Collecting Antique Model Ships

Antique model ship collectors from all around the world have a deep love for the sea and sailing in general. Collections can be worth millions.

The main purpose of the ship in history was to provide communication between one country and lands overseas before radio communication was invented. Ships also carried passengers, goods, or soldiers bound for war. Ships carried slaves to be sold halfway across the world. Some ships even carried pirates who despoiled Spanish treasure armadas and pillaged settlements. Ships were home to many men and women for months or years at a time when they sailed the seas to explore new lands.

Of course, someone had to build and market these ships. Models have been in our history for thousands of years. Models of ships have been unearthed in ancient Egypt and Greece. Every major shipyard of the 1800's employed a model maker who would create their models to show the design and construction details of the ship they wanted to build and sell. This gave the purchaser a chance to see the end result before actually purchasing.

Most model ships were created out of various types of woods and were usually very detailed. During the 17th through the 19th centuries French prisoners of war, incarcerated in England, were allowed to build models made of beef soup bones, barn wood, and copper clad hulls. Today, these models are extremely desirable by the most serious collectors and will sell for up to five figure amounts at auction.

This rich and exciting history has intrigued model ship collectors for ages. Today, many people from all over the world create their own scale models or just collect what others have built from ancient times to modern times. Model ship building and collecting is viewed as an art form to be displayed privately or publicly. These collectors have a deep love for the sea and sailing in general. There are many purposes to buying a model, from wanting it as a keepsake to having it as an investment.

If you are building your own models, make sure to buy something that is in your skill range. Do you need a kit with pre-cut parts or are you skilled enough to cut your own? You might even ask a sales clerk if you can look at the instructions of the model you are considering to see if you have all the skills and tools that are required. You don't want to waste your money or time if you buy something that is too difficult. You can also join one of the numerous modeling clubs that are available worldwide. Some of these clubs even take their models and sail them on special ponds.

If you choose to be a buyer and not a builder, always do your research. Spend time to research the best price and learn how to tell if what you are buying is the original thing, a replica, or a cheap imitation. Some collectors will only buy brand name items because they know the quality of the materials. Make your choice based on how much money you want to spend, what your collection is geared toward, and whether you want to keep it or resell it to another collector.

Serious investors may spend several thousand dollars on an original or historically accurate model. Even as a beginner it is very easy to spend at least several hundred dollars. Model ships can be found at auctions all over the world. The Internet provides a multitude of websites that offer auction items or outright sales geared to the nautical collector. Many private builders create awesome re-creations with moveable parts that are worth looking into. Many model collectors eventually expand their collections to include written material, wall art, stamps, and miniatures. Have fun and remember to always display your ship in a glass case or clean it often to preserve it forever.

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