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.”
Personal Note from Dave Wyatt:
I grew up in a small town north 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, since 2008. 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. Of all the veterans from the war I 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, listening to his “war stories.”
Around the age of 12, I began thinking to myself, “What survived?” and “Where can I still find it?” Badges are what grabbed my attention first. I’ve since moved into other areas of collecting, such as uniforms, helmets, and insignia. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing veteran families, since I started collecting. 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.
I’ve learned that knowledge is the most powerful thing a collector can have, and secondly, integrity is the most powerful thing a dealer can have. Happy hunting!