Brisk business for Normandy D-Day memorabilia

2nd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

ARROMANCHES, France, June 2 (AFP) - With the international commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings just days away, the trade in D-Day memorabilia is enjoying a brisk turnover in the sea-front stores of the port of Arromanches.

ARROMANCHES, France, June 2 (AFP) - With the international commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings just days away, the trade in D-Day memorabilia is enjoying a brisk turnover in the sea-front stores of the port of Arromanches.

Top-selling items are copies of the famous toy cricket used by members of the US airborne divisions to identify each other after dropping behind German lines. The metal gadgets, which emit a click when squeezed, sell for between EUR 2.5 and EUR 4 (USD 4 - USD 5).

Other souvenirs - some in special 60th anniversary packaging - include model parachutists, car registration plates marked "D-Day 1944" and the whole gamut of camouflage clothes.

For the more discerning - and wealthier - collector, it is possible to buy genuine articles dating from the Normandy campaign, such as a piece of shrapnel for EUR 8, a box of British bandages for EUR 14, a US stretcher for EUR 150, and a German grenade for EUR 200.

"In general German military objects are more in demand than British or American ones," said one saleswoman, Sylvie.

A German helmet bearing insignia can go for as much as EUR 600, while recently a US helmet found covered with a crust of sea-shells in the mud of the beaches went for EUR 240.

But caveat emptor! Counterfeits circulate in large numbers. Salesmen are known to offer "authentic" items to shop-keepers, with the whispered assurance that many more of the same can be procured on demand.

"You have got to know your stuff or you end up being conned by one of these fakes, which are being produced in ever greater numbers," said Sylvie.

© AFP

Subject: French news


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