Reproduction Medals and militaria

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I have recently experienced a dissapointing result, after buying from a source in Poland....

While im sure there are many many original World war 2 items in the country, it is a crying shame that many outlets in Poland are pushing out serious ammounts of Repro items. many of the "eastern " block countries have tried cashing in on a very lucrative market, by flooding it with repro's. While these repro's offer a very good substitute, until the real thing is found, many are sold as originals, and fetch a very unrealistic price. Many have been conned by these tactics, and many who sell these items on a casual basis, can not be shot for not knowing the difference. but that does not help those wishing to contsruct an extensive collection of WWII memorobilia

It is sometimes hard to tell whats good an what is not...but a few pointers to look for:

Medals...look at the ribbon, if its appearence is brand new, and the medal flawless, beware...while there are a number of items in that condition and original..more often now a days, you will find it is a high quality repro from poland and the Eastern Block...

How do they do this...well, in alot of cases, the original dye, or cast is being used, and a high grade of material used to produce the medals...i was offered a cast for 12 General Assult badges. Totally original WWII production unit for these badges...so how do we tell the difference.?

In many cases now a days, the buyer will find a dealer who he or she becomes familiar with, and learns to trust...but assurities conducted by your self too, will help....

You will need a UV light. UV pens can be bought from security centres for a nominal price. When shone onto a medal ribbon, a repro ribbon will give of a sharp glare, where as an original will not reflect brightly, infact it will show as a dull light...this is a result of the types of material used to contruct original medal ribbon or cloth badges pre 1945..Modern repro items are produced from synthetic material, and is nothing like that used for original items. The burn tes also shows the comparison..a small peice of the material when lit will burn and leave an ashy type trail, the synthetic material will act much like a worn, and when lit will wriggle fold and melt, rather than burn..

For those who want to be sure in every respect...a guide to the weights of certain medals and items can be obtained, and I have seen weighing scales being sold on ebay, specially made to weight medals, jewelry, and such like....Back ground on an item is also useful..If it has a confirmed history, thats good...but beware of this too..there are people out there ready to rob you, given the chance...i always say look at the item, not the story. While that does not apply in all cases of course, its a sensible approach to take when buying even the cheapest of Military items..

I will put my head on the chopping block again, and say, that if someone who is selling on Ebay, or other auction sites, does NOT offer a cooling off period in which you have the option to return the item if your not happy, then dont buy..if the seller is a genuine dealer, or seller, they will have no problems with offering that service for anyone, because even the best can be caught out on occasions.!!!Please also take into consideration that some people may be selling an item they know nothing about...it may be turned up in a job lot, or was left to them...personally, I would hate to think i could "Rip" someone like that off...an have always offered an explanation of an item in these cases...that person then has the chance to remove the item, adjust the description, or set a reserve applicable to that item...I see nothing wrong in offering that service to anyone...some dealers or buyers may not like that idea, but what we all have to remember is that a medal passed down through the family represents a persons service to his country and i for one, am not prepared to sting anyone in those circumstances...respect for that person and his serviceshould always be at the forfront of anyones mind..call me old fasion, call me stupid, i don't care....someones memory is much more important than a few pounds cheaper to me, and thats that....

I hope this helps some of you get more from collecting, i will be listing a reveiw about flags in the near future

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