Hello Collector Friends,
After a week on the Kassel Military Show autumn (name in German is `Waffenbörse Kassel / WBK`) I have a lot to tell you. For those guys who missed it: You really missed something!
For those guys who have been there: Yeah….you were at the right time at the right place. Mr. Wolf Rüdiger Krey from the Company Expo Management Kiel who manages the whole Kassel Show gave me some numbers about Dealers and Visitors, so you get an idea how big it was.
About 282 Dealers on the show and 18245 Visitors !!
For me a really good event where I met old friends and found new friends. But let’s start at the beginning. This year was my first year on the other side of the table! That means, I was there with the team of Trave Militaria and responsible for buying and selling military, public relations, networking, meetings, English speaking customers, building new connections and finally present the company in all areas. That’s the way you get in the fair hall early during that time where all dealers unpack their stuff and design their sales booth. We arrived on Wednesday at 11.00 O´clock and started unloading our transport car. It took us about two hours until our sales “corner” was build up the way we liked it. During that time you saw dealers with “dealer cards” around their neck and collectors with “dealer cards” around their neck!!!! Almost everyone was hunting for nice badges or high end estates for good prices. So that way some things were sold on Wednesday before the fair even started (start for all others is Thursday).
I had not that much time to go around and look for good stuff and old friends, but most people knew where I was and stopped by for a little military chat and we had interesting conversations.
Later that day I met Mr. Christian von Eicke from the company Militaria-Berlin and Mr. Frank Scholz from Militaria-Scholz. Sadly they had no sales booth on that fair but enough time for an exchange of the latest news, information about the hottest badges and best deals of the day. Really good guys and they know “who is who in the Zoo!”
Finally I met old collector comrades like Thomas K., Gerd S., Marco S., Frank H. face to face which was almost time. Sure we write via Email more than once, but that way on the show in Kassel is much better.
Also I met some guys from around Europe and Russia….First time eye to eye after we made good deals the last years. There where Hubert from Poland, Ivan from Russia and Stefano from Italy. Felt good to finally shake hands, always a good fundament for further business. After a long day we hit the Hotel Bar for a few Beer as a little reward.
On Thursday I went over the fair to see some of the German Dealers and Owners of some Auction Houses. I talked to them about the development in the collector area and why the prices went up (or down).
I met Mr. Andreas Thies for the company Auktionshaus Andreas Thies EK, who had a really nice sales booth build up with high class medals and badges and also a Generals tunic on display. Mr. Thies is a real old school gentleman who knows the game and it was a short but very interesting conversation.
Later on I went to Hermann Historica and met Mr. Sascha Zimmerman. Very friendly person who is also responsible for customers who sell and buy high class military objects from all over the world. Nice talking there and a professional for sure in his field. Here I found also high end weapons and military of different decades from all over the world.
That was enough for the first day when the fair was open for anybody. Lot of collectors in the hall, but also some pick pockets who stole about 50 wallets and two money boxes from dealers. That’s really bad and I hope the loss was not that high for the people who lost their wallet.
On Friday there were less people there and I had the chance to walk around again and see what the other dealers do. I talk to Andy, a military dealer from Austrian and his friend Mel who was from Belgium.
Running around I saw good things and bad things on the tables. Some estates extremely overpriced and also repaired or damaged badges in bad condition. I found copies which were offered as originals and really bad reproductions. Fantasy items and reenactor stuff……Lots of guns and rifles from all epochs and ammunition…so much you can start world war III.
Later on I went to see Mr. Carsten Baldes from Militaria Archiv Carsten Baldes e.K. With the principle less is more he had not so much but very nice badges and medals on Display. He told me that most of his new Military Items are sold fast and that way there is not so much left for a big sales booth in Kassel. All medals and badges as always with a good sense of price finding. A real polite and pleasant dealer with a good reputation. Always a good place to buy from and to talk to.
An hour later I stopped at the booth from Ratisbon to take a picture and check the “hardware”. Nice stuff which are in the online auctions and only for Kassel on display. They were really busy with customers and I decided to try it again later. Finally I had some things for the next ratisbon auction and then I had the opportunity to talk to Andreas and Michael. Nice guys, very friendly and they offered good conditions for the military items I brought. So looks to me like a professional Team with a good reputation and an inherent part of our military collector’s world.
We had our sales area from Trave-Militaria close to the company of Helmut Weitze, and I had the chance to talk to most of his employees who worked in special fields of Mr. Weitzes Company. I think I met Mr. Weitze about three times and we had good talks about military items and also about my active navy time and Mr. Weitzes navy time on destroyer’s years ago. Real hanseatic salesman and gentleman with a professional team and the biggest sales area in the fair hall of Kassel.
Well, know you want to know what I bought in Kassel…….not that much. Only an infantry assault badge, cut out, hollow in good condition and for my cuff title collection a Panzer Afrikakorps cuff title which is always hard to get.
Under the stroke we had 4 hard days of work, but when you love what you do it is not work….it is fun. After the fair hall closes on 18:00 we went to our Hotel close by and relaxed by good dinner and some long drinks….not too much long drinks because the next day is also a long day. And again collectors will need some advice and maybe a good hint not to buy this or better buy that.
Thanks to Mr. Dennis Suitner as the Head from Trave Military for such a good time in Kassel and hopefully we will meet you all there in 2018.