Blatantly fake trench art seen in the UK


Yesterday at a militaria show I saw one of the classic trench art brass sword type letter openers for sale. These are often seen with cartridge cases for the handle.

The blade was engraved with “Somme 1916”.

The problem was that the cartridge case used for the handle was a .300 Win Mag.

I have seen a few of these types of items around over the last few years. Obviously there will be a market for fakes with upcoming 100th anniversary of the Armistice next year.


Thanks for the “heads-up” for fakes! Tom from MN


Obviously even rarer because it’s a time-traveler trench art!


Falcon; You may be right. The guy was probably a faker out to get your money. But what if he honestly didn’t know better? Most of the WW I small arms bullets were more or less about .30 caliber and I assume (dangerous) that the blade was inserted into a bullet jacket to be used as a handle. Somme was spelled correctly and the date is right. Was the .300 case bright and shiny, or did it have a lot of patina, stains, dents, etc.? What did the guy say when you politely explained the issue? His reaction would tell a lot about his motivation. Anyway, just a thought.


The whole item looked too new to have been original. Genuine hundred year old items often look their age.

I didn’t say anything to the seller. I have tried pointing out simply misidentified items in the past and they are usually offended at anyone simply pointing out an error. I find it best not to get involved.


Almost all of the “trench art” I see listed on Ebay is more or less fake. I say fake because it was usually made after the war (either war), often made in the 60’s or 70’s even. Sometimes the sellers list the item as akin to “reproduction trench art”, or in a trench-art style, but many do not. The prices on the stuff are all over the place. Sometimes the components used to make the item are genuine, sometimes not.