I hope that most of you who are about to view my life's work in German collectibles are also collectors or at least aspiring to be. Although I make my living buying and selling artifacts, I am a true collector and truly love this hobby of militaria.
I have been collecting since 1965, the year the Jim Atwood's seminal work, "The Daggers and Edged Weapons of Hitler's Germany", originally hit the collector shelves. At this time, I was 22 years old and had been married for about a year. Before this time, as an adventurous, historically-minded child, I was a stamp and coin collector. That hobby gave testimony and hard evidence to the places and bygone eras I could only experience through Saturday movie matinees and in history classes in school (when I had a good teacher, that is). Like many children, I was fascinated with ancient Eygpt with its mummies and hieroglyphics, Robin Hood with his long bow and impossible feats of archery, and, of course, pirates flying the Jolly Roger and the lure of me discovering their buried treasurer at the sea shore during summer vacations. In 7th grade, I remember being transfixed with a Matthew Brady photograph book of the Civil War I found in the library. The many photos of battlefield dead and particularily the gallows shots of those condemned after the Lincoln assassination could not but fascinate this teenager. The horror of it all was somehow so exciting. Barring anything else available to kids at the time, stamps and coins seemed to be the only medium for a child to feel actual history. But after that Atwood book came out, the recent history of my father's time suddenly came to life for me.
My Uncle Harry had given my dad two German daggers that he had brought home from the war. They hung on our family room wall throughout my childhood - in fact, my brother Ronny and I had thrown them into trees, resulting in a broken crossguard on the Army Dagger. Forever it will remain sans swastika. The other example turned out to be an SA dagger with a ground Röhm inscription... Wow, was that exciting! The day that book came into the coin shop, it completely changed my life. Suddenly Uncle Harry's war souvenirs connected a circuit in my brain which would stay connected for the rest of my life.
Since that day some 40 years ago, every day of my life has had new meaning. I was now part of a living "treasure map". I would spend the rest of my life lusting for more! I am a true collector - I love the art and history of these beautiful, yet still somewhat "verboten" arms. Although over the years I have owned, bought and sold quantities of almost every German edged weapon type, and I must say I honestly never tire of it. The uncovering of a fine monogrammed Army Officer Dagger can be almost as exciting as unexpectedly stumbling into a neighbor's Model 1936 Chained SS Dagger! I still try to add an interesting piece to my collection when I can. Although I have made a good living with this hobby for many years, I am still interested in helping new collectors where I can. I hope I can help you too. I hope that you will enjoy these views of my favorite room. Feel free to ask questions. I hope all of you will also enjoy your German artifacts as much as I have these many years. Good luck with your collection and unlike me, try not to let it run your life!