When it comes to militaria no doubt one of the greatest resources in the Tennessee area is that of the Tennessee Military Collectors Association (TMCA).
What is “Militaria”? Militaria are artifacts or replicas of military, police, etc., collected for their historical significance. Such antiques include firearms, swords, knives, and other equipment such as uniforms, military orders and decorations and insignia. Other items can include photos, literature and propaganda pieces. Basically, anything that could be considered to have historical military relevance.
Having been introduced to militaria by Tim Prince of College Hill Arsenal ( https://CollegeHillArsenal.com ), I have since become very interested in the subject and amazed at the level of interest in the collectors community for such items.
In a time where history is being white washed, re-written, erased and forgotten I find it truly honorable that this niche of collectors and organizations like the Tennessee Military Collectors Association is working hard to preserve our world heritage for future generations.
Upon a recent visit to a TMCA show I was greeted with the utmost of graciousness. As I talked to members it was obvious that TMCA was more than just a bunch of collectors. It is a close-knit family of enthusiasts and historians eager to share their knowledge. Many were eager to take me in as one of their own and to share stories of how they came into the field of militaria collecting. As most regaled me with stories of different artifacts one overarching theme that most expressed was how the Tennessee Military Collectors Association has helped bring them together in their shared love and passion.
One of the members I was introduced to Robert Wilson, had a wonderful selection of historical firearms and swords. Robert and I talked for quite a while as he explained to me how he owned a shop in North Carolina but enjoyed coming to the TMCA shows due to their welcoming and supportive nature. We talked about today’s youth and how history is being lost on them at a tragic rate.
Robert then showed me his brother David’s table. What is interesting in the field of militaria collecting is that each dealer will often have a sub field of specialization. David’s filed was that of Japanese Swords. While David was not immediately available, I would have loved to talk with him as I have found a recent appreciation in various forms of blades and would have been fascinated I am sure by his stories of craftmanship and honor behind the making of Japanese swords.
As I continued perusing the isles I ran across one member Mike Ezell that was displaying a few pieces of “Rat Fink” artwork from the famous car builder Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Anyone that is a classic car enthusiast knows Ed. What I found of particular interest is that Ed was a big supporter of our troops, which helped tie together my own personal appreciation for classic cars and the field of militaria. After talking a short while about Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Mike Ezell then showed me a pair of military boots he had acquired. He explained to me when he got the boots he heard something rattling around inside. When he reached in he found a note written about the original owner. He explained how he had researched the individual and was attempting to locate the family but had not yet been able to find any current information on them. While the boots and note were not particularly valuable it was a wonderful story of hidden treasure discovered.
If you have not had an opportunity to experience militaria outside of a museum setting we highly encourage you to look into the Tennessee Military Collectors Association. You can find out more about the TMCA at: https://tmcaonline.org/