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DoughboyWWI

Is it possible for an American collector to get items from Africa?

9 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I am a teen-aged collector of militaria of the World War.  My goal is to get items from all the belligerents (and, if applicable, their colonies).  In America, I have not seen any colonial items from the World War here for sale, and the only items I've ever seen in person are the items in museums in France.  If one was to go to a place that had colonies, such as Germany or Britain, would it be any more likely I'd find what I'm looking for?  Would I be even better-off going to the historical colonies in Africa (despite the health risks) to find these items to potentially add to my collection?
Any help on it is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

~G. Moore.

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

I suppose it rather depends what you are talking about but there is plenty of Indian, French (Colonial inc. sub Saharan Africa) and other militaria for sale in the US. If you have the resources to travel to the sources  I would always recommend it (but be aware in some contexts the idea you are interested in historical artifacts will be met with some confusion!)  but if you are looking for representative example of common items (helmets, Tunics, medals etc) to be honest the first place I would look is eBay!

I have purchased items from half a dozen former colonies with no problems, some from US based sellers and some from elsewhere.

Good luck in your hunt!

 

Chris

Edited by 4thGordons

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ID: 3   Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

I suppose it rather depends what you are talking about but there is plenty of Indian, French (Colonial inc. sub Saharan Africa) and other militaria for sale in the US. If you have the resources to travel to the sources  I would always recommend it (but be aware in some contexts the idea you are interested in historical artifacts will be met with some confusion!)  but if you are looking for representative example of common items (helmets, Tunics, medals etc) to be honest the first place I would look is eBay!

I have purchased items from half a dozen former colonies with no problems, some from US based sellers and some from elsewhere.

Good luck in your hunt!

 

Chris

Thanks!  The colonies on the top of my list are from the German colonies- namely Tsingtao and German East-Africa.  And I had looked on eBay, but I couldn't find much on the American version.  I did find a few things on some militaria auction sites, however.  Anyways, thank you for reply and I appreciate your effort!

~G. Moore.

Edited by DoughboyWWI

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Hello, G.Moore,

 

There are always difficulties in what you are suggesting, the least of which is 'red tape', former colonies in Africa  often have 'antiquities laws' with heavy penalties for those unfortunate enough to accidently break them or even be suspected of such things. I would respectfully suggest that you work through a licensed importer who is familiar with all the regulations, if you choose to go that route. A stranger wandering around asking locals about 'military items' in some areas could be dangerous if misunderstood.

In my opinion to outlay money for travel to Africa without having definite contacts and knowledge of availability would be a lot of money that would be better spent locally.

I suggest going to the local gun shows and militaria shows, you may be surprised at what is available locally. I don't know exactly what you are after, but I attend shows regularly and have seen significant amounts of 'colonial' material'

good luck & stay safe

khaki

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3 minutes ago, Khaki said:

Hello, G.Moore,

 

There are always difficulties in what you are suggesting, the least of which is 'red tape', former colonies in Africa  often have 'antiquities laws' with heavy penalties for those unfortunate enough to accidently break them or even be suspected of such things. I would respectfully suggest that you work through a licensed importer who is familiar with all the regulations, if you choose to go that route. A stranger wandering around asking locals about 'military items' in some areas could be dangerous if misunderstood.

In my opinion to outlay money for travel to Africa without having definite contacts and knowledge of availability would be a lot of money that would be better spent locally.

I suggest going to the local gun shows and militaria shows, you may be surprised at what is available locally. I don't know exactly what you are after, but I attend shows regularly and have seen significant amounts of 'colonial' material'

good luck & stay safe

khaki

I go to the 'Show of Shows' in Louisville, Kentucky, every year and it is supposedly the best militaria show in the eastern United States.  However, the past two years I've gone (two years ago being my first time) I've not seen a large amount of those items.  However I am probably not looking hard enough.

Do you know of any importers that import these items from Africa?  If so, I'd love to come into contact with them.

Anyhow, thanks for your reply- I appreciate it!
~G. Moore.

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I don't know of any importers off hand, but check on-line, hopefully some of the forum members who live in SA or elsewhere in the African continent could offer some advise. My suspicion is, for example G.E.A material, would be relatively rare in Africa today. Maybe you could give us an idea of exactly what type of items you are seeking.

My philosophy has always been that something that you can handle (at a show) and make you own evaluation is preferable to a catalog item through a third party., despite having made some excellent buys on line and from catalogs, I still prefer the shows where you can make contacts amongst the dealers, at the last show I attended I mentioned to a dealer friend of mine at his sale table that I was looking for two unusual bayonets, he took me directly to another dealer, introduced me and I had both bayonets and scabbards within ten minutes. Sometimes the smaller local shows are worth attending, less crowds ( I hate crowds).

 

khaki

 

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"G";

 

Khaki has a lot of good advice. I have a friend who worked for several years in Africa, he is a business partner, if you can believe it he was the CEO of four different African national railroads. There are lots of practical problems with dealing with/in Africa. For example, I had to get a normal letter to him, from the US to the capital of Uganda, his American Express bill, and there is no normal mail service, to Uganda, a fairly developed country, and most express services would not help, and finally I got DHL to forward the letter, and it cost $115, and it was that cheap only because his company in Uganda had a special relationship or contract with DHL, which you probably know is a German company. So $115 postage for an ordinary letter. Bank checks are not accepted, because it is not a crime to write and pass a bad check. He did the finances of large railroads with suitcases of $20 and $100 US bills. African banks do not believe that $50 bills are real.

 

You can have practical difficulties while dealing with officials over there, and they might be used to extort money from you. Things happen over there that are hard to imagine. A different friend was entering a country, he had a special camera, and an official invented a special entry tax of $2500 to enter the country with that sort of camera. He didn't pay. Other crazy stories.

 

It probably is better to stay here and try to buy stuff on e-Bay, etc.

 

Bob

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In my experience in Africa, there's nothing to be found outside of museums etc. Anything left behind had no other value to the local population unless it made their life immediately easier. A trip to Africa is fraught with logistical problems unless you know the ropes. Ebay and private sellers may be the easiest source but not very interesting.

 

Roop

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ID: 9   Posted (edited)

Hello G. Moore,

 
 

I personally do not buy colonial things at ebay or other online auctions. There the sellers know nothing to the finding place, to the circumstances - the offered items are pure souvenirs!

The best is even to travel to the former colonies or buy directly from collectors who were there.

 
 

I was just in the former German South West Africa on the battlefields of the Herero uprising and I found very many relics:

 

Herero uprising

Also in recent years I traveled through Africa, see:

 

travel reports

 

Best regards - arche-foto

Edited by arche-foto
form

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