Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas 1914

The Princess Mary Christmas Tin 1914

Today I'm joining Joan over at Anything Goes Here for Vintage Christmas Monday. Joan has asked others to share their vintage Christmas items, so today I'm sharing a special gift I received from a friend a few years ago. This is a beautiful brass Christmas tin that was produced in 1914. I have it sitting on a table in my living room during the holiday season.

This tin and thousands of others just like it were a gift from their nation for those men and women serving in the British armed forces on Christmas Day 1914. Princess Mary, the seventeen year old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, wanted to do something special for the men and women serving their country on the battlefield. She created the "Sailors and Soldier Christmas Fund" to provide a gift for those serving in the war on Christmas Day. The response was so great that the plan eventually included all those in the King's uniform both at home and abroad.

The brass boxes about 3" x 5" x 1.5" deep contained a variety of gifts. For the men on the front lines, the boxes contained tobacco related items. Those who did not smoke received tins with sweets, and the tins for the nurses contained chocolates. Most of the tins also contained a pencil within a bullet case holder.

The polished brass tins were embossed with IMPERIUM BRITANNICUM, Princess Mary's profile surrounded by a laurel wreath with the monogram M on either side, and the names of Britain's allies: France, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Serbia, and Montenegro.

My little tin is in excellent condition. I wonder to whom it might have once belonged and what the original contents might have been. It's a sweet remembrance of those who sacrificed so much during the first World War.

Perhaps you have a family member who served in the British forces during this time and one of these tins is in your possession. Thank you for stopping by today. Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I always appreciate your notes.

Deana @ Alchemy fine Living has recently posted about the Pay It Forward gift that she received from me. Deana owns a store that sells a unique blend of antiques and vintage home decor items. She is always sharing a great design idea or a fabulous makeover of a vintage item. Deana is one talented lady! If you would like to play the game, hurry on over to Deana's. The first three to respond will receive a PIF gift from Deana.

Then visit Joan @ Anything Goes Here for a list of participants who have vintage Christmas treasures to share.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I had never heard of these tins before but I think it was about two weeks ago they were shown on "Antiques roadshow" someone had one with the cigarettes still in them!!! Jackie in Surrey

  2. Your tin is so lovely, and even more so is the beautiful story behind it... merci! Bisous... Julie Marie

  3. What a special gift to you Sarah, and how nice to display at Christmas. I did not know of these either.

    Happy Monday!

  4. I love these kinds of post, a sweet piece of history!
    Very enjoyable.

  5. Oh, Sarah! I love this. What an amazing piece. You were so lucky find this. And the fact that it was sent to those who served during the war makes it all the more special and treasured.

    I have seen a lot of British collectibles, but I have never seen one of these. Coming to your blog is always an education for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and seeing the tin.


    Sheila :-)

  6. Hi Sarah! How very interesting! Your tin is wonderful!!!

    Thank you so much for coming by my blog and leaving a sweet comment, it is truly appreciated!

    :) T

  7. Such an interesting history behind that tin! It's really beautiful, and what a wonderful thing to do for the armed forces back then. I wonder how many of these are floating around, and if they know what a piece of history they have?
    Happy VCM!

  8. Love this story! What an amazing background to a lovely item. Almost haunting, but in a good way. It seems like something I'd see on "Antiques Roadshow" (one of my fave. programs)
    Have a great day
    :+) Franny

  9. What a wonderful tin, story and terrific friend for giving it to you! Thanks for sharing...

  10. What an interesting story and a beautiful tin. Thank you for sharing!!


  11. Sarah,
    Thanks for your comments today... and lucky me for getting to now be reading your posts! Your little box is so dear. It is a beautiful rememberance that will never lose it's meaningfulness. I know that you must cherish it and the friend who gave it to you!

  12. What a unique treasure! I've never seen or heard of them before. I swear, Sarah, I learn something new every time I come to your blog.
    Since I'm a nurse, do I get mine with chocolate?? Did they know nurses or what! LOL


  13. Hi Sarah
    Thanks for stopping by - That tin is wonderful, I have never seen one like it.

  14. Oh that is lovely and quite nice that you know the history about it.

  15. A very unique treasure-I have never seen one before.
    Thank you for visiting and the kind comment,

  16. What a wonderful tin. It looks copper colored....that is so unusual! Thanks for all your visits and sweet encouragement. I really appreciate it!

  17. Good Morning Sarah ~

    This is a lovely post. Such a beautiful box to adorn your holiday table.

    Thank you for stopping by my neck of the woods to say howdy...I always enjoy your visits.

    Smiles ~ Ramona

  18. Hello Sarah,
    What a truly wonderful gift your friend gave you. It is just lovely. Your story is why I love vintage items so much. I'm sure the box was treasured by someone special to have held onto for so long and took such good care of it. I'm glad it found a home with you.

  19. A wonder post including a wonderful gift, thoughtful princess, and a little history lesson. What more could we ask for? I am finishing up my visiting today and want to thank you so much for being a part of Vintage Christmas Monday. xo Joan...Your VCM Hostess.

  20. The tin is beautiful- I don't think I would be able to put it away ever. It would be a permanent display in the house. Every since my little brother has been deployed I have a tender spot, amplified, for all military stories and personal alike.

    Wonderful post, thank you for sharing and thank you so much for checking mine out as well. Welcome back anytime.

    Oh and one last thing, yes ma'am, some of them are music boxes. I wonder why I didn't post about that.

  21. Sarah, I was not aware of the gifts, but it was such a wonderful effort.

    How lucky you are to have such an exquisite treasure.

  22. Don't think I have seen one before. Thanks for sharing it with us and it's history.

  23. what an interesting story, love to read about the history of things


  24. Wow, that is really something special!
    Thank you so much for entering my giveaway, best of luck!

  25. What an amazing and beautiful piece! I love that it has M's on it (wonder why LOL)!


  26. Hi Sarah...what a special piece...lovely little tin box. Thanks for sharing the story/history behind it.

  27. Oh Sarah,
    What a beautiful little treasure you have and what a very sweet and kind friend who gave it to you. So much history behind such a tiny little thing. I love it. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful evening.


  28. WOW, Sarah...that is exquisite!! And, what a piece of history!! I love it!

    I've been in AR visiting with my children/grandchildren so I have LOTS of reading to catch up on. I hope you have a great day!

    Thanks for sharing your treasure with us!

  29. Sarah, I am so glad that Molly like her Super Molly Girl Doll. My mom sent me the link to your post and I showed it to Andrew. That was so kind of you to say such wonderful things about Andrew! We hope Molly is doing well and enjoying her new doll! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!!


  30. Like Jackie, a fellow Brit, I did not know about these boxes,I learned something about my own heritage today.
    Thank you Sarah.

  31. Hi Sarah. That tin is a real treasure and what a lovely thought behind it too.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  32. How nice to share the story of this fine little box. I once had one which I used for my stamps, and thought it was such a nice tribute to the men who served her country.
    Sharing is the heart of Christmas, isn't it?
    Always something lovely and meaningful in your blog, Sarah. Thank you.

  33. Sarah,

    The tin is a treasure. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.



Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.