“Water, Water Everywhere…Except in My Canteen”

The wide-open nature of the exonumia field has always attracted me – where else can a collector find so many numismatic items turned into so many neat and unusual treasures? Virtually all of my exonumia collection revolves around coins, or at least items that used to be coins before their identity was altered forever. One of the numerous sub-divisions of exonumia is the discipline of “trench art.” Just like it sounds, trench art covers the items made by GIs in WW I and WW II, and no doubt in Korea and Viet Nam as well, though I’m most familiar with the World War issues in my own collection. Indeed, I only recently discovered the term “trench art” and nowadays many of my online exonumia searches contain the phrase.


This session’s focus is on a tiny canteen made from two Lincoln wheat cents. The pieces were slightly dished to give them a bulging appearance, and then they were joined together at their rims with small patches of solder. The front of the canteen is a 1944-D cent, while the reverse simply displays the wheat reverse of a Lincoln cent of the era. A brass hanger is attached to the top of the canteen, and its tiny stopper is made of copper. Like so many other neat items in my collection, this tiny WW II-vintage canteen sits on one of the two velvet trays I keep on my desktop at work, along with several other trench art pieces I’ve collected over the years. On a royal purple velvet tray I keep American items and, on the royal blue velvet tray next to it, I keep my world items. Indeed, as I glance at the U.S. tray I spy the next item I’ll be writing about in the Exonumia Corner. Until next time!

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