Some recent business brought back to mind what I consider the biggest mistake which I ever made in collecting ammo. The story might be instructive to others.
Sam Cummings was the founder of INTERARMCO which was the single greatest force in promoting the importation of surplus military weapons after WW2 into the USA. Bannerman was much earlier. Sam had his early headquarters and warehouses in Alexandria Virginia which is just on the West side of the Potomac river from Wash.D.C. Most of the business was wholesale and mailorder but he opened a retail store there called “Ye Old Hunter”.
As a younger man this was nearly heaven for me. neat stuff by the ton.
One of his employees was Tom Nelson who went on to become a first class force of his own in the collecting world with his invention of the “non-gun” model guns made for the Japanese market and poplular in the USA for a time as well. He did business as “Collectors Armoury” which business is still open and run by his son. Tom is too busy fishing.
Back to the main story. A young man who lived in that general area of Virginia contacted Tom at the store and asked if he knew someone interested in buying a collection of old ammunition. Tom contacted Glenn Sweeting at the Smithsonian who contacted me.
I went to the store and Tom showed me a full set of the German blister pack ammo intelligence shells from WW2 . I had never seen this before and was impressed quite properly. He said that this was a piece from a large collection which was for sale and gave me the name of the seller.
I contacted the seller and went to his apartment in the area. His father had died and left him an ammo collection which had been assembled during and just after WW2 when he was the US Air Force liason to Aberdeen proving grounds.
The collection nearly filled the fellows apartment and he had more in storage.
I would rather not describe the collection as it may make me ill but will say only that it was FANTASTIC !
He gave me a price which I agreed to and he suggested that I take a car full with me while we worked out the details. I demured and told him that I would get it all at once when it was paid for ( this was a mistake , I should have taken the first car load even in my Volkswagen beetle).
I did not have the ready cash and did not want to borrow money and so tried to broker a deal which took too long and eventually I could not make the deadline which was posted by the fathers lawyer.
Bill Woodin was next in line. He flew into DC and bought the lot on sight.
That was the first and last time I failed to buy a collection which was worth the price. I should have borrowed the money and bought. Some of those items have never been on the market again in the past 35+ years.
Lesson; if you see something which is worth the price and you CAN buy it, BUY IT. You will not have to recall this type of story yourself in your old age.