We are not manufacturers, tailors, hatters or outfitters. This is an online antiques and collectables shop – we sell original items for collectors – these date from Victorian times to the present day. We only sell items that we believe are genuine and in good 'collectable' condition. It is the nature of our business that the items we sell tend to be 'used', rather than 'new'.
To give you confidence in buying by mail order, everything we send is 'on approval' - if the item you receive is not what you want, simply send it back well-packaged, within 14 days of receipt. We ask that you pay postage costs both ways so that we are not out of pocket. Despite you paying the postage, mail order is still a lot cheaper than driving to a Militaria fair, auction or shop in town.
We offer a no-quibble guarantee of authenticity. Our criteria for inclusion is 'Would I have this in my personal collection?' If the answer is 'no', then we do not offer it for sale.
Pictures of insignia on this website are taken from items which were owned by Ian G Kelly (Militaria) at the time the picture was taken. The images are to help you identify the item and might not be of the exact items that you receive. The item you receive will be very similar (perhaps even the exact item shown in the picture).
Some insignia types have been in service for many years, with government contracts awarded to different manufacturers. This leads to minor variations, including different types of fastenings. In the nature of dealing in authentic items, variations exist that are too minor to justify a separate photograph or catalogue entry. If you are looking for a particular variation, including type of fastening, please let us know what you want at the time of ordering and we will try to oblige.
Button Back-Marks. Many buttons are marked on the back with the name of the manufacturer and some collectors like to collect all of the back-mark varieties (for example, there are around 75 different back-marks for the 1902-1952 British Army 'General Service' button). If you want a specific back-mark, please tell us which you are looking-for, rather than asking us which we have. We do not have time to list all of our variations.
Images and text are copyright © Ian G Kelly (Militaria).
We are not tailors or outfitters, but sell insignia for collectors, who do not necessarily want fastenings. Due to established practice and customer preference, our stock is sold without fastenings such as back-plates, clutch-grips, split pins (cotter pins) or receiver shanks for screw-fit buttons, however these are (usually) available separately.
Please bear in mind that many badges (such as cap badges with vertical 'slider' fittings) do not require these fastenings, and for many older badges, fittings such as a matching back-plate simply do not exist. With the exception of screw-fit buttons, uniform buttons are normally sewn onto uniforms with a needle and thread and do not usually need special fastenings.
Screw-fit buttons are usually designed for officers' shoulder boards (in some countries the chinstrap buttons for peaked (visor) caps are also screw-fit). These have been made using a variety of sizes of screw-thread over the years. If you want a shoulder shank to go with the button, it is better to order the shank at the same time as the button so that we can try to match the thread-size. We do not always have the correct size of shoulder shank in stock, particularly for very old buttons, so please contact us before ordering if this is important to you.
We are not manufacturers, tailors or outfitters, but deal in original items for collectors. Although we might stock more than one example of an item, nearly all items are sold as single items, including buttons, collar badges, shoulder titles and rank badges. Our main business is with insignia for collectors, and collectors tend only to want single examples. The other factor is that we might only stock a single example, particularly of older rarer items.
If any items are sold as pairs, they will be clearly marked "(Pair)". Where there is potential for confusion, some items are also marked as '(Single)'.
If in doubt, assume that the price is based on single quantities, not pairs.
Matching Items. In the nature of dealing in authentic items, our stock often comes from a variety of sources. This may mean that items with the same stock code do not necessarily match due to age, weathering, ‘wear & tear’, manufacturing variations, the way that it was stitched onto uniform, or a minor change in uniform regulations over the years. Whilst we have large stocks of some types of insignia, we generally sell items as 'singles' and cannot guarantee that these will form matching sets.
If an exact match is important to you, please ask us to check our stock before you buy.
Button Sizes. Button diameters are traditionally measured in 'lignes' (40 lignes = 1 inch). Very few people have a way to measure lignes, so we use digital calipers to measure the button diameters in millimetres. Lignes rarely have an exact equivalent in whole millimetres, which is why we round the measurement to the nearest half-millimetre when describing button sizes.
Mirror-Image Pairs. Some military collar and arm badges are made as "mirror-image" pairs: typically these are badges with animals and they are made to face left or right; usually so that they face forwards when worn on a uniform. Because we buy from a variety of sources, we cannot guarantee badges facing left and right will be an exact match. We usually sell these as single items and use the following abbreviations:
FL Facing Left (as seen by an observer)
FR Facing Right (as seen by an observer)
If a badge is marked FL or FR, it is undoubtedly a single, not a pair.
In the ‘chance’ nature of dealing in collectable original items, many items are one-of-a-kind or stocked as single quantities. We cannot ‘buy to order’ or predict future stock: we might not get any for years, or might buy 20 next week.
In the case of one-off collectable items, our advice is to buy whatever you can, whenever you can, as it may be a long time before you get another opportunity.