Over the years I have bought many collection. Most collections have examples of what is usually called “Trench Art”. Most are 75mm French cases which say “VERDUN” or similar famous battle names. Most of this rworked ammo is not very well done BUT sitting in a trench with limited resources is certainly not the best way to create art.
Several years ago I started to categorize this kind of ammunition souvenir and displayed at the Maryland Arms Collectors Show at the Fairgrounds at Timonium. The display was well received with considerable interest and so I wrote articles for both the JOURNAL and “Shotgun News” which were also well received.
Some of the categories which I use are:
- TRENCH ART - this is actually made by soldiers as souvenirs of their service.
- PRESENTATION ART- these items are made from ammunition but are designed for presentation to make some special event.
- FUNCTIONAL ART- items designed for actual use rather than just for display.
I only collect what I call PEDIGREED AMMUNITION ART . This is material which has a connection to a specific person.
Here are a few of my favorites.
ALL ARE UNIQUE.
DOUBLE MOUNTED SET OF ISLAMIC DESIGNS EXECUTED IN SILVER AND COPPER WIRE. PRESENTED TO THE GERMAN FIELD MARSHALL COUNT KOLMAR von der GOLTZ BY THE TURKS TO COMMEMORATE THE DEFEAT OF THE BRITISH ARMY AT KUT al-AMARA APRIL 1916. ( made from German 75-1916 DATE and Austrian 75mm-1912 DATE Cases )
VON DER GOLTZ
KNIGHT’S CROSS PRESENTATION DOCUMENT HOLDER PRESENTED TO GERMAN SS GENERAL JOHANNES MUHLENKAMP . He commanded various SS divisions including WIKING and served as inspector of armor. The case is a made from a captured Soviet 45mm AT gun case and a GERMAN manufactured 45mm case for the same gun.
BUD VASE FROM THE MUHLENKAMP ESTATE. This is also made from a Soviet 45mm AT gun case and is decorated with various SS division insignia. Gold SS Runes were removed after the war to sell for money for food. Slim pickings for some SS generals’ families after the war. The solder can still be seen where the gold runes were attached.
A SCHNAPPS DECANTER IN THE FORM OF AN 8.8CM HE SHELL PRESENTED TO FIELD MARSHALL ALBERT KESSELRING BY FUZE MAKER JUNGHANS. AT THE TIME HE WAS LEADING THE GERMAN AIR FLEET IN THE “BATTLE OF BRITAIN”.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 1941
ANTI POISON GAS SHELL
KESSELRING AND FRIENDS
A COUPLE OF BRITISH PIECES
MESS GONG FROM INDIA
I offered this for sale on ebay and had the auction killed- “dangerous weapon”. I told them that it was a GONG and they replied that they were correct as the case could be reused as a gun shell. ??? Any criminals and/or terrorists out there armed with 3 pounders?
NAMED MESS GONG. STRIKER IS MADE FROM THE HANDLE OF A RACKET TYPE GRENADE.
SOME US ITEMS
This US 6 pounder navy case was made by Chester Nimitz while he was a young submariner trainee at the New London Ct. Sub. school . He was later a 5 star admiral and commanded the US central Pacific operations in WW2 .
ADMIRAL CHESTER NIMITZ
This is one of my pieces from the estate of George Harry Rose- CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL of HONOR winner USN seaman for actions during hostilites in CHINA in June 1900 often called the “BOXER rebellion”. He was a hero in military and civillian life. He is burried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Stationed aboard the USS NEWARK he was part of a landing party which carried ammunition and medical supplies to American troops at Tientsin fighting against greater enemy forces and capturing the SIKU arsenal . He later became a commercial ship’s captain after retiring as a Lt. Commander from the navy and was credited with saving 83 Americans from a ship wreck in the Bahamas.
The shell is a 4 inch 50 US Navy deck gun type. It is decorated with dragons, roses and the Masoic symbol. It is over 3 feet long and is the largest piece of Masonic “trench art” known. NOTE THE 12 inch RULER along side.
Artillery shell (75mm) urn attributed to General Shirakawa Yoshinori Commander in chief of Japanese forces in China. Killed by an assassin in Shanghai in 1932. The shell commemorates his service as minister of the army 1928.
EXAMINING THE CLOTHES IN WHICH THE GENERAL WAS MURDERED.
General Yoshinori Shirakawa (白川 義則; 1869-1932)
1916 - 1919 Head of Personnel Bureau, Ministry of War
1919 - 1921 Commandant of the Military Academy
1922 - 1923 Vice-Minister of War
1923 Head of Army Aeronautical Bureau, Ministry of War
10 Oct 1923 - 28 Jul 1926 Commander of Kwangtung Army
25 Feb 1932 - 29 Apr 1932 Commander in Chief Shanghai Expeditionary Army, China
29 Apr 1932 was assassinated by Korean nationalist Yoon Bong-Gil and died on May 26.
There was a pair of these. I sold one to a collector in New York.