From ancient centurion helmets to WWI flight jackets, the world of militaria is immensely broad. Spanning countless periods of service, often defining the course of history, military memorabilia has a large community of supporters in Canberra and beyond.
Being the nation’s capital, home of much of the public service and the administrative headquarters of the Australian Defence Force, may have something to do with it. Yet, regardless of how far flung we may be, our nation’s military plays an intrinsic part of many family stories. With precious artefacts tucked away in many of our homes, it is important to ensure this legacy endures for generations to come.
Whether you’re a serving member, veteran, relative or simply a supporter, military memorabilia provides a tangible way to connect. From small mementos, historical artefacts, collectables, and authorised memorabilia, there are many ways to tap into this connection. If you are looking for some military memorabilia and collectables, then you have come to the right place. Read on below to find out more.
What makes a great military memorabilia and collectable store?
The best military memorabilia and collectable stores enable everyone to honour those who have served and cherish a piece of that proud heritage. We think the following attributes separate the best from the rest:
- Well connected. Great stores have connections in all the right places. From affiliations with the defence force through to auction houses and individual collectors, they know the industry inside out. These connections make sourcing and supplying that little bit easier, particularly when it comes to hard-to-find items.
- Military specialists. While many can differentiate an item from another, most do not have the knowledge or insight provided by a specialist. When it comes to military memorabilia and collectables, this expertise is simply invaluable. Not only does it show an appreciation for the artefacts themselves; it also denotes a deep respect for our armed forces.
- Extensive range. The best military memorabilia and collectables stores are known for their extensive product range. From lapel pins and commemorative plaques through to unique collectables, they fulfil needs of avid enthusiasts and the public alike. Their comprehensive collections capture both common, and lesser-known items catering to the needs of all clients. Moreover, should a desired item not be in stock, they will work wonders to source it for you.
- Customisation. While ready-made, off the shelf products do serve their purpose, many of us seek something a little more personalised. Be it a reference to a service, a defence unit, or group there in, the best stores have it covered. And, for that extra special touch services like laser engraving, etching, embroidery, or complete customisation are a bonus.
- Quality assurance. All leading militaria stores appreciate the importance of quality. They understand the sentimental significance that accompanies any product purchase and ensure quality is reflected as such. Importantly, they have well researched and fact checked the authenticity of each piece. Look for premium products, quality detailing, warranties, and after care. Also consider past clientele as their stature will help inform general quality standards.
The best military memorabilia and collectables in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.
As one of Canberra’s, and indeed the nation’s, first choices for military products, Military Shop have been trusted by members of the Australian Defence Force and first responders for over thirty years.
As the military merchandise arm of BrandNet, Military Shop leverages a wealth of expertise from the group’s multiple operations. As online store operators on behalf of Australia’s defence organisations, they are a trusted source known for quality and authenticity.
With a capability that extends across the design, manufacture, importation, distribution, wholesale, and retail of militaria and military items, Military Shop attracts individuals, businesses, and organisations alike.
Their range centres on three core pillars; military gear, collectables, along with medals and mounting. Working closely with international suppliers and Australian manufacturers, their military gear collection encompasses apparel, footwear, accessories, and protective equipment.
Their medal services include the supply of replica medals, medal mounting, and advice. And, for those in need of military branded items, Military Shop offers a large selection of Navy, Army, and Air Force branded items and military commemorative gifts.
This range of branded products and event-based merchandise is extensive. From figurines, poppy themed items, and stationary, through to medallions, coins, and military badges, it leaves no stone unturned. What’s more, Military Shop offers a wonderful branding service that allows for a personalised touch and a tangible way to connect with Australia’s military.
Moreover, Military Shop are proud supporters of veteran organisations and charities and are heavily involved in sharing Australia’s proud military history through their products and collections. If you are looking for military memorabilia and collectables in Canberra, look no further than Military Shop.
Andrew Herring shared this glowing review on Google, “A quality retailer. The team members are professional and helpful, the range impressive and prices are value for money. When I returned a product, the staff were courteous, understanding and generous, agreeing to replace it. This is a business I'll come back to.”
The Auction Barn is a multigenerational family business that specialises in the auction of antiques and collectables. Well known amongst Canberra’s militaria community, their monthly specialist sales focus on military memorabilia and collectables as a key category of interest.
Offering a range of miliary items such as uniforms, weaponry, books, photographs, models, and prints. The Auction Barn can also help with evaluating any rare collectables or family heirlooms within the militaria space.
Mark McKey shared this review on Google, “Love this place. Site is easy to navigate, the pictures are accurate, payment and pick up is always quick and efficient. Fantastic and friendly customer service.”
Veteran-owned and family operated, Ironside Military & Security specialise in military, survival, and archery products.
As proud servers and members of the Australian Defence Force for over ten years, they have been addressing the needs of locals far and wide.
In addition to their broad range of field gear and military clothing products, they also offer medal mounting, brass cleaning, and memorabilia.
Cameron Hoare has this to say on Google, “Great service, friendly staff, wide variety of merchandise. Owner was willing to go out of his way to find an item he did not have in the store at the time.”
Home to many countless collectables, Canberra Antiques Centre have been serving the local community since 2003. With over 500 square metres of precious antiques, the centre is home to several professional dealers.
In addition to its broad antique range, the centre also specialises in antique firearms and militaria. With items like WWI postcards, WWII ammunition boxes, presentation boxes, cases, and medals they attract military collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Shayne Lynch had this to say on Google, “I love wandering through the centre. Lots of furniture, silverware, and militaria. There are always many somethings to admire and purchase.”
A part of the larger BrandNet Group, Air Force Shop offers easy and convenient access to a wide range of Air Force branded and approved products. From field gear, uniforms, and medals, through to gifts, memorabilia and more, their specialised air force products are extensive.
Centrally located in Fyshwick, their showroom is open six days a week. Air Force Shop also feature a range of ready-made products to suit a manner of occasions, which can incorporate customisation or branding as needed.
As Michael Parish states on Google, “Communication from this company is excellent. Ordered 2 Ceremonial Swords from them…. Packaging was carefully done…. Will definitely recommend their products and services.”
Your experience with military memorabilia and collectables in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the military memorabilia and collectable stores listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is militaria?
Militaria, otherwise known as military memorabilia, refers to the collection of military equipment of historical significance. Items there may include things like weapons, helmets, uniforms, military orders, decorations, and insignia.
How are military collectibles classified?
Militaria is often classified into two main groups; antique – or items before World War I; and vintage – items spanning the conflicts of the 20th century. Within these groups items are generally classified further, into categories such as helmets, uniforms, decorations, and weapons to name but a few.
How are military medals valued?
While there are varied factors that determine the value of a military medal, they are often dependent on the nature of the story that surrounds it. Here, a rare but anonymous medal may sell for less than a common medal that carries a compelling story behind it.
Why might I need military memorabilia?
If you’re a military supporter, enthusiastic collector, or wishing to honour a family member that has served then you may have a natural affinity with military memorabilia. Even the general public commemorating events like ANZAC Day may find the need for it too.
What commemorative items are available to honour military service?
If you are wishing to honour the service of a loved one there are many options as far as commemorative items go. Common items include coins, medals, figurines, medallions, lapel pins and more.