WW II Collectibles

World War II Collectibles

The devastation and worldwide drama wrought by World War II and the events of this time period is a never-ending source of fascination to military, political, and history buffs. Many enthusiasts collect military memorabilia from this era. From American uniforms to war documents, several types of items are available for collectors from the different units involved on different fronts of World War II.

What are some types of collectibles from World War II?

For discerning collectors, there is an array of collectible items from World War II. Many World War II Memorial collectors specialize in a subcategory of collectible, such as those from the United States Navy or German helmets during the era. Some common collectible categories from the different nations engaged in combat include:

  • Uniforms, including such specific items such as aviator jackets, helmets, unit patches, cuff titles, and medals.
  • Documents, including such specific items such as maps, telegrams, war orders, photographs, and personal letters.
  • Weapon accessories, such as rifle sights, rifle stocks, grenade pins, holsters, and bayonets.
How can you tell if a collectible uniform is authentic?

Given the high demand for World War II Memorial collectibles, many businesses around the world manufacture and sell reproductions of items such as weapons, helmets, and uniform items. While some of these producers of reproductions label them as such, others do attempt to sell their items as authentic items from the war era. In the case of Veteran uniforms or other items made of cloth, there are few ways to test the items for authenticity, including:

  • Black light test. Materials, fabrics, and other textiles used to produce uniforms, badges, patches, and other items during World War II will not shine or glow under a black light. Reproductions constructed of recently sourced cotton will glow under black lights because the cotton is treated in the factories with chemicals that will glow under black light.
  • Burn test. Similarly, fabrics used during World War II to make uniforms and other cloth goods were not treated with flame retardants to make them flame-resistant as many fabrics are now. To test, take a small thread or tiny patch of fabric from a nondescript area of the item and apply a lit match to it. An authentic item will burn much more rapidly than a reproduction.
What are HBT uniforms?

HBT uniforms were utility uniforms issued during WWII by the United States to all branches of the military. They were a drab green in colour and cut with a loose fit to allow for full range of motion during battle, their ultimate purpose. United States armed forces HBT uniforms had a distinctive pattern to the weave of the cotton used to construct them, with a herringbone appearance. Germany also issued their own version of HBT uniforms although the fabric used for these uniforms had a different weave or pattern.