World War II artifacts and antiques are some of the most valuable collectibles in the world. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of the technology and gadgets that emerged during this time were completely revolutionary, and unlike anything ever seen in history. Another, is that with all the bombs and gunfire of WWII, naturally a good chunk of artifacts were destroyed beyond recognition making the ones that do remain extremely rare.
With the sheer magnitude of collectibles from this period, it’s excessively hard to single out the most unique, but we’ve done our best in this list:
Navy Pin; Trench Art
The exchange of letters and tokens of affection between loved ones at home and soldiers on the battlefront is one of the most tragic and beautiful traditions of any war time. Soldiers didn’t have the resources to send their “special someones” gold and diamonds from war zones, but they often made use of the materials that were available, like wire, wood, and inexpensive metals to make trinkets to send home. This handcrafted pin which reads “Sweetheart” and “USN” in wire is just one example.
July 4th 1945—Menu, USS Boston
Even in the devastating times of war, there were also times of celebration. Below is a menu from the USS Boston served to officers to commemorate the 4th of July. Compared to everyday wartime meals, grilled loin steak, French fried potatoes and fresh vegetables would have been a feast.
Soe Suitcase Radio
The National WW II Museum describes the Soe Suitcase radio as the following: “Beginning in 1941, the British SOE and the American OSS intelligence agencies both parachuted agents into occupied Europe to gather intelligence and organize resistant forces. Communication networks were critical for these agents, but so was the need for secrecy. One solution was the suitcase radio.”
United States Army Air Forces Jacket
Of some of the most poignant artifacts from WWII, are with no doubt, the very uniforms worn by soldiers on the front line. This jacket in particular was worn by first lieutenant Leo Dufrechou. Dufrechou was sent to the China-Burma-India theatre as a B-24 Liberator pilot and flew nineteen missions before the war ended and he was discharged.
M1917A1 Machine Gun
The amount of destruction and violence committed in WWII is haunting to this day, and as much as we might not like to think of it, it is a very real part of our history. This history is embodied by the WWII weapons that still remain in collection and museums to this day—like this M1917A1 Machine Gun.
Writer’s note: All artifacts and photos are courtesy of The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Visit their webpage here to see just how extensive their collection, and knowledge of this monumental time in history is.