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General And Slightly Off Topic Talk Forum for exchanging ideas and talking about general issues without straying too far off topic.

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Old 08-16-2002, 12:35 AM   #11
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UK Shows

I was in England a couple years back and found three shows to be especially beneficial: The War & Peace Show (Hop Farm Park, Kent) , the Bedford Militaria Fair and the Bletchley Park show.

Additionally, each issue of Armourer magazine lists upcoming shows, and is an excellent starting point. Their website is:
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Old 08-16-2002, 10:26 AM   #12
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Baltic States

A lot of forieners come to the baltic states for medals as it has the benifit of being "whiteman" whilst being close enough to get the trade from Russia.

I have continually been told however that Russia is getting very expensive for them to buy medals and perhaps is the reason now for so many fakes here.

I did not find Russia dangerous but I had a Russian Girlfriend and kept my mouth shut.

Any where that is poor and you start throwing money about is the big cities you'd be ok..there are a lot of rich Russians there.

St. Petersburg was fantastic but everything to it was white Africa.
I have just been told that pay is 1000 thousand roubles and that sausages are 100 roubles and taste like cardboard.

If you ever get the chance however go. Its an adventure. The Customs where a##h####.

Every body gets a good check and if my memory is correct they put all the baggage thru an exray machine and I crossed by bus!

If they found you with a medal they would hang you out to dry.

I saw an article about some Chinese guy who got nicked taking away very minor league medals as a keep sake and they made a very big deal of it whilst I'm sure turning a blind eye and a secret deal with the real smugglers.

Just a few thoughts

regards Chris
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Old 08-16-2002, 06:00 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info. At last I have a list of the Uk military shows. Cheers!

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.
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Old 09-08-2002, 12:26 PM   #14
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You are absolutely right about the border guards at Narva, they are not the friendliest guys in the world. I had no items for my collection when I left Russia, but they found my copy of the thin booklet "Orders and Medals of the USSR", full of my notes about what items I was looking for and what I had. When they saw this, they went crazy and accused me of having medals and tore my bag apart looking for things. I had nothing to find, so they did not find anything, but I would recommend leaving anything that would make them excited in Estonia.
However, they did not have an xray machine, and our cabin on the train was fairly large, it would have been really easy to smuggle anything, even large items, out of the country. Not that I recommend this.
Also, I learned the hard way that you have to declare all of your foreign cash when you enter Russia, otherwise you have to give them ten percent of it when you leave. I am sure they pocketed this money, and maybe they would have found another way to steal from me, but anyone traveling to Russia should know this.

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Old 09-08-2002, 02:16 PM   #15
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Friendly Narva

Hi Keith

I see you have had that wonderful experience of those chummy border guards haha. Love the scam with the ten percent and you’re right I bet it went in their beer fund.

Sounds like the medal front was not to good in Russia?

Confirms what I thought, bringing medals out of Russia is not particularly healthy if caught

Cheers Chris
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Old 09-12-2002, 02:47 AM   #16
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Russia Travel and Export

I have travelled and worked in Russia on behalf of my government and was on the team responsible for editing the official Canadian Government Travel Report for Russia - a similar report is on the US State Department Website.

Reports of Russia being dangerous are greatly exaggerated. When travelling as a tourist in Russia I find it no more dangerous than any large US city and in fact I am much more nervous in downtown Boston, Chicago or Detriot (I am not being cynical, I really do love US cities) than in a Russian city. Of course it is more dangerous than the US suburbs or a UK small town but it is not too bad.

Anyone using their head and avoiding dark alleys, seedy neighbourhoods, etc. will generally be fine. Start off cautious and ease up as you feel more comfortable.

Try not to look like a tourist. They will still know you are a foreigner but you won't look like the dumb, "easy mark" type.

It is a great asset to be able to sound out Russian - ie. to know the alphabet. You'd be surprised a how many signs you can then understand even without knowing the language per se. You will also be able t use street maps, etc.

As for exports. It is officially illegal to export any order, medal or award from Russia unless you can prove it is a family heirloom and you live abroad (if you need to do this contact customs early, don't try it at the departure lounge). Unfortunately each border guard interprets this differently. Many people have had badges and even cheap tin znachki civilian pins confiscated. Smuggling is dangerous as everything is x-rayed at airports and generally hand searched elswhere. I have heard of undercover police scouting out militaria shows and then having any foreign buyers they observe stopped later at the border. Generally buttons and cloth stuff (patches, shoulder boards, etc.) are fine.

Also, as has been reported above, prices are higher in Russia than in the US!!! For example, a few years back I was offered a "special deal" on a Red Star (with post-war serial number) $50 US!! Perhaps most interestingly was the location, it was a pin dealer right next door to the Lubyanka (former KGB, now FSB HQ shown above). He pulled it from a bag below the table. Needless to say I declined.

I have brought badges out but I was lucky. They were either not found or when found the border guards just asked if I had orders or medals and then let me go after not fidning any. Others have not been so lucky.

Another important law covers antiques in general. Anything old (I hear that this means 25 years + and I also hear that it means pre-1960 - who knows!!!) requires export approval from the Culture Ministry - this takes a long time and is expensive. Some high end antique dealers in Moscow will do this for you if you are buying art, furniture, etc.

That said, no one ever seems to have problems with old uniforms, field gear etc. Maybe becuase this stuff is always in check-in luggage and does not show on x-rays, maybe becuase the Russian's don't care. I have never heard of a problem with the "modern" (1980s) uniforms either. I would be careful with stuff like Czarist uniform, WWII Victory Parade generals, Regimental Banners, etc.

I have never had or heard of a problem with paper goods. But have also never heard of anyone having papers stuff examined, I don't know what the border guards would do if they saw it.

If you avoid order and medals there are still many good deals in Russia.

I know one guy who organizes trips of several weeks through Russia to visit museums and battlefields and to shop. He generally goes every other year. I can put people in touch with him if the PM me.

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Old 11-14-2002, 09:01 PM   #17
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Chicago Militaria Show Report

Hello All,

I attended a militaria show in Chicago last weekend. It was a very large show of about 250+ tables. It was the first show I've attended in quite a while where I was looking mainly for Soviet stuff. Out of all those tables there wasn't much Soviet medals. One dealer was selling Soviet and DDR uniforms and I found 3 dealers with Soviet medals. I was supprised at the lack of Soviet material, especially badges.Nothing great at those 3 dealers, Red Stars, OPW2, etc all at full retail prices. I did find and buy a screwpost base Order of the Red Star that was in a group of Red Stars a dealer had Got it at a price that he went down to for any of the common stars. Serial number around 200,000.

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Old 11-15-2002, 06:43 AM   #18
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That sounds like a dream find. I always flip over any Red Stars I see looking for that and have had none of the luck you did.

Way back when I was starting collecting I used to flip over the long service medals too. I did once find a KGB one for normal army medal price.

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Old 11-15-2002, 11:52 AM   #19
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where was the show held?

Also, how do I go about finding out about similar shows in the Chicagoland area?

Does anyone post them here?


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Old 11-27-2002, 11:44 AM   #20
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I'm with yolkin...

How do we find out about the Chicagoland shows?

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