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Indo China Wars 1945 - 1975. Covering, French Indo China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc.

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Is paperwork for Vietnam bringbacks really that important?
Old 01-27-2015, 05:55 PM   #1
burb1989
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Default Is paperwork for Vietnam bringbacks really that important?

I've been looking through a lot of posts on multiple forums over the past couple of years in regards to weapons that were Vietnam bringbacks and most it seemed were condemned because they lacked "paperwork" that proved they came from Vietnam. I know that with items from WW2 are more valuable if they have paperwork but it seems that with Vietnam items unless it has paperwork then it brings into question the origin of the piece. So far the only weapons I have that came from Vietnam were bought from the people and families that brought them home from there and took care of them. So I guess my question would be if I was to buy a weapon that looks like it came from Vietnam does it have to have paperwork to prove that?
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:13 PM   #2
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If the gun comes with paperwork, I'd attache significantly more value to the weapon. From a collectors standpoint documentation is always the ideal. Without it could have come from anywhere.


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Originally Posted by burb1989 View Post
I've been looking through a lot of posts on multiple forums over the past couple of years in regards to weapons that were Vietnam bringbacks and most it seemed were condemned because they lacked "paperwork" that proved they came from Vietnam. I know that with items from WW2 are more valuable if they have paperwork but it seems that with Vietnam items unless it has paperwork then it brings into question the origin of the piece. So far the only weapons I have that came from Vietnam were bought from the people and families that brought them home from there and took care of them. So I guess my question would be if I was to buy a weapon that looks like it came from Vietnam does it have to have paperwork to prove that?
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:23 PM   #3
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Ok well that makes sense. I know that is the case with WW2 stuff and I guess it's the same with Vietnam stuff as well. I try not to buy weapons from that time frame unless it is coming directly from the vet who brought it home or his family so I can feel comfortable about where it came from. Glad to know this for any future purchases I plan to make. Thank you.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:15 PM   #4
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It doesn't hurt if you buy things from vets families to get the them to write down details about who brought it back, where served and stuff like that and get them to sign. These are certainly forged but it's nice to have. Also, Vietnam is still relatively recent only 30 or so years ago. Plus quantities of VN stuff are tiny compared to ww2 with millions and millions of people involved. VN stuff will do nothing but go up and up over the next decades.


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Originally Posted by burb1989 View Post
Ok well that makes sense. I know that is the case with WW2 stuff and I guess it's the same with Vietnam stuff as well. I try not to buy weapons from that time frame unless it is coming directly from the vet who brought it home or his family so I can feel comfortable about where it came from. Glad to know this for any future purchases I plan to make. Thank you.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:40 PM   #5
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I probably should've gotten a written history with my two Vietnam rifles but I at least have the dates these rifles were picked up out of the jungle. The man I bought the Chinese Gew 88 from was in the Army and the one who brought home the berthier and the lebel (which sadly I couldn't get but it is in a friend's collection so maybe in the future?) was a Marine so thankfully I know that much. I didn't want to press any further since I didn't want to stir up any negative feelings from the past and possibly lose the deal. I just found that talking with combat veterans from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam is the real treasure but I know to only ask about what they did during their service only if the vet wants to talk about it. That way they feel comfortable about talking to someone about their service. A lot of times I've found that I've been the only one to really ask about what a veteran did during their service in detail (sad I know) and in a way help pass their stories along. That's why when I have bought a bringback off of a veteran I love to hear the story of how they acquired the piece and I write it down to help preserve the item's history.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:51 PM   #6
MikeP
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Opinions vary, I guess.
I started collecting WW2 stuff in the early 60s.
There wwere tons around. My family were vets and most all guys in the area were as well.
Paperwork was very rare-if it existed, most had been lost.
I recall no significance regarding papers til just a few years ago.
Lots of fake papers, now. Wonder where they were in the 60s.
90% of souvenirs were taken from salvage piles by GIs.
Papers only are a slip that some outfit some days required for shipping or ownership.
They have nothing to do with how or where the pieces were acquired.
I have heard some real whoppers from vets, embellishing their service.
My time in VN, 68-70 you were authorised one each approved weapon as a souvenir. Again, this only indicated it had been inspected, not that it was taken from Uncle Ho's cold dead hands. The amount of papers were an incredible and needless hassle compared to earlier times.
I don't think today's vets can bring a pocket knife.

I know about collecting, I have seen the change in generations and atitudes.
I personally care zip about where something came from.
Inanimate objects are just that.
When one says papers ad "significant" value, my teeth hurt.
To each his own, I guess.
One of the self appointed resident experts PMd e about being too old and that I should shut up.
Not yet.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:57 PM   #7
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burb, this is a subject that is tough to give a short answer to in a forum. I hope that you don't think I am equivocating when I say "it depends". If it is a NK or NVA sks, a M20 or T54 pistol, etc, the answer is totally no. That said, when selling the papered ones will almost always sell faster and bring more money. That's just reality.

In the case of the Berthier, Lebel, or that Gew 88, I'd want to see some documentation before I'd totally buy into it. They are just too uncommon as VN bringbacks and also are available in numbers from before import stamps were required. I know of a dealer or two who years ago brought in unmarked weapons from Canada, made up capture papers, had stamps made, and sold them as bringbacks. They also did it to other common weapons. So paper is not foolproof, but if you know what you are looking for, you are better armed. When in doubt, use your common sense or call a knowledgeable collector.

Mike, I look forward to your comments and while I don't always agree with what you say I respect what you say. You speak with common sense and a ton of experience, not like the drones who parrot catch phrases "if it doesn't have paper it isn't a bringback" and other such drivel. I pay attention to what you say - many others I don't.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:36 PM   #8
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I think I understand 603. The berthier I have is a model made exclusively for the Vietnamese in French Indochina so it makes sense along with its condition that it was there. Both rifles I mentioned, along with the lebel, all had the same condition and repair issues that I have come to know of an NVA or VC rifle that has been rode hard and put away wet. That and since I got them directly from the vets and their families it adds to the authenticity of them being Vietnam bringbacks. So for the future if I am understanding this right the more common bringbacks (non import sks's, T54's, etc.) papers aren't so much needed but with the more uncommon pieces (colonial French rifles, mausers, arisakas, etc.) paperwork is needed to help prove their origin. So in the future if a seller advertises a rifle as a Vietnam bringback and it is a more uncommon rifle for the Vietnam era would I need to see if they have any provenance to back up their claim? Forgive me for trying to understand a little bit clearer.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:55 PM   #9
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Oh and I forgot Mike thank you for your insight as well. My dad was there from 66 until a week before the Tet Offemsive happened in 68. He told me he never had to fill out paperwork for any of his bringbacks, even his own field gear. His sks was his free rifle I guess but he had to show it to his CO before claiming it. To get it home he took the stock off and took the bayonet off but that didn't keep it from poking through the bottom of his sea bag. All of his other gear he hid carefully on the bottom of his bag except for his etool, which I don't know how lucky he was to smuggle that past the MPs. All in all I'm proud of my dad and his service both in the theatre of war and stateside. He did tell me that he could've smuggled home his 1911 like some of the others in his unit but I guess at the time he was content with what he did manage to bring home. Again thank you for your help Mike and also for your service.
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Old 01-28-2015, 05:34 AM   #10
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MikeP,

Not to get in a pissing match but been collecting nearly as long as you, 72-73.

Dunno, we certainly are different in our attitudes thank god for that. Inanimate object but have more interest in a Chinese SKS that was brought back from Vietnam than one that was imported by Norinco from China in 1980.... All the difference in the world.

At your age you might want to have your teeth looked at, they should never hurt.........




.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
Opinions vary, I guess.
I started collecting WW2 stuff in the early 60s.
There wwere tons around. My family were vets and most all guys in the area were as well.
Paperwork was very rare-if it existed, most had been lost.
I recall no significance regarding papers til just a few years ago.
Lots of fake papers, now. Wonder where they were in the 60s.
90% of souvenirs were taken from salvage piles by GIs.
Papers only are a slip that some outfit some days required for shipping or ownership.
They have nothing to do with how or where the pieces were acquired.
I have heard some real whoppers from vets, embellishing their service.
My time in VN, 68-70 you were authorised one each approved weapon as a souvenir. Again, this only indicated it had been inspected, not that it was taken from Uncle Ho's cold dead hands. The amount of papers were an incredible and needless hassle compared to earlier times.
I don't think today's vets can bring a pocket knife.

I know about collecting, I have seen the change in generations and atitudes.
I personally care zip about where something came from.
Inanimate objects are just that.
When one says papers ad "significant" value, my teeth hurt.
To each his own, I guess.
One of the self appointed resident experts PMd e about being too old and that I should shut up.
Not yet.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:56 AM   #11
D. Michael Kim
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Mike is correct that a person could LEGALLY bring back one war souvenir per tour.
I was there in 66 again in 69 and that was the policy. But if one had contacts especially with air force personnel more that the one allowed got home, with others going to the crew member.

I had the opportunity to bring back others but only brought back the legal number, one presented to me by my Battalion Commander, the other from the CG of the 9th ROK Division.

As to paper accompanying the item, it would give credence to the object and in my mind make it easier to dispose of if the documentation were present.

However, if it did not have the paper work the only other means of authenticating it would be to write the story of how I obtained the piece, take a picture of myself holding it today, noting the make and serial number and add a picture of me taken in Vietnam. I would then have the paperwork notarized. This being done I believe that the piece would have the provenance that would satisfy the new owner, less the exit documentation.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:59 PM   #12
D. Michael Kim
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"Paperwork was very rare-if it existed, most had been lost."

Mike had posted the above reply and it got me thinking, how true it is. Of all things that were brought home for some reason paper because of its frailness is the first to be thrown out or lost.

Looking at it this in another way the paper that came with the bring back was not a full 81/2 x 11" sheet in size. I have to check but after almost 50 years I believe one was no more that 4"x 4", the other was about 4"x 6" in size. Being as small as it is how easy it would be for it to be lost.

Relating to this is the point that many may not view paper and ephemera as collectible items. Looking at it in another way if one receives a Bronze Star with V device what is more important the certificate or the actual medal? The certificate is the award the medal and ribbon are just devices that can be worn on the uniform.

Ephemera is one of the most fascinating and historically important areas to collect and is far less common than insignia because it was not kept. Think of the history that has been thrown away,.........because it was just paper.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Michael Kim View Post
Mike is correct that a person could LEGALLY bring back one war souvenir per tour.
I was there in 66 again in 69 and that was the policy. But if one had contacts especially with air force personnel more that the one allowed got home, with others going to the crew member.

I had the opportunity to bring back others but only brought back the legal number, one presented to me by my Battalion Commander, the other from the CG of the 9th ROK Division.

As to paper accompanying the item, it would give credence to the object and in my mind make it easier to dispose of if the documentation were present.

However, if it did not have the paper work the only other means of authenticating it would be to write the story of how I obtained the piece, take a picture of myself holding it today, noting the make and serial number and add a picture of me taken in Vietnam. I would then have the paperwork notarized. This being done I believe that the piece would have the provenance that would satisfy the new owner, less the exit documentation.
D Michael, it sounds like you have some really neat and personal items to treasure! And your method of documenting non papered items is spot on. That said, some vets do lie- somewhere I do have statements from a vet on two weapons attesting to their capture. When they arrived, both were import marked. His story had a tenuous sound to it and my instincts about him were proven to be correct.


Here is a photo of the weapons a Marine CAC vet brought back. He tried to bring back an example of each item that he encountered. He sold everything in the early 90's when he was terminally diagnosed with several maladies related to his Agent Orange exposure. I was late to the party but was able to buy everything but the T53 and the T54 Tokarev pistol. Later the T54 appeared on GB and I was able to win it; I'm still looking for the T53. All paperwork was hand written on the forms, and were badly deteriorated, but he was able to legally able to bring back all weapons over the course of his 3 tours. All weapons were doc'd at the same time, in 1969. The Mak came back without paperwork and the docs to an RPG-2 were lost.

Many vets were also instructed to tape the paperwork to the buttstock of their weapons. Many docs did not survive this.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Weapons on bed.jpg (62.3 KB, 167 views)

Last edited by 603dasc; 01-29-2015 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:39 PM   #14
D. Michael Kim
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603dasc, please send contact number

Last edited by D. Michael Kim; 01-29-2015 at 02:50 PM. Reason: error
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Bringback for bringback...
Old 02-01-2015, 09:37 PM   #15
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Default Bringback for bringback...

My 2c is that bringback papers don't add much, if any, value. Main reason is traceability of the bringback document. Specifically, except a gun bringback with matching serial number, how do I know THAT paper goes with THAT item?

There are loose original bringback papers consistently for sale online. Many are pretty vague, like "German flag", "Japanese sword", and the like. So, somebody has a plain jane type 95 NCO sword, pays $25 for a bringback paper, and charges $100 more for the pair. Good investment, for a crook.

Unless I get it direct from veteran / family, I don't put much creedence in the paperwork - and if I'm getting from vet, why do I need it?

I'm somewhat playing devil's advocate, but I really don't think the bringback papers are a big deal.

But whadda I know?

Last edited by Blacksmith Life; 02-01-2015 at 10:19 PM.
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