Need help to disperse a WW2 RAF veterans collection of modern militaria.

#1
Folks,

Looking for a bit of a steer here. I am helping someone locally in London work out how to dispose of the collection of an old WW2 veteran who served in the RAF, and who is now in a care home with very challenging health issues.Welfare wise there are no issues, that is all sorted and under control.

The challenge is that the gentleman in question has moved out of existing sheltered accommodation that he'd lived in for many years, and had acquired a collection of what can best be described as 'militaria' linked to the RAF. There is a flat full of the stuff, and the guy who is trying to clear the flat in a short time has no idea what to do with it, but would like it to go to someone who may get pleasure or value from it.

Does anyone have any advice on whether there are auctioneers or house clearance people out there who may be interested in a flat full of collectibles linked to WW2 and beyond - the guy clearing it is a nice guy, but really needs advice on who may be interested in it, or whether it should just go to the dump. Bluntly it is overwhelmingly modern collectibles such as Royal Doulton plates of RAF aircraft, RN stuff and other pictures, and an enormous collection of books and DVDs. There is nothing major of any historical interest or significance or value, but there could be some books or plates that could be of value to someone who collects this sort of thing.

If anyone has any ideas of where to turn please let me know so that I can help this chap out - any advice much appreciated. So far the only idea I've had is offer the enormous (hundreds) of war DVDs up to the local TA centre so that they could sell them on for charity, but thats about it.

Cheers!
 
#2
Folks,

Looking for a bit of a steer here. I am helping someone locally in London work out how to dispose of the collection of an old WW2 veteran who served in the RAF, and who is now in a care home with very challenging health issues.Welfare wise there are no issues, that is all sorted and under control.

The challenge is that the gentleman in question has moved out of existing sheltered accommodation that he'd lived in for many years, and had acquired a collection of what can best be described as 'militaria' linked to the RAF. There is a flat full of the stuff, and the guy who is trying to clear the flat in a short time has no idea what to do with it, but would like it to go to someone who may get pleasure or value from it.

Does anyone have any advice on whether there are auctioneers or house clearance people out there who may be interested in a flat full of collectibles linked to WW2 and beyond - the guy clearing it is a nice guy, but really needs advice on who may be interested in it, or whether it should just go to the dump. Bluntly it is overwhelmingly modern collectibles such as Royal Doulton plates of RAF aircraft, RN stuff and other pictures, and an enormous collection of books and DVDs. There is nothing major of any historical interest or significance or value, but there could be some books or plates that could be of value to someone who collects this sort of thing.

If anyone has any ideas of where to turn please let me know so that I can help this chap out - any advice much appreciated. So far the only idea I've had is offer the enormous (hundreds) of war DVDs up to the local TA centre so that they could sell them on for charity, but thats about it.

Cheers!
There has to be a place here for some sort of Facebook push - there are a number of post war military and militaria pages. Trouble is that someone would have to act as shopkeeper.

Try putting the post on something like the HMVF forum to see if anyone has any ideas. If you have trouble let me know and I will put a post on for you.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#4
Local ATC unit?
 
#6
I would say that photo's are always valuable, especially with the prices that some museums an archives charge. One museum asked me for £700+ for copies of 11 photographs for a book once.
 
#7
Jim,

The thing about these 'collections' is that the bulk of the items will have limited appeal (or worth) to only a few niche collectors. Unfortunately, someone with knowledge is going to have to review all of it as, notwithstanding the above comment, hidden amongst the bits and pieces, there is probably at least one item of historical interest or value.

If his collection includes WWII ephemera, then there is usually something of intrinsic value: named aircrew/aircraft photos, identifiable winners of a decoration (DFC/AFC, DSO, etc) that the current custodian of the decorations would pay for so as to marry up medals with the man. WWII logbooks always carry a premium.

As to the books? A Google of the titles and authors should show if the book has any merit and, more importantly if such is the case, if the book is now out of print.

It will take someone with a bit of knowledge and interest and the will to wade through it all.
 
#9
If there's nothing in the collection that particularly catches your eye Jim, then it's probably going to be the same for most collectors. Ebay might well be the best option in this case.
 
#10
It probably needs photos and an inventory of what he has. Much of the Doulton stuff is... slightly twee is probably the best phrase for it, and it's the sort of material which is often found (unsold...) on eBay. Or in a charity shop.

The question is whether there's an aspiration to recoup some cash from the collection, or whether it's simply a case of getting rid of it.

If the latter, then the options (editing out a less-specific hint towards Pete's suggestions of nearer firms) are:

1. Is there a local branch of the ATC? They may be indifferent, or they may be delighted to be the custodians of a WW2 veteran's books and DVDs.

2. See if there's a specialist Oxfam (or similar) bookshop nearby. They will frequently find enthusiasts/spotters delighted to take a book or ten off their hands.

3. At longer range, see if a bookshop like Blackwells (Oxford) or the one in the town square in Wantage (Oxon) are interested in the collection. If the books are in decent nick and contain popular histories which will sell (for instance, Harris's memoir, his biography, RAF Historical Society stuff, Brickhill's books on the Dambusters and Bader, Chaz Bowyer/Bill Gunston-authored stuff, etc, etc), then they tend to be interested. Blackwells, for example, had a large collection of books - a few Official Histories and rarer stuff, but mainly items which could also be readily obtained for between £5-10 on Amazon or eBay - from a veteran a few years ago. It took them about 18 months to shift most of it, but shift it they did. They may turn the offer down, since they're more used to buying the stuff at as small a sum they can get away with and then selling it on.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Perhaps some RAF station might like the RAF books for the mess library or the station library? Offered as a freebie but bit they collect? Ditto maybe the videos if they are DVD rather than VHS.
 
#12
Thanks all - sadly the collection is, in diplomatic speak, of limited wider interest (e.g. the books are very much mainstream and of niche interest.

I think I will recommend to the guy who is clearing the flat that he gets a house clearance firm in, as this seems the way forward. There are no historical items of interest, its much more modern paraphernalia and the person doing it is a bit overwhelmed and doesnt have the time to catalogue or box it up. I think he's looking for it to be sorted fairly quickly, so I'll recommend he proceeds on those lines.

A very sad story, but one we all must contemplate at some point in our lives.
 
#13
Thanks all - sadly the collection is, in diplomatic speak, of limited wider interest (e.g. the books are very much mainstream and of niche interest.

I think I will recommend to the guy who is clearing the flat that he gets a house clearance firm in, as this seems the way forward. There are no historical items of interest, its much more modern paraphernalia and the person doing it is a bit overwhelmed and doesnt have the time to catalogue or box it up. I think he's looking for it to be sorted fairly quickly, so I'll recommend he proceeds on those lines.

A very sad story, but one we all must contemplate at some point in our lives.
Where's the nearest RAF base, Jim? Reason I ask is that whilst thee or me may not view objects as 'interesting', it may be that the base historian of RAF-Little-Snoring-On-The-Wold might well do.
 
#14
Pardon the risk of stating what may be to some the obvious which perhaps why nobody has mentioned yet.
What about one of the Imperial War Museums? There are 5 sites covering the country..I think.
My issue with going online with this, in any shape or form, is the risk of attracting the ambulance chasing mentallists who will claim "for a good cause" and then profit from it all.
Good thing about museums is they at least will let the public decide what is of interest. There is likely something for everybody in his collection. Everyone likes nostalgia pertinent to their own tastes & experiences.
I gave away my Dad's photographic "tat" about 20 years back to the Glasgow Art Galleries. It comprised of a Aldis slide projector a few old cameras and his doctor's Gladstone bag full of period equipment. Some of these have been displayed from time to time. Better than the local skip in my case.
Just my thoughts anyway.
 
#15
Where's the nearest RAF base, Jim? Reason I ask is that whilst thee or me may not view objects as 'interesting', it may be that the base historian of RAF-Little-Snoring-On-The-Wold might well do.
Kinda what I'm thinking too tbh. Along similar lines at least.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
If no where else, try your local charity shop. They'll often take books, collections of DVD's and so on. They might only go a a pound a pop, but its income for the charity.

Wordsmith
 
#17
Thanks all - to be clear, there is zero historical material to donate. All of it is stuff purchased over the last 10-20 years from catalogues and other sources. There is absolutely nothing left from WW2 that is not a personal effect.

Also, its an entire flat not just a room, the guy trying to clear it has his work cut out to do this - hence his asking me for advice on where he could turn!
 
#18
I hate to say it but its most likely junk shop fodder or the bin . Any book from the last 30 years can be found for a few quid anywhere . The plates might make £5 each but that would be when the right person sees it .

House clearance would be best as they can dispose of this stuff through there contacts via auctions etc.
 
#19
My Mum died 12 months ago.She had a vast collection of painting and art books and boxes and boxes of art materials.She had been a very talented painter and was shown at the Royal Academy in the 50's.
I too thought for a long time about all of her stuff.Tried to give it away - no one wanted it.
In the end I got a skip and dumped the lot.Big decision for me, but I saw no real choice.It would have taken days to box/catalogue all of it.
In the end it was quite cathartic.
 
#20
think someone already said it, but local army/air/sea/civvy scouts group - it's a good deed, team effort & planning, they have storage space & numbers to catalogue, box/list fleaabay etc.-
at least get 'em round to pack the stuff up & clean
 

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