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Armband specialists/hardcore collectors - What's important to you in an armband?

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    Armband specialists/hardcore collectors - What's important to you in an armband?

    Posed this question in the edged weapons forum awhile ago because that was an area I wanted to focus on and now I want to dive into armbands as well. Everyone has different preferences to what makes an item desirable to them, but I'd like to solicit some feedback from all of you on what you find appealing/important when collecting armbands!

    A few things to consider:

    Is mint or close to mint the most desirable or do you like to see some "character"? (some use, staining, tears, holes, etc)

    Armbands appear to come with several identifying methods (tags, stamps, etc.). Do you care if an armband has identification as long as the material is period correct?

    Armbands are made from a variety of materials and styles (cotton, wool, sewn on swastika, printed, etc.). Is one type of material more desirable than the other?

    #2
    My quick 2 cents worth regarding your questions (and I have 1,256 different WWI/WWII era armbands in my collection as of today and have seen/handled thousands more).
    1. IMO, mint is always most desirable and woven/stitched/BeVo always trumps printed/silk-screened, but condition is secondary when you discover a seldom seen example or one-of-a-kind piece.
    2. IMO, official markings (ink stamps, paper/cloth tags, metal discs), etc. make an armband more interesting, but since most don't have any markings, don't limit yourself to marked-only armbands because your collection will not grow as big as it could. Also, be wary of markings, especially ink stamps. The stamps should relate to the organization/meaning of the armband and should be stamped on the outside/visible portion of the armband on the front.
    3. IMO, material does not really matter although I prefer wool over linen/cotton. I do have some nice ones in silk and one in doeskin. Canvas was the most crude material used and if you are lucky, you may find one in paper someday (mostly used by organizations doing charity drives).
    4. Be very careful out there because reproduction (modern copies of armbands that actually existed in Germany) and fantasy armbands (armbands designed and manufactured by individuals that never existed and were never worn by Germans) are in mass circulation in the marketplace. Get yourself as many reference materials as you can find; read the hundreds of previous armband-related posts here on WAF; use the expertise of the many members here on WAF; and when this horrible situation in the world is beaten, go to shows and touch/handle as many armbands as you can to get a good feel of their construction.
    5. Finally, most German armbands with lots of bullion on them are very nice/stunning (NSDAP political leader ones for example), but they are usually very expensive even though they are very common. Never think that the more you pay for an armband, the higher chance it has of being original and the rarer it surely has to be. IMO, the rarest armbands are usually printed and are made for short-term events such as a 3-day racing event, a Reichsparteitag, a one-time parade or organizational gathering, a charity event, etc. Imagine how few German armbands still exist that were issued for something that lasted a day to a week and then were no longer valid? Many had to be returned to the organizers of the event or were just thrown away after the event was over. These rare armbands are usually related to the NSKK, DDAC, ONS, NSV, NSG-KdF, and WhW.
    Good luck with your new collection interest. It is a fascinating field and the many examples are endless, Chris

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by dastardly View Post
      My quick 2 cents worth regarding your questions (and I have 1,256 different WWI/WWII era armbands in my collection as of today and have seen/handled thousands more).
      1. IMO, mint is always most desirable and woven/stitched/BeVo always trumps printed/silk-screened, but condition is secondary when you discover a seldom seen example or one-of-a-kind piece.
      2. IMO, official markings (ink stamps, paper/cloth tags, metal discs), etc. make an armband more interesting, but since most don't have any markings, don't limit yourself to marked-only armbands because your collection will not grow as big as it could. Also, be wary of markings, especially ink stamps. The stamps should relate to the organization/meaning of the armband and should be stamped on the outside/visible portion of the armband on the front.
      3. IMO, material does not really matter although I prefer wool over linen/cotton. I do have some nice ones in silk and one in doeskin. Canvas was the most crude material used and if you are lucky, you may find one in paper someday (mostly used by organizations doing charity drives).
      4. Be very careful out there because reproduction (modern copies of armbands that actually existed in Germany) and fantasy armbands (armbands designed and manufactured by individuals that never existed and were never worn by Germans) are in mass circulation in the marketplace. Get yourself as many reference materials as you can find; read the hundreds of previous armband-related posts here on WAF; use the expertise of the many members here on WAF; and when this horrible situation in the world is beaten, go to shows and touch/handle as many armbands as you can to get a good feel of their construction.
      5. Finally, most German armbands with lots of bullion on them are very nice/stunning (NSDAP political leader ones for example), but they are usually very expensive even though they are very common. Never think that the more you pay for an armband, the higher chance it has of being original and the rarer it surely has to be. IMO, the rarest armbands are usually printed and are made for short-term events such as a 3-day racing event, a Reichsparteitag, a one-time parade or organizational gathering, a charity event, etc. Imagine how few German armbands still exist that were issued for something that lasted a day to a week and then were no longer valid? Many had to be returned to the organizers of the event or were just thrown away after the event was over. These rare armbands are usually related to the NSKK, DDAC, ONS, NSV, NSG-KdF, and WhW.
      Good luck with your new collection interest. It is a fascinating field and the many examples are endless, Chris
      Thank you very much for that detailed post! It is very helpful.

      Comment


        #4
        Any pictures of 1256 armbands?

        Comment


          #5
          nice

          Dastardly that info was just outstanding sir.

          Comment


            #6
            Chris is 100% spot on with his response. Especially with condition of rarer armbands. You may not always be able to find them mint, so get them while the gettin is good if they are a rare or one of a kind piece.
            Kyle

            Looking for armbands.

            Comment


              #7
              Any pictures of 1256 armbands?
              Here they are (except for 100 or so that I still need to put in the binders):
              Attached Files

              Comment


                #8
                Wow

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by dastardly View Post
                  Here they are (except for 100 or so that I still need to put in the binders):
                  Really nice collection! Would you mind showing one of the binder pages so we can see what the inserts themselves look like?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Armbands make a great display, but when you start accumulating hundreds of them and you move every 2-3 years (I was in the U.S. Army for 33 years, but have now been retired 6 years), I decided that putting them into loose leaf binders was the way to go (I have attached some pictures of what that looks like - I know, not very aesthetic/flashy, but functional). What is important is the preparation of each armband before putting them in the binder. Each armband has any loose threads removed or trimmed and then is ironed (with a cotton t-shirt covering the armband so that the iron itself never touches the armband). Then, taking packaging tape that is wrapped around 3 fingers with the sticky side out, both the interior and the exterior of each armband is padded so that all and any hair/fuzz/dust/loose dirt/etc. is removed (if you want to see the difference, put an armband under UV light before you do this and then afterwards and see what happens - you will be amazed especially with wool armbands!). Then, a piece of poster board is cut and inserted into the armband to keep the armband straight. The armband is then inserted into a clear plastic bag (placing 2 armbands back-to-back in each plastic bag saves space and bags) and this clear plastic bag is slid into a clear loose leaf sheet protector and then put into a loose leaf binder. This whole process takes some time, but IMO opinion well-worth it. I am still amazed at how many collectors (even many friends of mine) spend hundreds/thousands of dollars on military collectibles, but then throw the collectibles in desk drawers or closets making no effort to clean/preserve/display their acquisitions - sad. Chris (PS - I had some collectors ask me what a German paper/thin cardboard armband looks like so I attached some examples)
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #11
                      as a armband collector all i can say is...WOW

                      alejandro

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by dastardly View Post
                        Armbands make a great display, but when you start accumulating hundreds of them and you move every 2-3 years (I was in the U.S. Army for 33 years, but have now been retired 6 years), I decided that putting them into loose leaf binders was the way to go (I have attached some pictures of what that looks like - I know, not very aesthetic/flashy, but functional). What is important is the preparation of each armband before putting them in the binder. Each armband has any loose threads removed or trimmed and then is ironed (with a cotton t-shirt covering the armband so that the iron itself never touches the armband). Then, taking packaging tape that is wrapped around 3 fingers with the sticky side out, both the interior and the exterior of each armband is padded so that all and any hair/fuzz/dust/loose dirt/etc. is removed (if you want to see the difference, put an armband under UV light before you do this and then afterwards and see what happens - you will be amazed especially with wool armbands!). Then, a piece of poster board is cut and inserted into the armband to keep the armband straight. The armband is then inserted into a clear plastic bag (placing 2 armbands back-to-back in each plastic bag saves space and bags) and this clear plastic bag is slid into a clear loose leaf sheet protector and then put into a loose leaf binder. This whole process takes some time, but IMO opinion well-worth it. I am still amazed at how many collectors (even many friends of mine) spend hundreds/thousands of dollars on military collectibles, but then throw the collectibles in desk drawers or closets making no effort to clean/preserve/display their acquisitions - sad. Chris (PS - I had some collectors ask me what a German paper/thin cardboard armband looks like so I attached some examples)
                        Chris, first, thanks for your many years of service. Second, thanks for sharing your deep knowledge on this topic. This will be extremely helpful to newer collectors like myself (and probably some experienced ones too!). Question about the packing tape though. That stuff is pretty sticky. How do you avoid it pulling on the armbands and loosening fibers/the weave pattern when you're patting them down?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks Chris, great job.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I use the thin brown packaging tape (not the clear one which is too sticky). and if you pat the inside of the armband first, the tape is used, but still sticky enough for the outside. I am careful around bullion stitching, but in all of these years, I have never had the tape ruin anything on an armband. On the contrary, the tape removes all sorts of foreign objects from the cloth making it virgin cloth again as it should be. Chris

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by dastardly View Post
                              I use the thin brown packaging tape (not the clear one which is too sticky). and if you pat the inside of the armband first, the tape is used, but still sticky enough for the outside. I am careful around bullion stitching, but in all of these years, I have never had the tape ruin anything on an armband. On the contrary, the tape removes all sorts of foreign objects from the cloth making it virgin cloth again as it should be. Chris

                              I did try regular Scotch tape and that seemed to work ok. But I might try that one as well. Thanks Chris!


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