A First War Princess Mary Christmas Tin
A First War Princess Mary Christmas Tin - Brass, illustrating the left-facing head of Princess Mary in the centre, surrounded by a laurel wreath and flanked on either side by the "M" monogram. Above her head is a decorative cartouche inscribed "IMPERIUM BRITANNICUM" with a sword and scabbard on either side, while the cartouche on the bottom row is inscribed "CHRISTMAS 1914", flanked by bows of battleships ploughing through high seas. The corners feature small roundels naming Britain's Allies: Belgium, Japan, Montenegro and Servia (Serbia), while France and Russia appear on the left and right sides respectively, each superimposed on three furled flags or standards. Measuring 85 mm x 129 mm x 30 mm deep, triple-hinged lid, minor dents on the bottom, surface rust and contact marks throughout, fine. Footnote: In November 1914, an advertisement was placed in the national press inviting monetary contributions to a "Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund", which had been created by Princess Mary, the seventeen year old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. The purpose was to provide everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas 1914 with a gift from the nation. The response was truly overwhelming. It was decided to spend the money on an embossed brass box, based on a design by Adshead and Ramsey. The contents varied considerably: officers and men on active service afloat or at the front received a box containing a pipe, lighter, one ounce of tobacco and twenty cigarettes, as per the offered item here. Non-smokers and boys received a bullet pencil and a packet of sweets instead. Indian troops often got sweets and spices, while nurses were treated to chocolate. All boxes, irrespective of recipient, contained a Christmas card and a picture of HRHPrincess Mary. Those which were not distributed until after Christmas were sent out with a card wishing the recipient a "victorious new year". When the fund finally closed in 1920, almost 200,000 British Pounds had been donated for the provision of more than two and a half million boxes with contents.