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WWII Letters from Overseas: Are they worth Money?

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Jonny Quick, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Jonny Quick

    Jonny Quick BANNED BANNED

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    Just tonight, while cleaning out an old trunk, I found inside it an old briefcase, and inside that I found about 100 letters from an overseas US Army Soldier writing to his family while fighting the Japanese in the Pacific.

    Eventually he is killed, and then there is correspondance from the Federal Government, detailing the process for shipping the body back to the US, burial expenses, etc...

    There's what looks like "Air Mail", and something called "V-Mail", and at least one piece of writing by the US Army Censors. I've seen photographs of stuff like this in movies, books etc... This stuff is in good condition; some fading, but all readable. I haven't the time to read it all through, but was wondering what to do with it.

    My first thought is to get it professionally digitized. Maybe make a web-site? Transcribe all the documents to searchable text, post digital images of the documents (to show that the transcriptions are accurate) and post it all online.

    How to monetize? Geneology searches? Researchy material for movies & books? History buffs?

    If this stuff has value, how do I show enough to create interest, but hold enough back so that I'm not giving it all away for free?

    Has anyone done this before? Heard of it done? Any links?

    Thanks in advance.


    ~JQ

    WWII.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  2. HoNeYBiRD

    HoNeYBiRD Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    generally, if you have doubts if an item could sell or not, just check ebay:
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    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=wwii+letters&_sacat=See-All-Categories
     
  3. Jeevs

    Jeevs Supreme Member

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    Conduct an auction!
     
  4. scraper1

    scraper1 Regular Member

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    Make a movie.
     
  5. Longover

    Longover Power Member

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    Call Tom Hanks
     
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  6. scraper1

    scraper1 Regular Member

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  7. cjbmeb14

    cjbmeb14 Regular Member

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    Yes these are worth money and may fetch good money if listed correctly on Ebay.
    I have some letters myself that I bought from Ebay and I paid good money from them.

    The more history you can find about this person who wrote the letters the better.
     
  8. Cnotey

    Cnotey Power Member

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    What was his rank? If he was an important officer in some of the battles there, they could be worth some real money. If it's just a private writing his mom, probably not worth much. My honest advice would be to sell them in a private WWII auction if they are written by an officer, if not, donate them to a museum. Don't be greedy with America's history.
     
  9. lonny41

    lonny41 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Historically yes, and probably to his family whoever they are, monetarily no, they aren't worth much unless the person was famous.

    I've known a few people with this stuff. One tracked the family and gave it to them.

    The website idea is a good one though.
     
  10. adhept

    adhept Junior Member

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    Like others have said, it depends on who he was and what he did exactly.

    Find a few collectors, show them to them, then double whatever they offer you. That's probably around the value ;)

    Some of this stuff is highly valuable, my great grandfather was a highly decorated pilot in WW2, my mother was offered a five figure sum for his set of goggles, documents and flying gear. Not that we'd ever sell the family history lol
     
  11. Moto801

    Moto801 Senior Member

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    bring it to pawn stars :)
     
  12. ehabh

    ehabh Registered Member

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    Also if you sell them I think you might get a better price for the entire collection, an entire collection is different. If you are not in urgent need of money, make a web site with digitized copies and put on the web site that you can sell the originals to the highest bidder. That way you give back to American History ( which might look bad if it was letters from Iraq or Vietnam ) and you still get to sell the letters slowly getting bidders slowly.
    I would suggest you use drupal or WebGUI.org CMS for this, both of which are opensource and provide easy management of photos. If you can OCR accuratly with the OCR text below the scan and open them as a wiki where people correct the OCR mistakes that might provide more enagement and make people want to buy :) Slow is the best way to get a good price.