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Collecting in the 1960's and Early 2000's. The Golden Years.

There were two periods in the United States that are sometimes referred to as The Golden Years for collecting firearms and other military items including artillery.
The first was the post WWII/Korean War era. The second was the time following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By the late 1950's and early 1960's there was a growing, newly affluent middle class of WWII/Korean veterans and others who were interested in collecting.
Incredible amounts of "War Surplus" was available in "Army/Navy Stores" and mail order from magazines. Military firearms were imported by the millions from Europe.  (Photo)
Mauser rifles, Springfields, Garands, Lugers, 1911s etc along with DEWAT machine guns (deactivated war trophies) were available and inexpensive.
Also available were cannons which until 1968 could be purchased in working condition along with live munitions. 

(SEPARATE AND SAVE-Today it would be inconceivable for some of the items to be readily available. Back then our society was different and we did not have the horrific events that we have now. Something has changed, but it is not the items themselves.)

The next era for collectors was after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Within several years a flood of everything military became available from Russia and
the again independent Eastern European countries along with the former East Germany. =||(MOVE BELOW At the same time, collectables also become available from the other side of the world, mainly China and Korea. Israel too, sold their older WWII and Cold War weapons as they modernized their military.)
Aircraft, tanks, artillery, firearms, name it. Whether the items were common, rare or simply never been  available before, there was never anything equal to the quantity and types of items available. There were stockpiled German weapons from WWII and vast quantities of ex-Soviet Era WWII and Cold War weapons. =II(HERE) All of this was available inexpensively to a large and affluent population in the United States and other countries. 

As time passed by 2010 or so, these large stocks were mostly sold out. In addition, importation of any remaining quantities were also increasingly prevented by a voluntary trade restraint agreement with China and other actions restricting firearm imports from Russia and South Korea. 

The collapse of the Soviet Union also made available in more recent years surplus from the artillery family of weapons as former Soviet bloc  countries and others joined NATO and replaced their soviet based weapon systems with NATO compatible equipment.  It is this replacement trend that made available much of the ex-Soviet era artillery that are in the museum and store. Then Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Russo/Ukraine war has become a war of attrition which has ended the availability of Ex-Soviet era heavy weapons. These weapons while obsolete, still worked and the majority have been shipped to Ukraine and are being consumed in what has become Europe's largest land war since WWII. 

Thus, the golden ages for importing surplus firearms and artillery* have likely passed into history. 

*For importation into the United States,
artillery must be demilitarized in accordance with ATF requirements.
(learn more)

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