1945 Souvenir Ashtrays

In 1945, after the war had ended, many allied troops were garrisoned in Germany and compared to the defeated German population they had a significant amount of free cash to spend. Most men were aware of the momentous events they were part of and so souvenirs were eagerly sought after. Whilst some souvenirs were sold directly to soldiers by the civilian population, there were rules in place forbidding fraternisation and so it was often easier for units to get together and place an order for a souvenir with a local manufacturer and then sell these on to the men. This then allowed large enough production runs to make bespoke souvenirs a worthwhile proposition, such as this pair of stamped brass ashtrays:

Each ashtray is made from sheet brass that has been stamped in an industrial press to form the image, as can be seen on the reverse:

This would have required two dies to be manufactured, one for the top and one for the reverse with the design on each coming together to push the brass into the desired pattern. This sort of investment was only worth while if there was a large number of the item being ordered. Luckily for the German brass company, this set of ashtrays was ordered by the 1st Army Corps, whose badge of a spearhead on a diamond can be seen in the centre of each ashtray:

1 Corps were part of the post war British Army on the Rhine that occupied Germany and remained there until 1947. These ashtrays were presumably bought by a member of this corps, either as a personal souvenir or to bring back for family members as a present.

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