Kremmling collector sells Nazi, WWII memorabilia (with video)
July 13, 2017
Jenessa Watermann is a lifelong collector.
As you step into her home, an unassuming apartment nestled in the heart of Kremmling, a friendly, old pit bull will escort you into the living room, where you'll spot a cabinet full of her treasures.
She has old paintings and signs, coins from all over the world and a myriad of medical bottles from the 1800s. But perhaps her most interesting collection is a set of World War II memorabilia featuring a Nazi armband, Iron Cross and much more.
And she's selling it all.
"I felt like I needed to have it in my possession because my great grandfather was in World War II, so things like that have always fascinated me," said Watermann. "But it's not doing any good in my sock drawer. This needs to get out there to somebody who can actually appreciate it. I appreciate it very much, but there's a lot more people out there that can appreciate it a lot more."
Watermann got the collection of WWII memorabilia from an international, private seller almost two years ago, although she's kept it in her drawer the entire time due to fears of backlash from the community. Although she said she has had mostly positive responses since posting the collection for sale on the Grand County Online Garage Sale Facebook page.
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"I knew when I posted this stuff I was really going out on a limb, I was kind of scared, but I was ready to deal with the backlash and talk about what this means to me," said Watermann. "I have actually gotten a lot of really positive feedback, with people thanking me for posting. A lot of people want to come over and see it."
The collections biggest draws are a Nazi armband, Iron Cross, and a patch and parachutists card from the 11th Airborne Division of the United States Army. Nazi armbands were primarily worn by members of the Nazi political party and Schutzstaffel (SS) officers. Iron Crosses were a major military metal awarded to decorated German soldiers.
The collection has drawn a considerable amount of interest from locals who are either interested in purchasing the collection for themselves, or want to see it go to a museum in the area.
Watermann said she is interviewing everyone who inquires about the collection to make sure that it goes to a serious, qualified collector, and not a white supremacist or Nazi sympathizer. She also said that she gives extra weight to collectors who served in the war.
"I don't want it to go to the wrong person," she said. "I don't want it to go to someone who is still pro-Nazi. That's not where we're going with this. But for somebody who was in the war, that's really valuable. And it's been so long that a lot of those people don't have their war memorabilia anymore."
Watermann said that she is likely to sell the parachutists card and patch from the 11th airborne division to a gentleman who actually served in the division during the war. She hasn't decided where she will sell the Nazi memorabilia yet, although she did say she would consider donating the collection to a museum if she can't find a qualified buyer.
Watermann began collecting coins with her grandfather when she was just seven years old, and is now making a living through antiques and memorabilia. She said the money raised from selling her collections will help support her new business, Strange Things, which picks, appraises and deals coins and collectables. "I came up with it because I love strange things, the more bizarre the better," said Watermann. "We deal with whatever people are looking for, whatever we're collecting. We have some really large areas here in the county that need to be picked. People don't realize it, but there's a lot of really cool stuff here."