Junk Shops and Carboots – Bargain WW2 Militaria!

I’ve been so busy with filming series 2 of WW2 Treasure Hunters, (starts 12th November 2018 on History channel and Freeview Blaze), that I’ve not done a great deal of digging for myself over the past few months. So, now for something completely different! (ish).

The vast majority of my collection of WW2 relics is ground dug, and I love ground dug relics for a couple of reasons. Firstly the history is intact. When they come out of the ground I know precisely where they have been since the war, and can usually identify who used them, down to a unit or even a single man. Secondly, they cost nothing! Ok, they do have some cost as I use petrol to get to the site and have bought a detector to find them, but you know what I mean.

Many people turn their noses up at ground dug relics as they prefer shiny bits of metal, but I often think that shiny means no history. For me, it is all about the history not just the relic itself, and in 20+ years of digging WW2 relics, I have not sold a single item I have recovered. I can’t part with the history!

All of that being said, as a WW2 geek I can’t resist a bargain, and will always look round junk shops, carboot sales and the like in the hope of picking up a piece of WW2 for a ridiculously small amount of money. I’m an old skinflint I know, but I’d be daft not to take advantage of a low price. Over the past few years I’ve picked up some fabulous items, and have never spent more than a £20 on any of them. In fact, many cost me just a few quid or even pence!

The trick with most of this bargain hunting is to find the seller who doesn’t know what they’ve got, (or simply doesn’t care). It’s no good making a bee-line for the stall/shop packed with militaria, as you will rarely pick up a bargain. They know what they’ve got and know the value. What you’re looking for is the guy that has a shop/stall full of stuff, in amongst which are a couple of bits of militaria. It is these where you can find a bargain. On a couple of occasions I’ve picked items up, only for the seller to tell me ‘I’ve no idea what that is mate…..make me an offer’. These are the ones to go for!

The easiest thing to pick up are books and pamphlets. But you can also find shell cases, ammo boxes, dust masks……all kinds of things….at carboot sales and in junk shops.

 

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Got these from a charity shop. Couldn’t see any WW2 books so asked. Volunteer said an elderly lady had brought some magazines in that her husband had collected, but he had passed away and she was clearing stuff out.
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Every single volume of the magazine! £5 for the lot!
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Carboot. Missing the second year volume but found that a few months later. £2 for these.
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Ok….post WW2…..
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….but at 20p I’m not complaining.
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Carboot…..£2
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Book published 1941.

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More half decent books. £2 for the lot.
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One of my best bargains ever. There is a guy lives near my mother-in-law who has converted his front room into a second hand book shop. Left my phone number with him one day and asked him to ring me if he got any WW2 books in. He rang about these…..and said I could have the lot for £25. I have never made such a frantic call to the mother-in-law before, demanding she go round immediately and pay the man!!! She did…
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most have the same name written in them on the inside cover
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They range from home guard stuff
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To map reading and drill
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To small arms manuals
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some of which are quite rare
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and some I never knew existed.
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£2 the lot
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£6 for the lot. Very pleased with this lot!
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£2.50.
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50p each
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Aeroplane Spotter…..all WW2 vintage. £5 for the lot.
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20p
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Ok, this isn’t from a carboot or junk shop. Donation by an elderly gentleman who ‘captured’ the cuff while serving in North Africa, and was issued the book whilst also in service. I am not convinced on the authenticity of the cuff title as it appears to be a repro, but I wasn’t about to ruin the veterans generosity by refusing the donation.

 

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£2
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Slightly more expensive this lot at £10…..
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….but the date on the headphones made it worthwhile
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£1.50 for these goggles. I put them in the frame a few days after buying them to protect them
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50p
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Missing one pair……but can’t moan for 50p
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£4
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Nicely stamped.
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Not how I bought it. This petrol can was £2 and bashed to hell and back, covered in tar and in a very sorry state. This is how it looked after I’d restored it.
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Nicely dated and WD stamped
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£5
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£2
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Rubber has a few holes in it, but nice to see one in an original box.
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£2
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Missing the nose valve, but great condition otherwise
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£1. What’s in the bag!

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Booklet, leaflets, 20mm Oerlikon cartridge case and WW2 dated Jerry can. Can’t remember how much these were, but it wouldn’t have been much!
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50p
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50p
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50p
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50p
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£1.25
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£3
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….
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These are actually from a military surplus store. They had a huge pallet of post war ammo cans, mostly ex Yugoslavian army and ‘ribbed’ down the sides. However, in among them were some without the ribs and I noticed they looked distinctly German.
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Sure enough, some of them had German manufacturer stamps on them!
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At £10 each I couldn’t resist. However, the paint was bloody awful so…..
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….I restored a couple to the correct sand colour.
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I even dyed the leather grips….
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….and sewed them back on!
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Two more restored ammo boxes. Both were in a horrible state with no original paint left and bashed to hell and back. A few hours with hammer and pliers, then a strip and repaint…..
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….followed by stencil spraying. Didn’t come out bad at all…..
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Another 50cal ammo box. 50p.
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How it looks now.
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25pdr shell case
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Nicely marked and dated. £3
clip
This clip caught my eye for one main reason. The cartridges in it are rimless! I got it for 50p, which isn’t bad when you consider…..
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…..the cartridges the sellers son had put in it were 7.92mm German!
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Bandolier is post WW2, but the clips and cartridges aren’t. £6.50
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6pdr shell case that was full of fire pokers and shovels and stuff. They wanted me to take those too and it took a bit of persuading to not take them! £4
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Nicely stamped
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German fuze and a couple of boosters, WW2 dated. £8 the lot.
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Couple of 75mm WW2 dated shell cases and a nice book. £7 for the lot.
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Got this off ebay. The guy mistakenly didn’t put a reserve on it and some guy collared them for a quid!!! The seller refused to sell though and I heard about it so messaged him. Got the lot for £20.
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‘I have no idea what that is mate!’ shouted the seller when I picked this up. ‘Make me an offer’. 50p. Bargain! I cut off the daft cone someone had soldered to it. Excellent condition incendiary bomb fin.
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AM cable….
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….in a ridiculously good condition! £4 from a junk shop
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Same junk shop…..aircraft temp gauge….
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….made in 1943 in USA. £4 as well!
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Saw this at the bottom of a box of rusty tools. It was rather dirty so I polished it up. 25p
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nicely stamped
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And finally this little lot. My best ever bargain. Saw them under s booters table and picked one up. ‘Lamps out of aircraft mate!’ shouted the seller. I asked how much. He said £20, so I countered with £15. ‘Nahh……that’s less than a fiver each’. I looked at him puzzled and said ‘It isn’t. It’s £7.50 each’. He then replied that it wasn’t as there were another two in the boxes. FOUR WW2 dated RAF signalling lamps!!! For £20! In the original boxes. I didn’t bother bartering any more and paid him the £20.
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All four nicely stamped and in pristine condition.
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Both boxes dated 1939!

 

 

 

This was the best donation ever though, and not just because I got them for nothing from a veteran. They have their history intact!! (or at least the book does……The cuff title maybe repro but it’s the thought that counts….)

 

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