As part of Isle of Man Post Office's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, it commissioned a unique miniature sheet recognising "trench art", an aspect of the "war to end all wars" which reveals more about the people involved in the conflict. The unique miniature sheet design incorporates elements of the rare artworks and a £3 Isle of Man stamp.
An important record of the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, this miniature sheet will be a vital addition to the collection of all philatelic and military enthusiasts.
The issue was inspired by the research and writing of Jane A Kimball, whose book, Trench Art: An Illustrated History, places the diverse body of objects known as trench art within their social and art historical contexts. Ms Kimball, a highly qualified academic and former academic research librarian at the University of California, has been a collector of trench art for many years, owning more than a thousand pieces.
She has contributed the text with appears inside both the Presentation Pack and Filler Card, making this miniature sheet issues as informative as it is decorative. The name evokes images of mud-splattered soldiers in soggy front-line trenches hammering out souvenirs for loved ones at home while dodging bullets and artillery shells.
In fact, most trench art pieces were created away from the front lines. For example, when soldiers were moved back from the front line to reserve trenches, they picked up spent shell casings and other debris on the way to use in crafting war souvenirs. Spent brass shell casings are the most common medium used to create trench art, but other battlefield detritus was transformed into cigarette lighters, match box covers, tobacco boxes, letter openers, models of tanks, aeroplanes or submarines, clocks, inkwells, penny banks, picture frames, candleholders and jewellery. Even a soldier's military equipment could provide a surface for painted or engraved trench art pieces, while prisoners of war used scrap wood, soup bones, tin and other materials to make vases, trinket boxes and other handmade pieces to sell or barter for food and cigarettes.