Epic Artifacts was created to cater to all military collectors and sellers. Over the years we have purchased everything from firearms, helmets, daggers, medals, uniform groupings and everything in between.
Who are the faces of Epic Artifacts?
Founder Ryan Joyce, served in the United States Marine Corp as a member of 2nd Battalion 4th Marines and achieved the rank of Sergeant. A graduate of The University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Finance and an accomplished Eagle Scout.
Personal Note from Ryan:
“I have been a collector most of my life. Thanks to my parents, who would accompany me to auctions, antique stores and shows, I was introduced to collecting at an early age. At 13 my father decided that we would start collecting German daggers together. I would research and find the items and he would be the financial backer. Not a bad arrangement for a passionate teenage boy. I would stay up late reading Tom Johnson’s dagger reference books and Manion’s Auction House catalogs trying to find the perfect dagger to add to our collection. Eventually, as we started to buy more, I wanted to collect everything – helmets, daggers, uniforms, medals, badges, you name it! Learning the history of an item, where it came from and who owned it has truly been the enjoyment of collecting all these years. I believe that now being a veteran myself has given me a better understanding of the sacrifices that these military members have made. I feel that it is our responsibility to care for these historical items so that they can be enjoyed for future generations to come.”
I grew up in a small town north of the port city of Baltimore, Maryland. My childhood was like many others of the area. We grew up hunting, fishing, shooting guns, and playing “war” (without the real guns obviously!). After completing high school, I went to work full time in the family electrical business and earned my Masters License. I still work here with my father and brother. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife, Amanda, for ten years. She has supported me tremendously throughout our marriage, especially by tolerating my passion for this hobby….lets face it, it’s not so easy for our spouses to understand the obsession. Amanda is usually seen running our tables at MAX or SOS. Her level of detail and organization is excellent. In fact, so excellent that I’m typically banned from our tables during show hours! In a nut shell, I buy it and she sells it. It just works!
Several early influences in my life are what had lead me to the collecting world. My mother’s boss was a veteran of the 4th Infantry Division, who was a part of the second wave on Utah beach during the Normandy landings. Several other family friends were also veterans of the second world war. However, of all the veterans from the war we knew growing up, it was my Great Uncle Cleo who inspired my interest in this subject. Uncle Cleo was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne during World War Two. I spent much of my early childhood at his house while my parents were at work. He would tell me his “war stories” about the training, jumping out of airplanes, and the surrendering germans; most of whom he called “children soldiers”. He would tell me of the piles of equipment, guns, and helmets lying around. He also spoke of the mass burning of the uniforms and long delousing lines to kill the lice infestation that he said covered every German.
Around the age of 12 I began thinking to myself, “What survived?” and “Where can I still find it?” My grandfather, on my mothers side, took notice to my growing interest in the era and took me to my first gun/militaria show in Pikesville, Maryland. I was 12 years old at the time. Even at this age, I was impressed by the military items relating to Germany during the world wars. They really knew how to dress! Badges are what grabbed my attention! The designs of each type of badge could almost instantly be recognized for the deeds they merited. I studied and collected badges for nearly twenty years.
The first ten years of collecting for me were difficult. I didn’t make all that much money, and knowing that the hobby was riddled with fakes, I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. Unfortunately this was the time when the internet was new and the forums were only an idea. So I had to rely on the dealers at the shows for information…this didn’t always work out well. Several years into collecting I had gotten very lucky when I bought an original SS Officer visor from the woodwork for cheap. I’ll be honest, because I was into badges, I didn’t even know it was SS until two weeks later! Long story short, I sold it because I had always dreamed of owning an original Knights Cross. The dealer I chose offered what sounded like a no lose return policy. I found out later, through the forums, the cross was indeed fake. Only several months after buying the cross when I spoke to the dealer about the unanimous verdict on the cross, he flat out refused to honor the return of the cross. I was completely devastated. At 21 years of age finding out you lost that kind of money was gut wrenching and embarrassing. I was so devastated I actually sold my first collection and left the hobby for two years. Ironically, the mistake I made when buying the fake Knights Cross was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, simply because of how I looked at the situation later on. I learned two things from it. I learned that knowledge is the most powerful thing a collector can have, and secondly, integrity is the most powerful thing a dealer can have. I should have known what I was buying, and the dealer should have stood behind his items.
I’ve since moved into other areas of collecting, such as uniforms, helmets, and insignia. I’ve also run ads for military relics for the past ten years, and have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing veteran families. The artifacts I’ve acquired from these families are the most sacred pieces in my collection, I know their story, and that is what all of this is about…the history.