Collecting Retro Kitsch: Brass Submarine Collection

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Trench Art Brass Submarine Collection

Trench Art Brass Submarine Collection

Here is photo of a small collection of brass submarines I have on display at the Retro Planet offices. You can find these statues in a variety of shapes and styles, but the WWII era subs seem to be the most desirable.

I was always under the impression that these would have been handmade by shipyard workers in their spare time. I think that may be the case for some of these, but others were probably manufactured as commemoratives for specific subs.

Pieces like these are sometimes referred to as “trench art” – a term used to describe decorative items made from battlefield objects by people involved directly and indirectly during an armed conflict. It also includes commercially produced art made from surplus materials after the war.

The first sub I ever bought was in an antiques store in Maine, not too far from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which would make sense. Since then, I have found the majority of my collection on eBay.

Do you have a unique collection? I’d love to hear about it.

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Last updated: Jun 11, 2009
Filed under: Collecting Retro Kitsch, Vintage Finds Tagged with: collecting, Trench Art, US Navy