Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I can hear you already: "How do you know?"
Well, I guess we don't know for sure but the case is accompanied by a notarized statement, from a New Orleans physician, telling the story of how he received the case. According to the twice signed statement, the previous owner was a former patient who served as a guard over the residence of the Governor of Occupation in Oran. He apparently did favors for a German POW who had made items from the leather of Rommel's briefcase -- this being one.
Usually when we receive inquiries about items like this, the potential consignor has their head so far in the clouds they usually say they won't sell it for any less than one million dollars (thanks, Antiques Roadshow) - instantly tarnishing their credibility in my book. This consignor placed a reserve of $1500 on the item - still a lot of money, no doubt - but indicates to me that the guy has his feet on the ground.
The items is set to run in the Military Trader Special Auction closing 2.24.09. I don't think the item will be live until tomorrow, but I thought I would give the readers of Manion's Collecting News a sneak peek. Enjoy, and, as always, I welcome your comments.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Greetings again Militaia enthusiasts!
While this post does not directly relate to the collecting of militaria, I thought you might find it of interest. It seems an ex-employee of our humble little company has made her way into crime fighting as Superman's cousin - Kara Zor-L, also known as Power Girl.
I have my Google News alerts set for the word "Manion's" in an attempt to monitor our media coverage. In addition to our company news, I get many updates: info. related to the mini-series "Manion's of America", updates on the career of NASCAR driver Kevin Manion, and lately news about a recently solved cold case in Canada involving a murderer sharing the name. All interesting, but not exactly what I was looking for.
Last weekend, this headline caught my attention - Fan-film Super...err I mean, Power Girl to the rescue (click the link to read the article) referencing Tawnya Manion's highly acclaimed performance in a low budget short film about the DC Comics superheroine.
Rather than duplicate content here, click the link provided above to read more and watch the short DC Comics Fan Film. I think there is another one out there too, a simple Internet search should point you in the right direction.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Several months ago, Robert Fulton’s son, Rawn Fulton of Searchlight Films, contacted me and asked I remove the video. Imagine my surprise when the phone rings and it is the guy who made one of my favorite documentaries of all time. He wasn’t upset about me posting it, but was planning on releasing the movie to DVD and figured accessing it for free on the Internet could effect sales.
I told him of how we received one of his father’s Skyhook extraction suits on consignment, and a bootleg "One Man Caravan" video came with. I was so blown away by the story presented within, and surprised by the lack of information about it online, that I ripped myself a copy and began the tedious process of uploading it to Google video. I tried to figure out how to contact someone associated with the movie, but had absolutely no luck.
He appreciated my admiration for his father and we had quite a long conversation about his work. I offered services in the promotion of the DVD – and anything else he needed in that area. I took the video down minutes after I hung up the phone.
About a week later, I received a package in the mail from the younger Fulton containing two DVDs: The One Man Caravan of Robert Fulton Jr., and Twice Upon a Caravan – the story of Fulton’s 1932 motorcycle trip across the world.
I thoroughly recommend watching both of these films. They provide amazing insight into the unique personality and astounding accomplishments of Robert Fulton, Jr.
One Man Caravan is presented with many different fades and overlapping images, giving it somewhat of an “art film” (for lack of better words at the moment) feel. It traces the life of Fulton and his many inventions, artistic creations, and views on life. The entire story is told as if he is speaking with his grandson, who is featured throughout the movie hand in hand with Fulton.
It contains footage of his inventions including the Airphibian, a flying car - as you know . . . (the most under recognized invention of the 20th century), and the Fulton Skyhook extraction suit (you’ll remember it being used in John Wayne’s “The Green Berets” and in the James Bond movie “Thunderball”). It mentions his 1932 motorcycle trip across the world, and his artwork and poetry endeavors later in life.
"One measure of a man is what he does when he has nothing to do."
The second movie, Twice Upon A Caravan, is more straightforward. Also narrated by Fulton himself, it tells in detail the story of his 1932 motorcycle adventure. Fulton used film to record the trip. In addition to capturing FANTASTIC footage from the Far and Middle East at the time, Fulton would set up the camera himself, capture a shot riding off into the sunset, then return to break down and pack up his equipment (Survivorman). And it was film . . .in 1932.
The views of the world he presents are breathtaking, the activities of different cultures he captured at the time are intriguing, and the entire concept of his trip is nearly unconceivable in today’s world.
Visit the sites below to learn more about Fulton and his extraordinary life:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A buddy of his, Bob Schwartz, made a post on the US Militaria Fourm the other day and it stuck a fork in me to write it up here for our readers.
Schwartz maintains Aviation Wings and Badges of WWII, a website, dedicated it to his Great Uncle, PFC George R. Weiland. A Marine who was KIA Oct. 4, 1944 as he used a machine gun to give it to the Japanese on the island of Peleliu. Interestingly enough, Schwartz was born on the same date 22 years later.
Enter Randy VanDyken. A Navy Vietnam veteran, who owns a mechanical contracting company, and who has explored several Pacific Islands and their battlefields. He has dusted the sand from many discovered artifacts over the years, and one special item, a canteen, revealed the hand scratched name: "G R Weiland".
VanDyken did a bit of Internet research and found Schwartz's site dedicated to his uncle. They were soon in contact, and VanDyken was able to hand deliver the canteen to Schwartz - along with a bag of sand from the beach.
An absolutely amazing story, it gives me goosebumps just writing about it. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did an article a while back, you can read their story here.
Here are some photos as well, I lifted them from the US Militaria Forum - the most complete site on the Internet for US militaria research.
While probably quite a bit different from 99% of posts in the "blogesphere" on this inauguration day, I feel it to certainly be appropriate to the occasion.
After the pomp and circumstance has subsided, and the politicians get back to "business" as usual, I hope they take time to reflect each and every day upon George Weiland, and countless other heroes who gave their lives in service of our nation, as their voices continue to be heard long after they gave the Ultimate Sacrifice. I hope they are humbled by the gravity of their responsibility to their family members who remain.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Hello Collectors, thanks again for reading Manion's Collecting news - the Number One site in the Blogosphere dedicated to militaria and collectibles!
As many of you know, from previous posts and e-mails, 2008 was one of the best years in recent history for the auction. We've hired additional staff, when most companies are doing the opposite; our end of year numbers are going up, and most all other company's are going down; and we're doing it without a government bailout!
So, I send out a press release (to MANY different outlets) about our success during these tough economic times, thinking the media may be interested in reporting a bit of "good news". On the contrary - hardly had anyone contact me. One local television reporter called about it - thinking we were in the real estate market because the word "house" was in the first few words of the release (Manion's International Auction House); I told her to go ahead and finish reading the release and it would make more sense. She then said: "Oh, I see . . . maybe I'll contact you another time."
Our local fish wrap, The Kansas City Star, actually did print a small piece in their "How I Got the Job" section about a new photographer we hired (you can read it here), and to their credit they have been excellent in giving us coverage from time to time - and we certainly appreciate it. A couple of other pubs mentioned it as well, including the Northeast Antiques and the New England Antiques Journal, and we certainly appreciate it as well.
The release was essentially announcing the new hires, but the real story was "between the lines", and I honestly thought editors would pick up on it. I also provided a bit of info about "collectibles as investments", but with no luck. I guess bad news is what gets viewers and readers. Oh well, maybe I'll have better luck next time.
Well folks, that's it for now. Our tag-in department is busy as can be today processing new consignment. We have new buyers and sellers signing up every day on the consignment site and the List it Yourself site, and are working on some pretty big things for the near future. Stay tuned for more from Manion's Collecting News!
Monday, January 05, 2009
I hope 2009 brings you all new treasures for your collection or riches for your wallet!
We are off to a great start here at Manion's, with many boxes of consignment coming in and camera shutters clicking away in the photography department. December was one of our best months in recent history, bringing 2008 to a fantastic close, and we are fired up to make 2009 a winner as well.
As many of you know, we have been waging an uphill battle over the last few years. When Jody Tucker took over in 2005, the company was deep in the hole (to the tune of millions of dollars). Jody assumed all of the mismanaged debt of the former owner, effectively playing against a stacked deck from day one. Many keyboard critics out there have condemned the decision to include this debt in his purchase of the company, but Jody knew it was the right thing to do and vowed to turn the company around. As we get closer and closer to the end of the tunnel, the light just keeps getting brighter and brighter. As companies across the country are letting employees go, Manion's continues to bring new people aboard - as the New England Antiques Journal recognized on page 77 of their January 2009 issue. What does that tell you?
We want to thank our longtime consignors, who smartly recognize what a uniquely valuable service we offer here at Manion's, for sticking with us through thick and thin. These advanced collectors and business people have the presence of mind to look at the big picture, rather than down the wrong end of a telescope, and realize that Manion's International Auction House is able to sell military related items for much greater prices, at much more ease, than they are able to do on their own. These consignors have been the cornerstone of our turnaround, and do not think for a moment you are not appreciated.
For those who are not comfortable waiting for consignment checks to be issued, we encourage you to utilize our List it Yourself auction service - now in its second year of operation! Our List it Yourself auction allows you to reach our EXTENSIVE WORLDWIDE DATABASE of buyers and sellers of military items from the comfort of your own home computer. This eBay style auction allows the buyer and seller to deal directly with each other, with Manion's taking 5% of the winning bid price from the seller. WWII German items, and firearms parts, are welcome (unlike with you know who), and basic listings are absolutely FREE. The software has recently been upgraded as well- with many new benefits for buyers and sellers. In addition, we've recently hired a List it Yourself Auction administrator so users of the system are able to receive personal support from a real live person!
Our show schedule is filling up for next year as well. We'll be at all of our regular events, and are especially looking forward to the new Midwest Military Expo being held June 12-14 in Rockford, Illinois. Also, the Show of Shos SOS military collecting event is right around the corner - it's hands down the biggest and the best militaria show on the planet and should not be missed by any collector, with the means to attend, old or new.
We're expanding our advertising endeavors in 2009 to attract new bidders to the sight. We began doing so towards the middle of 2008 and are definitely noticing an influx of buyers - and new consignors (we have people signing up each and every day - often over 100 a month!). We're putting it in third, so to speak, for 2009 and expect excellent results.
Additionally, hardly a week goes by we don't receive a call from a reporter or editor inquiring about our operation. We have been getting some fantastic ink out there - too much to even keep track of it all. We've been working with PBS as well, in a local and national capacity - stay tuned for details . . .
Again, thank you so much to all of our customers, old and new. We look forward to a prosperous 2009 on our end, and wish you the same on yours.
Until next time - happy collecting!