What's good to buy now for the future?

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    Ben,C
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    What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Ben,C on Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:57 am

    so we all have our area of interest, for me its gear but I know people collect everything from old Iraqi news papers and posters to vehicle parts and AAFES pogs as well as random items like sand and rocks. I am not so much interested in my area of collecting for this discussion as I don't really collect gear as an investment but I come across other items all the time and typically I will sell or trade that stuff as soon as I find it to fund my collecting. I have been thinking though that maybe I should be putting some stuff away for the future. either to sell or use as trade at some point 10 or 20 years down the road. most of the stuff I have hoarded away for that reason are items I have picked up cheap that I find interesting but don't actively collect like theater made patches, DCU tops (modified, fully patched or odd as a rule) dog tags, paper items, unit items like T-shirts and hats, challenge coins and captured Iraqi and afghan militaria as well as items I got in bulk (I will typically set aside couple of them and sell all the rest).

    anyway what would you put away now for the future and why? what items do you think will go up in value as the years go by and what do you think will stay about the same or decrees in value? please remember this is from a resale / trade bait perspective, not necessarily what we collect or find interesting our selves.
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    Longbranch
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Longbranch on Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:50 am

    First of all, I'd recommend just keeping around what you enjoy collecting and what interests you the most. Seriously, by the time anything is monetarily worth a substantial amount more, several decades will have likely passed. That's a LOT of time to store, protect, conserve, move, etc. the entire collection, and it would have been a huge appreciation in value to really make it worth your time from a dollar point-of-view.

    Honestely, I think much of OEF/OIF collecting will parallel much of what we see from Vietnam collecting. I can see the following categories doing well:

    - Named/ID'd (with provenance) Special Forces related gear (Army SF, NSW, MARSOC, etc.)
    - Named/ID'd DCU uniforms with combat badges, theatre-made patches, etc.
    - Theatre made patches/insignia are always cool on their own
    - Interesting bring-back items in decent condition
    - Experimental uniforms like the CCU, CU, ACU-Delta, Green/Blue USAF Tigerstripes, etc.
    - Completely original & complete helmets, especially with patched covers, painted exteriors, interesting NVG mounts, etc.
    - Early LBT/Blackhawk/Eagle/etc. gear (already fairly collectible)

    Again, this list looks a LOT like what is desirable when collecting items related to US involvement in Vietnam. Those collectors also appreciate the "been there" stuff, especially patched jungle jackets, complete helmets, Special Forces stuff, and on and on...

    The hard part is going to be PROVING some of this stuff is legit, so it's important to keep records about purchases whenever possible.

    I even think that at some point the FR-ACUs and pre-2015 Multicam uniforms could be collectible, only due to the fact that most will be tossed into the trash or recycled into rags during the next few years. The ACUs and FR-ACUs are pretty much despised, so I'd be surprised to see many of them get saved.
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    Bagman6
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Bagman6 on Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:21 am

    Great question Ben and super response Dan. One thing I would add to the list is patched 2-piece flight suits. The danger like all the modern items is that the unscrupulous will put them together. If you've got solid provenance they might be something to start picking up. My feeling is that they are a lot like SOF uniforms - unique theater made patches, cool factor, etc.


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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Zeked on Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:35 pm

    I think Dan's response is pretty spot on and it seems that is like that from any era. Try finding a cheap paratrooper jump jacket from WWII!

    For me, I hope, uniform components with Arabic name tapes/embroidered names on them hold their value. I do have a couple boxes of uniforms I hope I can sell at a profit at some point but only time will tell. I tend to scoop up any patched 'Ranger mods' I can find (I do have a soft spot for Rangers) and am hoping down the line they will be a good investment.

    Great topic for a discussion, I hope others post as well. Thanks Clete

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    airborne1968
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by airborne1968 on Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:15 pm

    I'm a firm believer in named groupings with provenance but I also believe the groupings tied to a specific unit (ie SOF type) and those with combat relevance (especially those with BCT and Division insignia) will command the higher prices in the future. Also, the special uniforms from OIF/OEF (ie modified desert or green Tigers, US used foreign uniforms, and even coalition SOF camo uniforms with insignia) will bring high prices even without provenance.

    Theater made patches, like those from the Vietnam conflict, with command high prices but the top dollar will go to the hand made types vs the mass produced patches we see coming out of theater over the past 5-6 years. ANA and Iraqi SF insignia worn by our forces will also hold their value and increase the same too.

    I believe Afghan made gear will sky rocket because of the limited numbers and the changes made over the years. For this reason I am hesitant to sell any of it now even though I can get good money for it today.

    I believe the following will significantly decrease in value...

    1. generic issue uniforms of all types, including those with basic insignia
    2. issue field gear (ie LBE and FLC items)
    3. mass produced machine made SSI (simply because they are being made to collect today)
    4. most post-2003 Iraqi Army items
    5. special uniforms (ie. Crye MCU, UCP-D, Navy green digital camo, CCU in woodland and DCU, and AOR2)

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    semper fi
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by semper fi on Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:17 am

    I agree with Dan.
    He resumed the situation.

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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Ben,C on Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:37 am

    well I agree with Dan on most points but the whole several decades part is probably way off on SOF related items. stuff I was selling for $1 - $5 back in the late 90's early 00's has already gone up drastically. I had a dollar bin back then and when I joined the Army in 2005 I packed my surplus stores inventory away. back around 2013 or 14 I found that dollar bin and sold most of the pouches that were in it for $30 - $100. so in about 10 years they went from nobody wanting them for a $1 to being worth $30 - $100 each and lots of people wanting them. granted these were silver and gold label LBT, ABA and eagle pouches from the 1980's to the early 2000's but if you look at almost any SOF stuff from pre to early GWOT its the same. now for common stuff I do agree more time will be needed. it will probably be a long time before any common issue MOLLE II ACU gear or the like is sought after by collectors but the rare, experimental and SOF items have already gone up a lot in since the war started.
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    Longbranch
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Longbranch on Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:18 pm

    airborne1968 wrote:
    5. special uniforms (ie. Crye MCU, UCP-D, Navy green digital camo, CCU in woodland and DCU, and AOR2)

    You think UCP-D and Woodland/Desert CCU jackets will substantially decrease in value? They are pretty limited issue experimental/prototype uniforms that will likely be very hard to find in the future. They HAVE dropped in price over the last 5-10 years, but I think they are about at the bottom of their value curve, so it may be a good time to pick up a few examples if a collector is looking to add them to their collection. One thing to keep in mind is that modern issue military gear has a really bad "gotta have the latest and greatest" vibe for new-issue uniforms. When the UCP-D stuff first came out, there were a lot of people trying to pick it up as it trickled onto the market. I'm not sure if it's collectors, airsofters, or whatever that shoots the value up so high on new issue uniforms, but once they are on the market for a few years prices do drop significantly. I do see basic DCU/BDU jackets not ever being worth much, as well as other basic issue uniforms like NWU Type 1/3, ACUs, MCCUUs, etc. The ONLY reason that I mentioned the FR-ACUs and pre-2015 Multicam ACUs ever being in demand is because they were primarily issued to troops deploying overseas for OEF/OIF.

    Most of my points were assuming that 20-40 years from now, there will be more people collecting OEF/OIF era militaria, which will again increase the demand for the limited production (but currently very affordable) uniforms like the CCU and UCP-D stuff. Besides, they're just cool anyway!

    Ben, I did state that early LBT/Eagle/etc. is already fairly collectible, and as a consequence, fairly expensive. Also, you somewhat proved my point, as you had to wait over a decade to get that massive increase in value out of your pouches. Had your $1 box been full of generic military-issue pouches, you wouldn't have enjoyed nearly the same return. Also, anybody currently getting into collecting this type of gear better have pretty deep pockets, as it goes for CRAZY prices sometimes. I've seen some vests and plate carriers go for $1,000+. To be honest, due to the currently very high prices I see some of this stuff actually losing some value over the next 10 years, as it loses some of the "cool factor" as newer stuff becomes available and hits the market. Lastly, the worldwide market REALLY helps the older LBT/Eagle/etc. gear, as most people have no interest in a $100 pouch. I could set up with a bunch of desirable LBT gear at any local gunshow with some good prices on everything, and likely sell NOTHING.

    It's interesting to see how some "modern" stuff (remember, some of it is getting to be 20 years old now), like the IBH helmet or an early LBT vest, can sell for more than pretty much all WW1 helmets (including painted/camo versions) and most WW2 M1s. Or how an early field-used LBT vest can go for close to the value of a used, original WW2 assault vest. OEF/OIF collecting is definitely a unique subset of militaria collecting with some very unique market trends. LOL.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by nkomo on Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:56 pm

    I couldn't agree more with what the others have posted so far. Very good conversation and also very enlightening.

    I will echo Dan's assessment about OEF/OIF militaria following the same path as Vietnam militaria.  I have said this many times to collectors on this forum and in face to face conversations.  Get what you like and want NOW.  The prices on good OEF/OIF militaria is going to go up as the years progress, ESPECIALLY with SOF items.

    As I'm sure you know, there are quite a few Vietnam SF collectors who are also getting into modern USSF items.  Main reasons is that the prices aren't as high and the likelihood of getting a reproduction is less than with Vietnam SF items.


    Last edited by nkomo on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by RedLegGI on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:03 pm

    I believe that most of the theater nick-nack stuff will be fairly good investments. Flags, bookbags, boonies, and pretty much anything with arabic embroidered on it.

    I think one uniform that won't see much increase is the standard DCU. The reason for this is that I feel like way too many are being saved. That may sound weird, but its just a feeling. This excludes the more rare varieties of patching and what not.

    Anything with solid provenance will demand a premium because its not going to be based on assumptions of use. Helmets will probably come down a bit yet, but should go up over time. I also see increases for Iraqi and Afghni uniforms that are bring backs going up as well.

    I was kind of surprised by seeing FRACU's on the 'up' list. I never really thought about that they were intended for deploying units. I guess my large duffle bag full may hold value yet lol.


    ACUs will be a mine field and there is no escaping that except through provenance. Velcro is the devil lol.
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    airborne1968
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by airborne1968 on Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:56 pm

    FRACUs have already hit the $1 or less mark per item and were issued 4 to every person during every deployment with resupply issue in country. They are flooding the market as MCU takes over. I currently sell them to laborers who tear them up working construction. Though considered a "deployment" issue uniform I have a hard time believing they will ever gain any value.

    As for UCP-D and CCUs, their limited use will become their Achilles Heal. They don't fall into the Special Ops world as their primary use was in the NE corner of RC-E (limited to a few BCTs) and the Stryker BCTs respectively. These units did not conduct major events (ie like the WWII D-day seaborne landing or airborne jump) so there is no popular significant event to warrant the "want". The significant drop in price in recent years show their lack of staying power. Perhaps time will tell but you're looking at some 15 to 20 years before you see the baby boom offspring of the current vets having the expendable income to pursue this hobby with any real passion.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by RedLegGI on Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:28 pm

    [quote="airborne1968"
    As for UCP-D and CCUs, their limited use will become their Achilles Heal. They don't fall into the Special Ops world as their primary use was in the NE corner of RC-E (limited to a few BCTs) and the Stryker BCTs respectively.  These units did not conduct major events (ie like the WWII D-day seaborne landing or airborne jump) so there is no popular significant event to warrant the "want". The significant drop in price in recent years show their lack of staying power. Perhaps time will tell but you're looking at some 15 to 20 years before you see the baby boom offspring of the current vets having the expendable income to pursue this hobby with any real passion. [/quote]

    It's a needle in a haystack but CCU's were issued to SF units. My old battery commander was the FSO for a SF unit before coming to us. I've chatted him up a few times since I've gotten out and uniforms came up because I told him I collected them. He said he has duffles full of uniforms, including the CCU after I described the difference between CCU and the ACU. He goes "That one had snaps on the sleeves right?" lol. Who knows how many were issued, how many were snaked or if it was just luck of the draw on that.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Longbranch on Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:56 am

    airborne1968 wrote:FRACUs have already hit the $1 or less mark per item and were issued 4 to every person during every deployment with resupply issue in country.  They are flooding the market as MCU takes over.  I currently sell them to laborers who tear them up working construction.

    This exact type of activity is the only reason why the FRACUs would ever be collectible, as I mentioned earlier. They WILL become next to worthless, and will be used up and discarded as time goes on. Sometimes, it's the stuff that people DON'T think will ever be valuable that ends up with a surprising growth in value (or, sometimes they are exactly right). I wouldn't recommend anyone stash away big piles these things, but I sure wouldn't be surprised to see them being hard to find in 30+ years. I have a few sets that I use for padding in my storage boxes. LOL.

    Just check out what decent Vietnam War era jungle jacket brings in larger sizes... especially early versions like the 1st Pattern with exposed buttons. I'm talking about completely bare jackets with no patches or SOF relation. However, like you said, there were a lot of FRACUs made, so this attrition process could still leave a bunch of them sitting around with no demand for them.

    As for UCP-D and CCUs, their limited use will become their Achilles Heal. They don't fall into the Special Ops world as their primary use was in the NE corner of RC-E (limited to a few BCTs) and the Stryker BCTs respectively.  These units did not conduct major events (ie like the WWII D-day seaborne landing or airborne jump) so there is no popular significant event to warrant the "want". The significant drop in price in recent years show their lack of staying power. Perhaps time will tell but you're looking at some 15 to 20 years before you see the baby boom offspring of the current vets having the expendable income to pursue this hobby with any real passion.

    Personally, I think something like a field-used CCU, with all the insignia and something like a theatre-made CIB on it, would be a great think to hold onto. If they never increase in value, that's fine by me, because I think they are super cool and I'd love to build up a nice collection of them at some point in the future. I think it'd be a shame if they are unwanted simply because they aren't specifically SF related. They are a battle-used item with a distinct place in the evolution of the modern US Army combat uniform. Obviously, bare/stripped CCUs won't have nearly as much appeal (just like DCUs), but the fully patched/badged ones, especially with provenance/history, could do well. Who knows, maybe one day they'll make a dramatic movie about a Stryker brigade that used them that'll start a buying frenzy. LOL.

    Just to be clear, I was thinking of a 20-30+ year gestation period for my responses, but maybe I was looking too far ahead ;-) There's so much that could affect the market in that much time that we're all basically in SWAG territory here... (Scientific Wild A$$ Guess)

    However, you bring up a good point about items related to "significant events". Exactly which "significant events" do you have in mind for OEF/OIF?

    I don't much care about the future value of my own collection. I buy what I think is interesting, and preserve it for the future. There's basically ZERO special forces related material in my area, and I sure can't afford the going rate for that stuff when it sells online. If after 30 years my collection is not worth much more than what I paid for it, I'm OK with that. I'll still have jackets that were actually used in Afghanistan/Iraq, and all of them will still be unique pieces of history.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Bagman6 on Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:59 am

    Dan - Great point regarding the "Hollywood" factor impacting the value/desirability of kit in the future. Movies like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers as we all know drove up prices on WWII items. So far most of the more popular movies regarding OEF/OIF are SOF - Zero Dark Thirty, Lone Survivor, and even 13 Hours, etc.


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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by airborne1968 on Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:08 am

    "Exactly which "significant events" do you have in mind for OEF/OIF?"

    When look back at all of the OEF/OIF campaigns it is hard to identify the "significant events" that will be remembered decades from now. Those that come to mind at the initial invasions, the Ranger and 173rd Jumps into their respective countries, and perhaps a few of the COP/FOB attacks in RC-E or RC S but when you look at the coverage of these conflicts the media doesn't highlight any of it like they did in WWII. There are no front line to push forward and gage significant progress by the distance moved and the number of personnel involved, or the number of casualties. I believe that is because the media, PAO, and anyone else in the govt gathering and writing the history of the GWOT failed to identify key markers in the campaigns and thy do not know how to identify those markers. Even the DOD people delineating campaign periods failed to do so in a timely manner. Just look at the AFG campaign marking for the second campaign star to the ACM it literally covers 5 years of time. Until more people read stories and books about specific battle and campaigns and movies are made to tell those stories there will be FEW significant events to all these conflicts. I think the COP attacks in Nuristan and Kunar will become one of those areas, as will some of the larger Marine engagements in RC South (ie perimeter breach of Camp Bastion). Look at the 100 hours of Desert Storm, that action could have been covered with the enthusiasm of the Normandy D-Day invasion but instead it is looked at piecemeal with little to no detail being reported for units that made contact with determined Iraqi defenders. Key markers for WWII became house hold names when they occurred but those for Vietnam did not and some significant battles of the Vietnam conflict have yet to be recognized (ie Kham Duc and the NVA campaign against bases along HWY 14). So, only time will tell but as long as people continue to obtain their depth of history in movies only many significant events will go unnoticed.

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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Ben,C on Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:59 pm

    when it comes to SOF stuff it will be years before we know even half of it. I have heard some pretty interesting stories about stuff they did and places they were and when I tried to look up info on what they told me about I couldn't even find a word about it online. for that matter think about all the reference photos that wont be available for decades to come.

    just a thought
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by RedLegGI on Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:22 pm

    One huge benefit we have now is that we can buy stuff super cheap. Years from now when someone wants a SF helmet, they're going to pay out the ass for one. We can find them at surplus shops, ebay or craigslist fairly easily and for cheap. I think this applies to most areas now, but will obviously change as time goes on. One area that is drying up a bit are DCU's.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Mercenary25 on Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:06 am

    The value is depending on airsoft trend whether we like it or not. Back in 2008-09, SPEAR vests were $500ish because airsofters wanted to do SF impressions. Now they are dropped to about $200-300 as airsofters moved onto more recent stuff. Right now it is AOR gear for instance.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by airborne1968 on Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:16 am

    Mercenary25 wrote:The value is depending on airsoft trend whether we like it or not. Back in 2008-09, SPEAR vests were $500ish because airsofters wanted to do SF impressions. Now they are dropped to about $200-300 as airsofters moved onto more recent stuff. Right now it is AOR gear for instance.

    Airsoft and reenacting have made an impact on the collecting value of artifacts. For WWII items, reenactors now source nearly 100% of their impression with reproduction items. This has caused a drop in prices for basic kit (I user grade or entry level collectors). As Merc states above, demand by a large gamer population will drive the market demand for hot items. I'm pretty sure we will not see repro OIF/OEF items unless a sizable airsoft/reenacting movement occur for the OIF/OEF era so people will seek out original items but those stocks are not as large as those from WWII or even the Vietnam conflict.

    I was also thinking about an earlier comment concerning future collectors. I do not see the collector base growing as it is mainly based on the generation preceding them. For instance, there was a huge boom in WWII collecting because they were the kids (or family relation) of the vets and there were some 10 million in service back then. Vietnam was the next big group but that also includes the Cold War members as well. But now you have a much smaller all volunteer force and the children, or family relations, of those vets will make up the majority of the collectors. Only time will tell but from what I have seen since 1996 to present is a significant decline in collector activity at shows but that may be due to the internet. On the plus side, the military does not release camo uniforms or armor thru govt liq or DRMO any more so that will help pricing in the future. A world market of buyers, involved in the conflicts via the Coalition, will also help future pricing.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by RedLegGI on Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:33 am

    Another thing to keep in mind is that only 2.2 million troops have deployed to OEF/OIF while 2.7 million deployed to Vietnam.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by nkomo on Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:26 am

    Merc, Airborne, and Red all bring up good points about the airsofters/reenactors driving the market prices.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by Ewart on Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:05 am

    This is a great topic.

    It's something myself and Olly_USAFSOC have discussed a few times.

    I collect, BDU/DCU and theatre made insignia. I have lots of insignia relating to the Police missions to Iraq and Afghanistan. To me I will pay what I am willing to pay for the items, the future cost of them is almost irrelevant to me. I doubt I will ever sell them. My kids (if I have them) may well do.

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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by ellis1355 on Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:47 pm

    brand new FR-ACU sets will be valuable.
    not today, but some day will do. even though sold for 10$ per uniform for now.
    Think about Brand new Jungle fatigue uniforms...
    Both Jungle fatigue and FR-ACU are short lived uniform and only issued in theater.
    but if i have enough money for that, i'll bet to patched DCU and saddam era iraqi stuffs.
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    Re: What's good to buy now for the future?

    Post by taucco on Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:30 am

    I talked with one of the most knowledgeable collectors of modern militaria in italy (if not the most in all europe), he collects strictly issued items (expecially regarding field gear), trying to assemble complete kits, in the best condition possible, 1 example of every contract-year whenever possible. Experimental items of course are included but not as a primary focus, as well as some solid provenance patched BDU-DCUs (only distinctive modified ones, let's say ranger/173rd ab).

    While i may collect different items, i highly respect his opinion and think it may be the best solution for the future (i think ww2 valuable items follow that trend).

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