In the last blog I promised I would report on the MAX Show. The show is held in York, Pa which is 1,090 miles and 16 hours away by car. I left on Tuesday the 13th and stopped to shop at the Alamo Military Antiques Store in St. Louis, MO where I purchased this super nice Waffen SS Red Fez. For those of you that do not know the history of this piece. The Waffen SS created the 13th Waffen Grenadier Division “Handschar” from Bosnian Muslims to conduct Partisan operations against Marshal Tito’s partisans in Croatia. There were many discipline problems with the unit. The Officers and NCOs were mainly German and did not speak the same language as the men. In an attempt to solve the problems, the unit was moved to southern France for training. The move created additional problems and the unit mutinied and killed their German leadership. The Germans disbanded the unit. One of the few legacies of this unsuccessful experiment are the Red and Grey Fezzes with Waffen SS insignia that were brought back in quantity to the US by returning GIs. No one is exactly sure where these were found, they are rumors that they were stored at the Dachau Concentration Camp outside Munich, Germany. The camp was liberated by the 45th Infantry Division and the W-SS insignia stocks were given out to GIs as souvenirs and the fez was used as a container.
MAX Military Show
The Max Show was held at the York Expo Center Arena, 334 Carlisle Avenue. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and picked up our show packet. Set-up started at 0800 Thursday and by 0900 on Thursday we were ready for customers. This is a very competitive environment and the first couple of hours are hectic as everyone scrambles for the many bargains that can be found. To those of you that follow my blog know that Military Collecting is an International Hobby. This show was no exception there were buyers and sellers from the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and the Russian Federation. The show had 870 tables of quality military items. I would estimate that about half of the tables had US military items and the rest were a mix of international items. While I was busy looking for WWII German Daggers for a customer a friend was able to purchase several German Uniforms that I unfortunately did not see.
WW2 German uniforms: WW2 German Field Cap
My big purchase was a WWII German Navy Tropical Field Cap. These caps are very similar in cut to those worn by the Waffen SS. In the early 1990’s unscrupulous individuals converted many Navy caps into Waffen SS ones by simply replacing the insignia. Now original, un-messed with examples are difficult to find.