/could be or I’m the new heretic that should be burned at the stake for daring to say that I didn’t like it and feel as if that’s an hour of my life I’ll never, ever get back.

Either way, it stands up under the Rules for this blog — I write only from the truth, even if it’s just the truth as I see it.  And everyone is free to agree or disagree or agree to disagree with me.  This is just a blog I started to help me process things going on in my head and I can’t help it if something sticks in my craw and the “shut-up filter” won’t activate while I’m typing.  So, thanks to those who’ve read and shared the post!  Thanks to those who’ve commented!  And thanks to those who want to continue this journey with me through the rest of the year.  Remember, insanity doesn’t run through my family — it saunters slowly and gets to know everyone before making itself at home!

So, kind of on the same topic of my Combat Cash rant, today Husband and I are preparing for the Battle of the Bulge reenactment tomorrow at Camp Clark outside Nevada, Missouri.  It’s not as large of an affair as the Conneaut, Ohio D-Day battle, but for those of us in the Midwest who want to have a fun weekend doing LARP (live-action role-playing) of Axis versus Allies it’s a great place to go.  Husband is currently packing the car with the militaria we plan to sell at the event from my website.  Just a note — if you are from California and are coming to the event, don’t tell anyone where you’re from because the word around the Midwest dealers is that now we can double or triple our prices because of that show and you’ll be more than willing to pay them.  I don’t plan on taking any modern-day militaria; just packing the WWII through Vietnam-era items that might be of interest to the reenactors.  Many of them will get tired or will have blown through their supply of blanks quickly and will want something to do, so we’re more than happy to sell them stuff at reasonable prices so they can brag to their friends/comrades/etc. what a deal they got or how they were lucky to find such an unusual item.

I’m in the process of making sure all of my uniform pieces are present and ready for inspection.  Yes, even though I’m a female and women didn’t have front-line positions in the military, I do WWII reenacting and have for many, many years.  And not just when I do Soviet where females were on the front-lines as snipers, tank crews, and many other positions.  I am the unit commander for the 35th Infantry Division, MP Platoon based out of Southern Missouri and Arkansas.  I do a male impression when there’s a tactical battle (no public audience) because I’m not content to sit on the sidelines and watch all the guys have fun running through the woods and “shooting” at each other.  I have to make sure my uniform is correct; my hair is cut short like the guys or pinned-up so that it meets the 10-foot “authenticity” rule; and I have to show and reshow people I’m just as qualified and in some cases more qualified to lead a unit into “battle.”  And as for the 10-foot “authenticity” rule, I pass it easily.  True, I’m heavier than most WWII recruits would have been and there’s always some smartass who makes a comment about the ampleness of my chestular region.  But, my uniform is usually more authentic (or at least reproduced more authentically) than many of the guys’ are.  Also, Husband and I have sent shockwaves through some of the German units who thought they witnessed two male reenactors kissing after a particularly tough scenario, only to find out that it was us greeting each other on the way back to the vehicles.  I’d say that counts as an “authenticity” pass.

This year, however, I probably won’t be on the “front lines” as much since Celeste, my service dog, will be coming with me.  Beaucerons were used in WWI and WWII by the Allies, so she’ll be the perfect “war dog” to take and intimidate the captured enemy soldiers into confessing their objectives (even though the most she’d do would be lick them if I let her).  She’s even getting excited about going somewhere because she sees me packing new leads and collars and a lot of extra food, water, treats, and her booties (to protect her pads) in her  personal bag.  Plus, she deserves “doggie time” and there will be ample time when the battle is raging somewhere else that she and I can toss a ball around and let herself enjoy playing in the sun.

Husband, however, has already jumped into “military mode.”  As a bit of history on him, he is a military veteran having served in both the Army and Air National Guard for over 28 years.  But when we get ready for WWII battles, you’d think he’d jumped-back in time and “Sergeant Husband” has stepped forward to organize a full mobilization.  He want to be sure to get to the “fuel depot” (to fill-up our 2001 Suzuki Esteem wagon since we no longer own a military vehicle).  He’s up at “Oh-Christ-Hundred Hours” making a list of everything that needs to be done and packed and the specific order in which it will be done so that he can stow the “manifest” to ensure everything makes it to the battle site and back home again.  Actually, I can’t complain — he saves me a LOT of time and worry about things because usually all I have to do the morning of the trip is wake up, take the dogs to go “walkies,” get dressed and enjoy the ride because everything’s packed and ready.  Even my ammunition clips are already loaded and waiting for me!

So, this is what I’ll be doing tomorrow.  I just wanted to be sure to clarify that in case I’m either too tired or too sore to type anything before tomorrow’s midnight deadline in keeping with the Rules of the blog.  But don’t worry — I’ll be sure to  have a great recap of what happens, especially for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.  It’s not a cheap hobby; it’s not an easy hobby; but it’s my hobby and it’s a LOT of fun!!!

Discovery’s “Combat Cash” is crap!

Reality TV is stupid.  It’s beyond stupid.  And it’s certainly not any reality I’m familiar with — actual or imaginary.

People have become hooked on watching other people do incredibly stupid things to get on television with the hopes of winning money, getting married, or just for their 15 minutes of fame.  And what passes for “reality” television these days is horrible.

Last night, I suffered through Discovery Channel’s latest “reality” show, Combat Cash.  I figured that someone, like myself, who is into militaria and World War II reenacting would enjoy a show about others who have the same interests and perhaps I might learn a thing or two.  I learned something alright….I learned that these guys are idiots.

Let’s go back a bit for those who aren’t personally familiar with who I am and what I do.  When I’m not working disasters with a certain governmental agency, I run an online military surplus retail store (you can find the website in my profile information).  Husband and I have collected, bought, sold, and traded military items from almost every major conflict and most of the major players in them.  We specialize in items from World War I to the Vietnam Conflict (although, every veteran and civilian I’ve ever met that was in Vietnam at that time said it sounded more like a war than a “conflict”).  Our main speciality is World War II GI (American) Military Police and the 35th Infantry Division.  We even attend World War II reenactments where, yes, we as fully-grown adults dress-up in uniforms (mostly reproductions since originals are hard to come by these days) and play “good-guy/bad-guy” with others dressed as Germans.  We attend as either US 35th Division MPs if it’s a Western Front event and as USSR NKVD if it’s an Eastern Front event.  Many of our friends portray British, Italian, German, GI, partisan, and Soviet and we have a good time running in the woods shooting blanks at each other just like kids used to do when playing “Cowboys and Indians” with their old cap guns and toy bow-and-arrow sets.  It’s pretty much the same, actually….except that the “guns” are actual military surplus and cost a LOT more than your average plastic six-shooter but the amount of squabbling over who did and didn’t get “killed” is still pretty much the same.

So, it’s pretty safe to say that we know what our items are and what they aren’t.  We’ve had to become adept at detecting the faked items from the real thing — and these days it’s getting harder and harder to do.  There are companies that not only make almost perfect copies of WWII German medals/awards, they even have reproduced the boxes in which they were originally presented!!  That’s one reason I won’t buy German militaria unless I can absolutely, without-a-doubt prove that it’s original.  Too many fakes out there for my wallet.  Sure, it’s great to buy reproduction items when you’re on a budget and need something for a collection to hold a place until you can get an authentic item or if you plan to run around in the woods and don’t want to take your incredibly expensive originals out to play.  But if you’re buying and selling items to make a profit and you don’t have a clue as to what is and isn’t real and how the fakes are fooling many, then you’re in big trouble.

I grudgingly sat down with Husband to watch the premiere episode of Combat Cash last night and laughed about how we’d been contacted months ago by “producers” saying that they worked with Discovery, TLC, and other big cable networks who wanted to do a reality show about military surplus collectors/dealers and if we would be interested.  First of all, this “request” came by email from someone I had no idea and couldn’t find information about who they were.  Secondly, why would I want to show where I purchase my inventory or how I get awesome deals on it??  It’s like announcing to the world, “Here’s how it’s done, so be sure to get there before I do because I don’t have the desire to actually make money anymore.  Oh, and while you’re at it, here’s where we live/work so you can see our collection and steal it from us.  M’kay?”

The first episode was awful.  Pure and simple — just awful.  As a matter of fact, I started live-posting on Facebook about it when I wasn’t either laughing myself silly or having a fit over something stupid said or done on the show.  I posted on my profile and our business’ page.  Here’s a sample:

“Watching the premiere episode of Discovery Channel’s ‘Combat Cash.’  OMG!!  These guys are idiots!  They say they know everyone in military collecting — well, we’ve never heard of them!  Getting ready to watch the episode that includes WWII reenactors.  This should be a fiasco!”

“Watching Discovery Channel’s new show ‘Combat Cash.”  The premiere episode was incredibly stupid.  Watching the second episode which is supposed to feature WWII reenactors.  They just said that ‘not many people have this kind of firepower (i.e. M1 Garands, MP40s, MG34s, etc.).’  No….not in southern California where they are they don’t!  They’re using the firearms to record sound effects for a WWII videogame that has dinosaurs as Hitler’s mechanized weapons.  We’ll maybe they at least won’t have someone yelling ‘Take your hit!’ like Medal of Honor: Underground had.  That is, if they don’t kill themselves — range safety seems nonexistent!”

“Okay….just to let everyone know, we saw the ‘Combat Cash’ guys sell an “original” M1 steel pot painted with medic insignia for $1250.  No, there’s not a decimal point missing out of that — they sold it for twelve hundred fifty dollars!!  Now everyone will believe ANY painted “WWII” helmet is worth at least that.  And they didn’t even prove that it was “original” (stamps, seams, etc.) that people who actually know their stuff would be sure to look for.  I feel sorry for the guys who bought it ’cause now their names are all over national TV!”

You get the idea.  And the show also featured them going to the annual Conneaut, Ohio D-Day reenactment.  Now, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend that even but I’ve heard it’s pretty awesome.  The last D-Day invasion I participated in was the 50th anniversary reenactment at Ft. Story, Virginia.  That was AWESOME!  But, I digress….

These yahoos they call “hosts” of the show started walking through the vendor area and were talking about how “Midwestern prices” are insanely low and how they could go in, buy a lot of stuff, and sell it for twice or three times what they paid to customers in California.  Oh, goody!!  They’re not only incompetent at identifying items or putting reasonable values on them, but now they’re insulting us who live/work in the Midwest by basically typecasting us as ignorant rednecks and hillbillies who are too stupid to know what things are “really” worth.

In the show, they make a point of saying that they’re very busy finding new items for their store and that the store is open by appointment only.  Who can make a living operating that way?  And they charged the videogame dudes $5000 to record sounds of weapons when they could have easily flown themselves to Knob Creek,  Kentucky for one of their Machine Gun Shoots and gotten all the effects they needed for a lot less than that!  The final straw for me was watching these goobers argue over whether or not to purchase a BSA paratrooper bicycle and watching the seller get really irritated at their squabbling.  It was finally decided that if one of the guys jumped out of a plane that they would buy it.  Huh???  It wasn’t even the seller offering to take the guy skydiving!!  Why would you settle a purchase argument by spending more money???

I hope this show either (1) goes off the air soon so that reputable militaria collectors/vendors like myself and many other companies we affiliate with will be able to continue selling items before the general public starts ranting “But on Combat Cash they offered a guy more!” or (2) that they find someone who actually knows what he/she is doing to educate these people that the whole militaria collecting world doesn’t revolve around what’s done in southern California.

But, I did notice one of the guys lost a rear sight on the M1 Carbine he borrowed for the D-Day battle.  I’ve got an original WWII one for sale!!  Maybe I’ll inflate my price on it, just so they’ll feel more comfortable!!

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