Today, I will would like to talk about my latest purchase: the WW2 German Flare Gun. This is one of my favorite pieces in my collection, because I know how expensive these guns can be on the market.
Picking WW2 Items In A Garrage
One of my friends knows a lot of people, who love to pick anything old. So I was invited on a warm afternoon, to check his large messy and dusty garage. There, literally, was everything: old ammo boxes, toys, paintings, video games, tools, military helmets, magazines, books and all you can imagine! But it was really badly stored. There was large leaks in the ceilings and I could see lot of water damage on many beautiful things he had picked. It annoyed me, because I knew, that once I found something nice to buy, that the prices would be high. Moreover, places like that scared me! I could feel spiders crawling all around, but I came prepared. If you are like me, a bit of a clean freak, I always go picking by wearing a ball cap, long sleeves, pants and gloves. I never take any risks with the few allergies that I have.
The Adventure Starts!
As I explored his garage, the owner, was nice enough to let me be on my own. Which was really helpful, because I could do a quick online search when I needed to. I came across a lot of things. I found a series of bayonets from the Germans, US, Uk and France. There were not in good condition. I couldn’t see any serial number or any eagle stamp in that matter (Germans used an eagle stamp for all the items made for the Third Reich). So I moved on to the helmets. They too, were in bad condition. The US helmets didn’t have any liners, which sadden me. However, two German helmet were in an OK condition. But some idiot painted the first one in a flashy green, thinking it might look cool. The second one was beautiful, even if it was a bit rusty. It had the original Afrika Korps camouflage painting and the liner had a visible name written on it. But I wasn’t particularly flashing on anything yet.
Finding The WW2 German Flare Gun
The was a large shelve with old radios, toys and fake guns. However, there was one gun, that seemed to be calling me. I flashed my torch on the gun and noticed that it had double barrels. I pulled it in my hand and immediately felt its heavy weight. First, I removed the dust to find any serial number and I did! As a collector of militaria, reading 1942 on anything is a happy moment! But lower, was the stamp that I wasn’t expecting. There clearly was an eagle! I quickly understood that it was a flare gun for a Luftwaffe pilot. It’s condition was OK. But I didn’t care! I just wanted this gun in my small collection. Plus, it hurt me to see history in such a filthy environment. Trust me, he had history rusting away, which is never easy for me to accept.
Condition & Details of The WW2 German Flare Gun
I knew I could buy this gun without worrying about the law. Rust had claimed the entire trigger mechanism.
Buying the WW2 German Flare Gun
I went back and forth with the owner for a week to get a good price. At the end, I paid $230 for the gun. Which isn’t bad, because a great condition pistol is sold around a $1000. Great Deal!
In the dusty garage, were other items that had to come home with me. I came across a box full of coins from all eras. I always loved coin hunting, so I jumped on the chance. The seller wasn’t much of a coin guy, so he sold around 300 coins for $30. As a result, I was really happy, because I made some really cool discoveries. Especially these two, WW2 coins: a German 1 Reichspfennig and a British medal. Seeing the swastika made me realize and imagine what happened in 1941…hair raising moment, really! Finally, the British medal is a War Medal from 1939 to 1945. It was awarded for campaign services.
I also received a free vintage Dinky Toys military toy ambulance, made in England.
My Missed Purchases
There was a lot of things in that dusty garage. I came across a Royal Army radio Telephone Set J YA 7815. I still think about that piece often. But he asked for a high price and I always have a budget to respect. So I left it in that messy garage, wishing that I could return soon to save it from the dirt and water leaks. Finally, I also have kept thinking about the German Afrika Korps helmet. May be, it would be worth buying it too someday.
Doing it for History! Nothing Else!
If you wonder why I do collect militaria items, this is my sincere answer to you:
I always felt a sense of duty to preserve history. When I was around 8 years old, I digged holes all around the garden, with a sole objective to find fossils with a trace of an ancient story. I did find a few, but with age I quickly fell in love with war history. It simply fascinated me.
As an artist now, I can say that I was passionate to find objects with a story to tell. Stories are part of any artist artwork. We all are storytellers! So, collecting these relics inspire me to create military designs that celebrate a story. In order to keep the truth alive, it is very important to preserve history. If we ever forget what cruelty happened, we won’t ever be able to avoid the same fate to any population anywhere around the world. If we forget the courage, the heroism, the selfness of the people who fought hate, we won’t ever be humble or grateful for what we have. It is important to never forget, to never fall in the same traps. History is always repeating itself. So, it’s always best to learn from it. Finally, all my heroes are from various backgrounds, color, gender or religion. We can all learn from everyone, if we are simply open to listen and to learn.