Ask yourself this when Buying Militaria in a Recession

Posted: September 22, 2012 | Author: WARSTUFF | Blog Post

A tight reign on spending is rule number one in a recession, but there are clearly a number of advantages of advancing your militaria collection during hard times. A recession can drive lower prices, as well as more militaria on the market. Here are some questions to ask yourself that help you make that decision whether to buy during the recession.

As a collector, you know just how hard it is to make the right decision on a militaria purchase, and never more so than during hard times. Anyone who has studied economics will tell you that a recession is the time to buy on the basis that in difficult times, there is always someone looking to raise cash from their assets, sometimes quickly. But it’s a period where the economic outlook is uncertain wherever you are in the world. Naturally the first thing militaria collectors will consider reigning back is spending on their hobby.

This week the Governor of the Bank of England said he believed there were signs of an economic recovery in the UK. If he’s right, and with the high spending Baby Boomer generation making moves towards retirment, we in the UK could be looking forward to starting another ten year period of healthy militaria buying and selling. But in the meantime, making a decision on a purchase remains a difficult decision for many militaria collectors. Do you spend money on the next addition to your collection, or keep it in reserve in case things turn difficult?

To help you make a decision – whether to buy the choice piece of militaria infront of you, or keep ahold of your cash for sunnier economic times, we’ve put together five questions you can ask yourself to help you make your decision:

WARSTUFF buy and sell WW1 Helmets

1) Really, is your piece of militaria a good investment?

The militaria collecting market is changing. The younger generation are a step further removed from first hand accounts of conflict during WW1 or WW2 that perhaps inspired you to collect when you were their age. This is the future of collecting; be aware demand for the militaria you’re investing in may not be there when you come to sell. But its not all bad news. If the offer you have on the table is below market value, then you are to a degree hedging against the risk of values dropping, and as we mentioned, we can look forward to the next ten years of retired Baby Boomers buying and selling. Do your research, make sure you’re buying at the best possible price and buy for your interest in the item rather than as an investment.

2) Is your militaria item in plentiful supply?

The prevalence of the internet to buy and sell militaria and war relics means the supply of military antiques and collectables has never been as plentiful, and all just a few clicks away. In times past, your best chance of picking up that sought after piece of militaria involved dedication and commitment. You visited militaria shows, or wrote off for price lists, or picked up the Yellow Pages and made some calls. Changing geographic boundaries also means dealers have it easy travelling further to locate more stock. With the once heavily militarised Eastern Bloc opening up, suddenly large caches of militaria and surplus are on the market. The net impact of all this change is more militaria on the market and weakened prices result. You don’t want to be saddled with something worth less than you paid in the future, so be realistic and value mass-market items with this in mind.

3) Is your militaria noteable?

Because if it is, the chances are it is commanding a record price despite the recession. Today you find many military leaders sat behind desks – they’re deemed too important to risk in the line of fire. It’s why the war relics of yesterday’s war heroes, those who led their men from the front, are so in demand today – and fetching premium prices. When associated with notable military figures such as officers, special forces or paratroopers, medal groups, uniforms, collections of personal artefacts such as photos and documents are all increasing in value. Contrast that with the prices of common militaria – the regular, mass-market army gear which are level or weakening. Demand remains strong in collecting circles for named militaria, so keep your eyes open for it.

4) Is your purchase connected with an up and coming war anniversary?

Collectability is hard to predict. But one thing for sure is that around the major anniversaries of conflict such as the recent 30th anniversary of the British Falklands War, there is typically a surge in interest and nostalgia for militaria connected with those conflicts.  Veterans of conflict in the later part of the 20th Century are getting older, and around anniversaries when the media are broadcasting stories of their contributions, public interest peaks creating the prime circumstances for buyer demand. We’ve said it in previous blog posts, but with the upcoming centenary of the start of World War I in 2014, which will receive considerable worldwide coverage, expect interest to increase in WW1 artifacts. So be aware of up and coming remembrance years and have this in mind when your hunting out relics.

5) Do you have an exit strategy from your purchase?

Ask any collector how they would liquidate their militaria collection if they need to, and you will probably get a response that they haven’t really thought about it. But if you think about your militaria collection as the investment of your hard earned cash it actually is, then like any good investor you should be working out how and when you get your cash out, especially if you need to. The last thing you want to do is to have to sell your prized collection for discounted prices, just to get your cash out in a hurry. So when approaching your latest militaria purchase ask yourself what your plan is if you need to move it on in a hurry, and what you could expect to realise from doing so.

So now you know our to questions to help you make a smart purchase during hard times, where do you go next? Visit our Buying pages of course and see what you can discover >>



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