4 Replies Latest reply on Oct 13, 2020 5:31 PM by Christopher Faust

    How common was a dog tag made from a coin?

    Christopher Faust Newbie

      I am a coin collector and recently came across a coin that has a service members name and service number on the reverse. How common is this and why was it done?

          • Re: How common was a dog tag made from a coin?
            Christopher Faust Newbie

            I am not sure how a picture will help with answering the question but I will include.

             

            This I have already discovered from the information on the Coin. I am wondering if this was a common practice.

             

            Sailor Benjamin F. Swindle Jr served aboard the USS IDAHO from September of 1943 - Late 1945 (left the ship sometime between October 1945 and December of 1945. Signed on board the USS SIERRA in December of 1945.

             

            The Coin is a 1911-1936 Florin Type Coin from Australia. On the reverse it includes the the sailor's name, service number and service (USNR). The previous owner identified it as a WWI but I have been able to track the person named Benjamin F. Swindle Jr who served aboard the USS IDAHO from September of 1943 - Late 1945 (left the ship sometime between October 1945 and December of 1945. Signed on board the USS SIERRA in December of 1945.at the end of WWII. The IDAHO was docked in the Australia area April-June 1944 during it's tour of the Pacific during WWII. I am guessing he picked it up in circulation so it is probably an early 1930's coin that was still in circulation as the only difference between it and the 1938 - 1946 Florin is the King on the Obverse and with the War on I am guessing they kept a lot of the old coins circulating longer.Obverse of 1911-1936 Australian FlorinReverse of 1911-1936 Australian Florin that has been made into a US service members's Dog tag


            Although there is a lot of history that can be gleaned from this simple coin, As a coin collector I am interested if it common practice for soldiers/sailors to make coins into Dog Tags or is this a unique item? I am familiar with trench art and items from WWI and a little from WWII but this is a first for me.

          • Re: How common was a dog tag made from a coin?
            Jason Atkinson Pioneer

            Dear Mr. Faust,

             

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

             

            Should you be interested in learning more about the sailor, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and medical records of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and prior to 1958 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002.  To request these records, please mail a completed GSA Standard Form 180 to NPRC. If there is any information requested by the form you do not know, you may leave it blank, however the more information you provide, the easier it will be for NPRC staff to locate the correct file. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

             

            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC was closed from March 23 through June 23, 2020. As of June 24, the NPRC entered into Phase One of a gradual reopening process. The center is currently only servicing emergency requests associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans, VA Home loan guarantees, and employment opportunities. You may still mail in your order now, however be advised that it will be quite some time until NPRC will be able to service it.

             

            The Naval History and Historic Heritage Command provides information about Personal Identification Tags or "Dog Tags" used by the US Navy.The webpage Historic Dog Tags provides example dog tags for the US Navy as well as other services. What you describe does not match any official dog tag used during World War II.

            The National Archives does not have records about art or memorabilia that was privately made or acquired by service members. We did locate one news article about a bracelet made from an Australian military identification tag and part of a British coin. We also located something being advertised as Vintage WW2 Australia Trench Art Sweet Heart Bracelet Coin Sterling Silver and another thing advertised as WWII Pacific Theater 1945 Trench Art 13th Air Force Australia Coin Bracelet. None of these are quite the same thing, but they do suggest that repurposing old coins for souvenir purposes was a practice in Australia and/or with service members using Australian coins. We could not locate anything indicating how common this was or who was making these.  We suggest that you contact an antique dealer, online forum, or organization that specializes in coins and/or militaria, particularly any that might specialize in Australian coins and militaria.

             

            We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

            1 person found this helpful
              • Re: How common was a dog tag made from a coin?
                Christopher Faust Newbie

                I agree with your second paragraph that the Navel resource would have been a good alternative if I was looking at an official "Dog Tag" However I think we both agree that this was a personally made/replacement or alternative DT.

                 

                Finally, in paragraph 3 you provide the answer that the National Archive does have or keep record about art or memorabilia that was privately made or acquired by service members. I did follow the links and will continue to trace the clues I have been able to learn so far. Thank you for you time and response.