Everyday stories and memorabilia from the First World War preserved in massive European archive
With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War approaching, a European project is digitally documenting personal memorabilia before it is lost forever to time and indifference.
Oxford University military historian Everett Sharp explains: "The main aim of the project is to look at the awfulness of war and its effects on families. What strikes me is that in 1915 both British and German soldiers were writing home from the front saying 'I hope this war is over soon.'"
Burglars seize helmets, firearms and other WW1 militaria from Verdun Memorial
"It's a downright profanation," says Xavier Pierson, director of the Verdun Memorial, which was burgled for the first time in its 33-year history. The privately run memorial, which marks the 1916 Battle of Verdun, doubles as a museum with 3,000 pieces of French and German WWI memorabilia. The burglars seized over 40 of the most valuable items, including battle helmets, firearms and a display cabinet full of cigarette lighters. The entire haul was worth up to $40,000.
The Welsh Voices of the Great War project collects WWI memorabilia and militaria-
If you've got a First World War German helmet around the house Dr Gethin Matthews would like to hear from you. He's manager of "the Welsh Voices of the Great War" project that's been touring the country seeking militaria from 1914-1918. The project is creating an online archive of WWI memorabilia to give an insight into what life was like for soldiers. "I've read lots of accounts of soldiers saying they've captured a German platoon and now they all have German helmets, but I haven't seen one yet. ... We had a bayonet which is a really nasty implement. I hadn't realised how long they are."
First World War medals are a great investment for militaria collectors
After the death of Harry Patch, the last living soldier who fought in the trenches, the demand for WWI medals has increased, as collectors invest in a militaria market that offers both limited supply and high demand. In 2008, the medals of Captain Siegfried Sassoon - including a 1914-15 Star, a British War medal and a 1918 Victory medal - fetched £4,375. A Christie's auction in Melbourne in 2009 saw a Victoria Cross awarded to Australian soldier George Mawby Ingram to go at £271,539. In 2006, Bonham's in Sydney got a world record price for a Victoria Cross granted to Captain Alfred Shout - £410,000.
First World War militaria to be auctioned off in Wrexham
A collection of WW1 militaria is to be auctioned off in Wrexham. The items, collected by a single vendor, offer a view into day-to-day life during the war. Among the highlights is trench art made by soldiers. There are also various military medals, including a German Iron Cross (1914) and a number of "death plaques". The most extensive element is ephemera: letters and documents about life on the front line and at home during the war. Auctioneer Dyfed Griffiths said: "The collection was compiled by a military historian who travelled ... collecting pieces and would meticulously research every item."
Awards of German WWI ace Adolf Ritter von Tutschek fetch $28,250 (WW1 militaria)
A rare group of 3 medals given to World War I German flying ace Adolf Ritter von Tutschek soared to $28,250 in an auction. The lot consisted of his original named and engraved Pour Le Merit "Blue Max" award; his cased silver Iron Cross medal (boasting a nice silver age patina); and his engraved cut-out pilot's badge (engraved with his name and in a leatherette box). Von Tutschek was a soldier turned fighter pilot who began flying with Germany's Jagstaffel 2 force in January 1917, later gaining command of the Jagdeschwader 2. The ace, flying Fokker D-1 green tri-plane, had 27 kills before he was downed on Mar. 15, 1918.
A collection of messages from WW1 troops to their nurse has turned up
A rare collection of personal messages from First World War troops to their nurse has turned up. Minerva Thomas worked at a Voluntary Aid Development (VAD) hospital on Stanwell Road in Penarth, Wales, where she cared for injured troops who had returned from the trenches. Her daughter kept the book, and after her death the rare collection ended up into the hands of a local collector in Penarth. The collector said: "I couldn't believe it when I first looked at it. These injured soldiers will all have passed away by now but their messages really bring them to life and make us realise they were not so different to us."
Collecting war: Conference on WW1 militaria, memorabilia, trench art
Trench art - the souvenirs carved by WWI soldiers from artillery shells, bullet cartridges, wood, bone and other materials – was a response to the horrors and boredom in the trenches. Historians, collectors and manufacturers from around the world will be meeting at the In Flanders Fields Museum for the first ever conference on trench art and other such war souvenirs. "Despite popular opinion, the majority of First World War trench art items were made by civilians during the inter-war years (1919-1939), mainly by returning refugees who produced them from battlefield scrap in order to raise money," explains Nicholas Saunders.
First World War battlefield spoon returns to family
Over 95 years after Peter Friel perished at the Somme, his grandson held in his hands the spoon which Friel used to eat his rations in the WWI trenches. The spoon was stumbled upon by David Canning and Don O'Donnel in a First World War memorabilia shop on a trip to Belgium's Ypres War Graves. The store owner, Patrik Indevuyst, told that he had located the spoon on the old battle site. After checking the service number, he learned that the spoon belonged to a Peter Friel, serving with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Rare WWI memorabilia for sale - Kiwi Gallipoli Diary, Nurse Uniform
Lawson's November auction is filled with rare memorabilia. Highlights include Kiwi diary from Gallipoli, with complete daily records from the first day of landing on April 25 1915 to retreat in September. An intimate account, the soldier records shooting the Turks in the morning, then swimming in the sea in the afternoon. --- A set of Gallipoli photos from Australia's best war photographer Frank Hurley is a unique opportunity for collectors. With 50 items, it's the largest portfolio of Frank Hurley`s work to be presented in one auction in recent times. --- The full apparel for a World War I nurses uniform will also be up for grabs.
First World War ship wreck ring goes on display in Orkney
The wedding ring of a WWI sailor, which was discovered on the seabed 89 years after a warship ran aground, is going on display in Orkney. It belonged to Stanley Cubiss, who was one of 188 crewmen who died when two British warships ran ashore on South Ronaldsay on 12 Jan. 1918. The ring was found by divers and returned to the sailor's family. Stanley Cubiss's nephew Malcolm donated the ring and other memorabilia including photos and medals. HMS Opal and HMS Narborough ran aground in a snowstorm during the First World War. The captain of the Opal signalled "blinding snow" before his last message "urgent, run aground".
SS Laurentic - Own your share of sunken wartime gold
Shipwrecks, gold bullion, and a chance of a share in buried treasure... no, it's not the Caribbean, but Lough Swilly in County Donegal. The owners of a ship which sank in the lough in 1917 are to sell shares in the 20 gold bars still in the wreck. The SS Laurentic was a passenger ship but during World War I it was used to transport gold to pay for munitions. The majority of the 43 tons of gold have been recovered, but the remaining bars are worth £10m. Diver Ivan Irwin: "It's been salvaged 2 or 3 times so it's in a fairly broken up state, but you never know, they're still there..."
WWI sword of Australian Light Horse Brigade stolen
Pawn shops should be on the lookout for a stolen WW1 sword and rifle used in the Australian Light Horse Brigade at the Battle of Beersheba in 1917. The First World War artefacts were stolen during a break-in at the Auburn RSL. The Beersheba battle in southern Palestine is famous for the Australian Light Horse Brigade's striking charge while under fire. Both sword and rifle were donated by a man whose father was in the brigade and had them at Beersheba.
New Cape Coral Marine receives World War I ring (Article no longer available from the original source)
A ring bought by a First World War Marine and passed to another member of the Corps in the 1950s has been given to a new Cape Coral soldier fresh out of boot camp. In a ceremony in Cape Coral, retired Corporal Eugene Seamann passed on the relic to Thomas Rall, who just graduated boot camp. "I could feel it was time," Seamann said. The ring was passed down to him in 1957 by a marine, who learned Seamann was about to enter the Marines. The veteran said he wished to pass on a legacy, a ring he had bought from a shop in New York as he awaited his discharge after a World War I tour.
Prized militaria goes to auction - Light Horse Medals of Gallipoli warrior
Australian and German militaria, dating from the First World War to the present era were taken out of their glass casings and velvet pouches for an auction at Queensland's Legacy House, which holds 2 auctions every year from donations made by veterans' families. Lot number 17 was of special interest to military memorabilia collectors - a trio of Australian Light Horse medals, which belonged to an original ANZAC, Second Lieutenant O'Hara. They sold for $3000. Also up for auction: a brass clock from US naval ship "Seth Thomas", bayonets, swords, flags, helmets, caps and jack boots.
Oxford researchers: Nationwide appeal for WW1 memorabilia for new archive
A nationwide drive for First World War memorabilia will form an online archive commemorating the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day. The archive - free resource, created by Oxford University English Faculty researchers - will be used to help future generations realize what the war meant to soldiers and families. People are being urged to go through their attics and take photos of items from the era hidden there. The appeal is looking for artefacts, letters, diaries and stories which have been handed down the generations. "Some of the items may be in a fragile condition... and are at risk of being lost forever."
Toy soldiers tribute - Melting WWI shells into "soldiers of peace"
Ivan Sinnaeve, nicknamed "Shrapnel Charlie" by a Canadian who couldn't pronounce his name, keeps alive memories of one of history's bloodiest battles by melting the World War 1 shells and transforming them into toy soldiers that he calls "soldiers of peace." "I can't make them quick enough," said Sinnaeve, as he showed off some of the 250 shiny lead bagpipers he produced for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. He was commissioned by local and Scottish organizers to make the 6-inch-tall Scottish Black Watch Regiment figurines from shells found where the regiment fought.
World War One lifesaver up for auction
A Cigarette case that saved the life of a young World War 1 soldier from Keevil is being sold. While fighting with the Army Service Corps in France and Belgium during the Great War, Private O.T. House came under enemy fire. Fortunately for him he was carrying a white metal cigarette case, in his top pocket - a decision that saved his life after one bullet struck the case on its hinge. Now the case, complete with the scars of the miraculous escape, will go on sale. "The hinge is the strongest point. If the bullet had hit the case at any other point it would have gone straight through. He was extremely lucky."
Diggers at the Western Front - Collection of WWI memorabilia
There is just a day or two left to see a rare collection which documents the history of Australians on the Western Front in World War 1. The collection of memorabilia "Caught on the Wire: Australians on the Western Front 1916-1918" also records the significance of St George's Cathedral in remembering those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice. The exhibition has been meticulously researched and mounted by the Army Museum of WA.
NZ Gallipoli painting sells for $A100,000
Pre-auction controversy didn't stop war artist Horace Moore-Jones' famous Gallipoli painting selling for $A100,000. The watercolour, titled Simpson and his Donkey, was the feature piece of a collection of 140 war paintings and sketches sold. Moore-Jones painted the watercolour in New Zealand in 1920 from a photograph taken during the Gallipoli landing in 1915. Disputes over whether the painting was an original, and whether the heroic medic was the Australian Field Ambulance officer John Simpson Kirkpatrick, surrounded the lead-up to the auction. Art historians claim up to 6 versions were painted by Moore-Jones after WW1.
A Gallipoli watercolour claimed to portray Simpson and his donkey
A Gallipoli watercolour "Simpson and his Donkey" by British artist Horace Moore-Jones, claimed to portray Simpson and his donkey, and tipped to draw $50,000 at auction, may depict an obscure New Zealand medic. It was assumed to show legendary Australian Field Ambulance officer John Simpson Kirkpatrick rescuing a comrade before his own fatal wounding in the first weeks of the ANZAC landings. Many New Zealand historians now insist it is based on a photograph of NZ Medical Corps officer Dick Henderson. One of 5 versions produced by Moore-Jones, it is the main attraction in the sale of a private collection of war art worth $500,000.
Godley`s Map of Gallipoli Bought by Alexander Turnbull Library
The Alexander Turnbull Library has purchased a map that was used by Major General Godley, commander of the New Zealand and A Divisions, at Gallipoli during the landings at Anzac Cove. The map itself is the standard 1:40 000 scale printed map of the Gallipoli area that was issued to staff officers before the landings. Superimposed on the map in handwriting is information about Turkish troop positions that was available up to the 24th of April 1915. The map was used as a working command map and records Godley`s thoughts on where the Anzac front line was during those first days. A low resolution image of the map is available on the National Library Catalogue.
Boom in prices of memorabilia as interest in the Anzac legend grows
Sketches and paintings by artists on the battlefields of Gallipoli and France are fetching up to $50,000. And an auction of 140 WWI and II paintings to be held in Sydney after Anzac Day is expected to reap up to $780,000. A small postcard sized 1915 watercolour of Gallipoli by wartime artist Horace Moore-Jones sold recently for $50,000. "The market in these war paintings has really taken off in the last few years. There is a real passion among people buying these works. They are big war buffs and amateur historians, and a lot of these paintings are prephotography so these are the only real accounts we have of what went on in World War I."
WW1 Scapa war relics and militaria sold for £200,000
Relics from German battleships sunk off Orkney were among a collection of antiques which have sold for £200,000. 74 German ships were scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919 to stop them falling into British hands. Of the items salvaged from the fleet, an imperial German part-dinner service went for £696, the ship's clock for £1,032, the telegraph for £480 and the silvered searchlight for £696. The most expensive item was a mid-19th Century carved ship's figurehead - £10,820. The total of 580 lots went for £223,680 - more than double the estimated proceeds.
Scapa war relics from German battleships set for auction
Relics from German battleships sunk off Orkney are among a lifetime collection of antiques going under the hammer. A ship's clock and other items were retrieved from the fleet sunk at Scapa Flow after the First World War in 1919. The array of auction items was salvaged from the wrecks and collected by Norris Wood at his home on the island. The collection is now expected to sell for thousands of pounds at Bonhams in Edinburgh.
Memorabilia collection of World War I ammunition rocket in value
A schoolboy has seen his collection of World War I ammunition rocket in value. Nick Finlay, 12, has bought hand-engraved shell-casings with his pocket money for the past two years. He took an interest in WWI memorabilia fascinated by stories of his great-grandfather's exploits in the Great War. He has since picked up 40 of the brass cylinders in France. Nick paid just £200 for the shells, but experts valued his collection at £1500. During the war, there was a craze for soldiers to carve intricate designs into the brass shells that were left behind after the live round had been fired out of artillery canons.
Double VC winner's letter from the trenches sold for £1,040
A First World War hero's letter from the trenches has been sold at auction for £1,040. Captain Noel Chavasse became the most decorated serviceman in British military history, winning the VC twice. The army medic was killed while serving with the 10th Battalion of the King's Regiment. The letter was not in mint condition and was sent to a friend of Chavasse's. The captain's first Victoria Cross award came after he saved 20 lives by tending to casualties in front of German trenches at Guillemot, on the Somme, in 1916. The second was bestowed after he died at Ypres in 1917.
The art of trench warfare - Militaria market coming alive
Trench art is a type of folk art from discarded wartime equipment and found objects by soldiers in between military actions. It is closely related to PoW work. Hardly collected since the 1950s, the category is attracting new buyers as the centenary of the start of the World War 1 approaches. The same has happened in other fields around the time of a centenary, resulting in a market reappraisal: new books, auctions and higher prices. Auction forums now have categories servicing trench art collectors, while collections are emerging for exhibitions in general museums, as well as more obvious military memorial collections.
WWI relic - 75 mm artillery shell cartridge with an American eagle
Deemed priceless, a one-of-a-kind World War 1 relic is now the property of Bandera County. Donated by John Standish, the 75 mm artillery shell cartridge, bearing an American eagle and the dates 1914-1918, was hand embossed by Standish' father, a WWI veteran and 10th generation descendant of Captain Myles Standish - the second person to step onto Plymouth rock from the Mayflower. Standish was wary of donating the artifact to a museum because he was seeking a guarantee against trade with collectors. "It was time to turn it over to a responsible caretaker. None of the museums would accept my donation without promising they would never sell or trade the item."
Soldier's war 1915 diary sells for £6600 at auction
A diary kept by a soldier in the trenches during the World War I has sold at auction for £6600. Private James "Jimmy" Nicol Beatson of the Ninth Battalion, the Royal Scots, wrote the diary before dying in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He kept the diary between Feb and Dec 1915. The document offers an insight into the life of an ordinary soldier during some of the worst days of the 1914-1918 conflict. He describes in detail the terrors of battle and life in the waterlogged trenches, as well as the hardships suffered by the lower ranks. The diary describes his crawl through the skeleton of a French soldier.
First world war war-time trench art (Article no longer available from the original source)
"Trench art" refers to objects or mementos made by soldiers or POWs during World War 1. Objects used to make trench art were artillery shell fragments, helmets and military uniform buttons. Wood from airplane propellers was used to carve clocks and picture frames. Items like matchbox covers, cigarette cases and lighters were bought by the POWs captors. Usually trench art pieces bear no maker`s mark. The Rosenberg Library is showing trench art in its collection, like a model submarine made from shell cartridges, a letter opener decorated with a copper German coin pfennig and an ashtray featuring a miniature Prussian helmet called a pickelhaube.
Collector Preserves WWI history and militaria (Article no longer available from the original source)
When Emory Dockery is not at the Darby House sharing stories about General William O. Darby, he is traversing the country, picking up artifacts and memorabilia from American wars along the way. He has amassed a collection of rare militaria from the Great War. On the walls of his office in the Darby House, Dockery displays authentic posters, certificates and scarves from World War I. He has collected certificates given to soldiers for their valiant service in combat. One such certificate was sent and signed by French Premier Georges Clemenceau to the families of soldiers killed in France.
Royal Mail to issue Somme anniversary stamps
The Royal Mail will mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme with special commemorative stamps that evoke the sacrifice of the young soldiers who gave their lives in one of the World War One's bloodiest battles. The Lest We Forget - collection will include a new First Class stamp portraying bright red poppies emerging from barbed wire stems. There will also be 4 stamps representing the thousands of British soldiers who died in the assault on German lines.
First World War era coins
Few stories are more dramatic than the destruction of Germany`s economy at the end of World War I. Deficit spending drove the German mark to all but worthlessness at the end of the war. As a general rule, German paper money of that era is worthless. Bills, some of which were denominated in the trillions of marks, sell as novelties for a few cents each. However, a contemporary letter about the situation would draw attention. --- A 1915 Canadian quarter. Only 242,382 were minted. Few pre-1920 Canadian coins were saved by collectors. Coins in nice condition, especially scarce dates, are hard to come by and command substantial premiums.
Stolen World War I vintage handgun returned (Article no longer available from the original source)
A World War I vintage handgun, priceless as a keepsake to the family of a certified war hero, was returned to its owner - nearly a decade after it was stolen from a Grayling Military museum. Police recovered the weapon, locked and loaded in the waistband of a arrested juvenile. Now owners, the Stevens clan, is hoping this will lead to the finding of the rest family heirloom that was stolen with the gun: the Distinguished Service Medal and the framed certificate, signed by renowned Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing. The gun, a Model 1911 Colt 45 automatic, the medal and a souvenir helmet from a German soldier were among items stolen.
Souvenir of JRR Tolkien's WW1 ordeal on show
A Webley Mark VI revolver carried at the Battle of the Somme by JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, is to go on display next month. The weapon was acquired by London's Imperial War Museum from the Tolkien estate and will be shown at the museum and in an online exhibition marking the 90th anniversary of the battle. Tolkien served in the trenches as a signaller from July to October 1916.
Coins issued by German cities during World War I
A 1918 coin that is not listed in the standard catalog of world coins. The front has a big 25 surrounded by "kriegsgeld 1918 pfennig." The back shows a shield and the words "coblenz gultig bis 1 jahr nach friedensschluss." --- In wartime, people hoard gold, silver and even copper coins. During and after WWI, german cities produced coins and paper money. The german government fought the war with borrowed money. Prices doubled between 1914 and 1918. In the hyperinflation that followed the war, the mark lost all value. As the monetary system collapsed, the mark traded at more than 1 trillion marks to the dollar.
Victoria Cross awarded twice to the same man only three times
The Victoria Cross is highest award for valour and only three men have been awarded one twice. The machine-gun bullets hissing above his head, Captain Noel Chavasse staggered through the fallen soldiers and around smoking shell craters to carry the wounded man to safety. With the cries of the injured ringing in his ears, he stumbled towards the front line, promising he would return to rescue them. Incredibly, he managed to keep his word. Noel was perhaps the bravest man to emerge from the First World War - a hero among heroes. But his courage cost him his life in one of the most inspiring stories to emerge from the trenches.
Irish Artifacts Exceed Sale Estimates, Fetch $4.2
Medals, letters and parliamentary papers marking Ireland's fight for independence from British rule in the early 20th century exceeded estimates at auction, signaling growing interest in Irish historical artifacts. The auction coincides with the 90th anniversary of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising, and the Irish government's first official commemoration of the event in more than 30 years. It taps a growing demand for historical artifacts.