In my never-ending search for military items, I take many different approaches. First, I have a store and advertise locally, then I have my website reaching out for hundreds of miles to find collections, I attend Trade Shows, Outdoor Antique Markets, Tag Sales and Auctions. This time I would like to talk about a recent auction that I attended at Reeds Springs, MO. Someone once said that auctions are like elections, and you never know how they are going to turn out. There are many variables that contribute to the uncertainty of auctions. First there is the weather, second there is competition with other events, like Sports Games, Homecomings, Festivals and finally there is the pressures of work, family and everyday life in our modern world.  Other variables include how much access was given to the auction company to work the items offered and work up a sale order. Finally, was there enough time to properly advertise the sale. As one can see there are many moving parts to an auction.

Auction Tips

The first great challenge is there enough items being offered to make it worth the time and expense to attend? This decision is made from the sales order, photos on the auction website and auctionzip as well as friends and enthusiasts who also look for military things. The volume of items offered made this decision an easy one for me. Unfortunately, the photos were not good enough to determine the quality and originality of these items. The auction was one and a half hours away and I needed to be there before the auction starts to look at the items. I made the assumption that this was going to be held indoors and was suprised when I arrived to find out it was being held in a parking lot. I did not come prepared for spending a day in the Missouri sun and paid the price with a painful sunburn. But it was well worth the pain.

First up were well over 100 firearms many of them were military.

Table of Antique Pistols  Table of Antique Pistols  Table of Antique Pistols

I bid on all of these items and was able to buy several items. Next were the rifles.

      Table of Antique Rifles

What a selection! There were 2 German WWII 98Ks, 4 Japanese Arisakas, 2 US M-1 Garands, 2 Remington made Model 1917s and many others. I also saw what I believed to be an original Confederate made .69 caliber musket that was built in Richmond, Virginia.
After the first hour I had spent thousands of $s and had my adrenaline pumping. It then took the auctioneer the next six hours to sell the large assortment of ammunition. Before the three tables that had the helmets, field gear, flags, bayonets were offered they had to sell the trucks, tractors, saws, axes, hatchets, trophy mounts and other flotsam and jetsam of a one man’s long and successful life.

helmets and field gear

These were the helmets and field gear.

swords and bayonets

These were the swords and bayonets. The auction for these items started at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was able to buy many nice items, but it was almost 6:00 when I was able to get back on the road. I spent over 12 hours on this trip.

As one can see this was a great auction with a good variety of original military items. I would like to share some of my auction rules that I try my best to follow. First if you are going to an auction be prepared to spend the day. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to guess when the items that you are interested in will go up for bid. The bidding on the guns was over by a few minutes after 10:00 it then took over six hours before the Auctioneer got around to the three tables of military items. Inspect the items you are interested in before that Auction starts. This normally means arriving one hour before the auction is scheduled to begin. Make a list of the items you want to bid on and the price you are willing to pay for each item. Try not to get emotional and pay more than you want for an item. This is the most difficult thing to do as you sometimes you have so much time and money invested that you must go home with something.