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 Captured Memorabilia

The Ohio Valley Military Society is an organization for individuals who study military history by collecting and preserving original period artifacts.  Our membership includes veterans, historians, museum professionals, and private collectors representing a broad diversity of cultural, international, and professional backgrounds.  We are united by a shared interest in history, and a desire to see artifacts preserved for future generations.

 At any OVMS show, you are likely to see items ranging in age from ancient Japanese swords, to helmets and insignia worn on recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is often a good selection of American Civil War material, and a LOT of items from WWI and WWII.  The world wars which shaped the 20th century are the dominant presence at most collector shows, since these conflicts were fought by industrial age powers, and involved millions of participants. 

Many of the founding members of the OVMS were WWII veterans themselves, who collected mementos of what they recognized at the time to be historic events - while fighting through hedgerows in Normandy, or across the jungles of the Pacific.  Though time has taken all but a treasured few of these veterans from us, today we are joined by their children and grandchildren who follow in their footsteps by collecting not only material from their relative's military units, but also the spoils of victory; souvenirs of the defeated enemy.

 With the passing of our WWII veterans, and as society grows farther removed from this era, it has become more commonplace for those not familiar with the hobby of collecting militaria to associate Third Reich material in particular with political, rather than historical interests.  This is no doubt exacerbated by the modern tendency to label anything or anyone we disagree with as "Fascist", "Nazi" or simply "Hitler".   Particularly not helpful is the use of Third Reich symbols by modern racist groups, and those wishing to utilize these and other taboo iconography to represent a variety of antisocial philosophies and behavior.

 As a collector organization founded by members of the "greatest generation", we work to preserve their struggle, values, and stories through interpretation and preservation the artifacts they shared with us.  These objects are preserved to honor their sacrifices, and to condemn for eternity the perverse worldview they fought against.  The OVMS condemns in the strongest possible terms, and will not tolerate anyone using historic artifacts or collector events to promote racist philosophies.

 In addition to the general public, it is quite understandable that members of ethnic and religious communities, if unfamiliar with the motivation of collectors, might object to an environment where relics of the axis powers are bought and sold.  The OVMS is sensitive to these concerns, and has adopted regulations which ensure that such artifacts are displayed in proper context, representing souvenirs of the enemy's defeat, not monuments to their reprehensible activities.

 Torn between revulsion for the regime that created them and recognition of the danger posed by erasing artifacts from the public record, some have suggested that such items belong only in museums, and should not permitted for sale to individuals.  As an organization that counts a number of museum professionals among it's members, we strongly advocate the fact that private collectors are a fundamental component of the larger system that ensures preservation of historic artifacts.  Simply put, there can never be enough museum, institutional, or national resources to curate, conserve, and research even the truly important artifacts that exist in the world, much less those which may be plentiful in one generation, but scarce or gone decades later.  This is not just true for militaria, but also for art, architecture, and antiquities in general.  Private collectors are in a very real sense the "volunteer curators" who invest their own money and time to care for artifacts.  After years or even generations, their collections are often the primary source of museum donations, or even the very foundation upon which new museums are built.  In addition, the overwhelming majority of artifact-based scholarship and research is done by collectors.  Any museum curator or registrar will tell you that the books which fill their reference library were for the most part written by collectors, for collectors.

 Like our collecting members, it is our sincere hope that this interest and scholarship in WWII history will be a factor in ensuring that tragic events of the past will not be repeated.


The Military Historian

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Upcoming Shows

2021 Show of Shows 


July 21-25, 2021 

Kentucky Expo Center 
Louisville, KY 

Get a table at the 2021 SOS!

2021 Wilmington Shows 

June 11-12.2021
November 5-6, 2021

June 2021 Wilmington Show Table Reservation Form

November 2021 Wilmington Show Table Reservation Form

2021 MAX Show

Sept. 16-19, 2021

York Expo Center

York, PA

2021 MAX Table Reservation Form
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2021 MAX Show Information Updates Are Under Construction and Updated As Ready! 

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©2016 Ohio Valley Military Society, Inc. * P.O. Box 98 * Batavia, Ohio 45103-0098, USA
Voice 513-245-9540 * FAX: 513-245-9541 * Email