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WW1 French Trench Art - Oversized Rings

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Hi Folks!

I have a trio of these oversized rings. They came in a collection of circus giant rings, which I am knowledgeable in, but these things have been a mystery to me for quite some time. Recently I went to reddit with them and I just learned that they're probably WW1 French trench art. 


The one marked Joyce is marked Recloses, France, 1918. Recloses is a French commune.

The one marked St. Dizier has no other markings. Saint-Dizier is a French commune.

The one marked Arras has no other markings. Arras is a city in northern France.


Like I said over in r/whatisthisthing, I would like to know who made them and why. If the purchaser embellished them, who made them? Why would someone put the name of commune on a ring? Was it where they were stationed? Were the rings made with the intent of being modified? Are they scarf rings?


So many questions!!!

Here's the thread over at reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/whatisthisthing/comments/bghrxy/giant_rings_french_communes_circa_1918_not_giant/

20190423_110403 - Copy.jpg

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They could be serviette/napkin rings however, as with most things that are a mystery, it's just a guess based on seeing similar WWI items.

I would think that unless a book or newspaper ad from 1918 turns up showing what they were actually made for you'll probably never get a 100% satisfactory reply to the answers you're looking for.

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Wadin in where angels fear to tread, I am going to suggest that these may have been made by French civilians to sell to the various troops stationed in and around these communes/communities.  It's easy to forget that even 'front line' troops might spend as much as half their time out of the line and were in France and Flanders for over four years, so there was a thriving trade in souvenirs, cheap wine and other 'commodities' aimed at soldiers with pay in their pockets.  

I suggest civilian manufacture because of the sophistication of the design on the bi-metal ring.  It could have been made by a soldier but he would, I think, have had to have access to a workshop and some fairly serious metal working skills.  Also, the '1918' inside the first example suggests to me an object which was mass produced then 'personalized' for the buyer. 

Just my thoughts.  Fascinating things and, as Tony says, the full story may not be discoverable.  

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