Welcome to the new Militaria Marketplace. A lot has changed since the original site was developed about 15 years ago. For one, we are all 15 years older . We have seen collectors come and go ( literally) and even in militaria, collecting interests are subject to fashion shifts.
The way we collect has changed. Prior to the turn of this century, we tended to get items for the collection either from specialized shops or what can only be described as mail order catalogues. Deals took longer, but you got to know the dealers. The prices were there for all to see and maybe you could negotiate ( but probably not) . Then, as now , the good stuff was hard to find. Nowadays it seems that everyone gets their collecting fix from the net by way of online auctions. The internet has seen to it that dealers can sell to the world via the likes of ebay, bid or buy etc. Not only that , the price arrived at is the biggest price, quoted in any currency and the person who paid the biggest price is remarkably called the “winner’ of the object on auction. You will never really get to know the vendor, as there are now many of them spread all over the world. As a result, there is little assurance that what you eventually get , is what you thought that you were paying for. Your only slight comfort is the thought that you can affect the sellers rating by lodging a complaint with the auction platform.
Online auctions serve a large and remote audience. Now everybody is a vendor and one doesn’t need any product knowledge at all. The result is that the online auction platforms display massive stock lists – mostly junk with very futuristic reserves. Sites such as Bid or Buy don’t penalize vendors who relist into infinity, so you have to spend a long time picking through the clutter to get to that gem that you want.
I have long realized that the original Militaria Marketplace website had ‘passed its sell-by date “. There were no pictures and the product lists were long and relied on the buyer having the necessary reference books to see what was being advertised. Working by myself, there was no way that I could keep the site up to date and the site drifted further and further away from what was actually available.
With the new site , that has changed. The lists will be much smaller, but hopefully more interesting. All the items will be photographed, so that you can see what you are buying. Items will be better described . Prices, as before, are as stated and in SA Rand . Postage to be discussed, but local courier services are now offering pretty cost competitive prices and despite the SA Post Office’s patchy reputation, the overseas mail seems to get through.
The new site will evolve with time and experience and I hope that you find something on it to help build your collection.
Good luck and happy hunting