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Police Collectibles: Tips and Tricks for Buying Police Collectibles on eBay

Collecting police memorabilia gives you a look into the past of law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad. Whether you’re a veteran collector or looking to get started, there’s a wide range of collectibles available for a variety of collections. When you’re searching for vintage police gear and other collectibles on eBay, you can use this guide to help make your search easier.

What types of police antiques and collectibles are available?

To help with your search, police memorabilia is divided into categories such as these to make the search easier:

  • Patches: Patches will typically list the department or location where the patches are used. Sometimes a department will create special issues of a patch to commemorate a special occasion.
  • Badges: Obsolete badges will typically list the time period and location where the badge was originally in use. Badges can be the typical pin-on badge that is attached to a uniform or a pocket-style badge that’s affixed to a wallet or other leather backing. There are also badges that can be affixed to hats as well. Some badges will also list a badge number that can be helpful in identifying its history.
  • Equipment: Some of the most common antique police equipment available will be handcuffs. Other common items include vests or vintage equipment from police vehicles.
  • Police whistles: Vintage police whistles will have the manufacturer’s name stamped onto the body of the whistle. These will be typically made in brass or nickel-plated brass. Some whistles will have a design or emblem embossed on it and can make it easier to identify.
How are police collectibles priced?

Older and rarer collectibles such as badges will carry a higher price. Items where the background and history are known will also carry a premium price. When looking at listings, you should consider the condition of the police memorabilia when considering the price. If there is any wear or damage to the items, the listing will generally point them out or you can see the condition through the images.

What are some tips for finding police memorabilia for sale?

If you’re starting a new collection of antique police equipment or other police antiques, decide on what you want to collect. Items like badges and patches can be found at the state and local level. When searching for antique clothing like hats or uniforms, you’ll want to take a look at the item’s condition.

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