Last week I drove the 391 miles to What Cheer, Iowa in search of neat Army things. The drive takes almost six hours and the view is fantastic, if you like miles and miles of corn fields. I love going to outdoor Flea and Antique Markets as they have offer unique items at realistic prices. If you plan on joining in the fun there are some logistics issues that you need to consider. It is best to arrive early to get the best selection. This often involves going the day before and spending over night in close proximity to the market and having a hearty breakfast that will sustain your efforts. As most markets are held in the summer, sun, heat, and dehydration are issues. It is best to wear wide brimmed hats, long pants, long sleeve shirts, and carry a water bottle.
Unfortunately, this time there was plenty of sun, cars, and people but very few good deals. Several dealers had some nice items but their prices were totally unrealistic. I saw many $50 US WWI & WWII identification tags, a $150 piece of WWI Trench Art, and a $95 M1 Helmet Steel pot. When you visit with them about how they priced these items they tell you that this is what they go for on Ebay. If you take the time to visit with them further, you will discover that they are not actively selling on E-bay but either know someone that is or saw the item listed for that. As most know, Ebay is a very competitive marketplace where overpriced items go unsold for months or even years. It depends on whether the seller wants to continue paying his money to run uncompetitive listings. Ebay makes money from every listing. Sellers need to also understand that they are selling at an outdoor open-air market not some tony, upscale Saks Fifth Avenue location.
I did get a few nice items, some are pictured above. Unfortunately, most came from another long-time militaria dealer that has set up at this show for the last 37 years.