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From Conflict to Collectible

If you've traveled around blogland or antique shops in Europe and sometimes here in the States then you might have come across some of these baskets.  Often times people are unsure of what they are...but they do know what they will use them for.

 Some of the most beautiful ways I've seen these baskets used have been by bloggers. 
Two of my blogging friends,  Marcy at Antique Chase and Sherry at No Minimalist Here both have these types of baskets that they use for housing their bread board collections.

Here's Marcy's basket...and don't forget to note her display of ironstone and brown transferware wash basins she's collected and so beautifully displayed.  The post is gorgeous, you can see it in its entirety HERE.

And here is Sherry's

Over at Motley Junket, after searching for over 8 years she found one and filled it with hydrangeas.

Check out this basket in the entry way below. 

I wonder if this one wasn't stained?  I like it and like how they've used it to hold field hockey sticks and golf clubs.

Below is a 1939 German basket.

Here is another German basket which has a date of 1938 on the bottom.

This one recently sold on Ebay.  It is a rectangular shape, about 33" in length.

I found one such basket about a year ago which holds four, metal lock top canisters.  I use mine to hold umbrellas and walking sticks.
If you look closely you can see the canister lids opened at the back, against the wall.   The canisters are fitted into the basket so they do not move.  The metal bar across the front has pins that hold these steadily in place.  Most of the time I see these baskets,  the canisters have been removed.  Because of my appreciation and love of history I chose to leave mine in place, even though I think it looks better without them...from a decorative aspect.  The baskets themselves are heavily woven, and have about 3/4" boards as extra support across the bottom.  They are as sturdy a basket as can be found.

Are you asking yourself what the heck these baskets are and what they were used for?  These basket examples are all artillery baskets.  Most of these examples are German and were used during both World Wars I and II to transport artillery shells.  I was able to do some digging around and found some great photos of these baskets from both WWI and WWII.  

This photo came from an archive of AP, UPI and other news services.  These artillery baskets were used in the WWI Siege of Antwerp.

This circa 1916, WWI  photo is of a 
German ammunition caisson (cart) knocked out by shell fire.  You can see the dead horse in front of the cart, and to the lower left side of the photo are spent wicker baskets which held artillery shells. 

The Ehrhardt Limber below can be seen and learned more about at which has a fascinating page dedicated to the types of basketry used in war and defense.  

 Images above and below can be found HERE 

This next photo is of Imperial Russian Ammunition Baskets, left behind during a retreat in 1914 or 1915 

This photograph may be deceiving...what do you think the soldier is putting into, or taking out of the basket?  Here's a hint.  This is not an artillery basket like the ones shown above.  This basket did not transport bombs.

photo source
This basket transported pigeons.   The soldier shown above is holding a pigeon.  Over 100,000 homing pigeons were used extensively in World War One as a means of sending messages.  Astonishingly, they proved to be 95% reliable at getting messages to their destinations! 

Below is an example of one such pigeon basket.

I doubt that a single soldier ever imagined that in a 100 years these would be highly sought after by interior decorators and bloggers (what are bloggers!?!?!) to hold umbrellas, bread boards, loaves of bread, wine bottles, walking sticks or flowers?  The photos really awaken the senses and tell a moving story.  These baskets are small relics of history.

Here are a few more images of artillery baskets functioning around the home.  I love this one used as un umbrella holder,
photo: tumblr

and this one which Evi from Evi's  Country Snippets shows in her header, decoratively hanging on the wall,  filled with flowers.  How pretty this is!

I recently found another basket without the metal canisters.  It's now residing in my kitchen holding cookie sheets and jelly roll pans. 

Are you interested in finding one of these baskets?  What would you use yours for?  I'd love to hear what else could be done with these. 

 Here are some tips for searching online for them.  
Right now, there are two on Ebay exactly like mine with the canisters intact;  however the price is quite steep...$300.  I paid $60 for mine with canisters.  I paid about the same for the one without the canisters.  I was patient and searched out the best deals.  What I do on Ebay is search these terms and click the tab that searches within titles and descriptions.  I often search within the militaria section if nothing turns up in a general search.

Terms I use are:

ammo basket
ammunition basket
artillery basket
bomb basket
shell basket (be sure to search within the militaria category and include titles and descriptions or you'll see a jillion seashell baskets)
war basket
army basket

Good luck!
On a totally different note, tonight this kindergarten graduate is a high school graduate!  He is number three in our lineup of six children.  I truly cannot believe how time has escaped us and my children are fast becoming adults.  I still remember, vividly, taken Jonah outside on the morning of his kindergarten graduation to take this photo of him by our koi pond.  Tonight, I'll be taking pictures of  this 6'4" tall young man in his high school cap and gown.
Congratulations JoJo! I love you so much!

I'll be joining some of these parties:


  1. Nancy, What a very interesting posting...who knew, of course now I have got to have one.... the search is on.

  2. Hi Nancy! What a great and fascinating post! I have seen those baskets and never knew what they were! Great look and great history..maybe next time I see one I'll get one for myself! Love all the pictures and how many different uses they have!
    Congrats on your son!! Time keeps on slippin!
    Miss Bloomers

  3. A great history lesson. These baskets are new to me, but I would love to have one! Thank you for the interesting post!

  4. Great info about the baskets. I love yours with the canisters, and they are super without also. You are always so informative. Now I really want one. lol Congrats to your son. Hugs, Marty

  5. I found this post really interesting Nancy. I have never seen these baskets before and would never have guessed their original use. They are quite beautiful artifacts and very versitile today. Congrats on your son's graduation. Time flies! Pamela

  6. What a great story. I have never seen one of these, but would not have imagined artillery unless I saw the metal containers. Thank you for sharing.

  7. That is a really cool basket! I just might snatch one up if I ran across one!

  8. Nancy - you are teaching me new things all of the time! I pride myself on knowing a bit about history, but I cannot hold a candle to you. I have never seen these baskets before, but I prefer the one you have with the canisters in place. I will be looking for these in the future - thank you for writing about them! I, also, would like to share good wishes with the graduate - best of luck in the future!

  9. What an interesting post Nancy!...It's amazing how we evolve at least in that aspect....trying to make the best out of a not so good situation, or in this particular case, an object. An the pic of your son is so moving...tonight I'm sending my boy to his first prom...I don't know who is more nervous me or him...anyway..congratulations and post pics of the graduate! Hugs, Lizy

  10. wow Nancy, love hearing what these are and their history. The old photos are just amazing. thanks so much for sharing these, I'd love to have one, but have never run across any of these here in the midwest.

  11. Those baskets are great and I remember that post Marcy did, Nancy. I wanted one right there and then! I love the way they are displayed with the wood cutting boards. I also love how you've used yours with umbrellas and walking sticks. It looks great under that plate rack, too. If I was in my old house I might consider looking for one {or a reasonable repro}, but here in the new place, I just don't have the room.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  12. Hi Nancy: This was really interesting. Baskets have so much history in our lives but can't even imagine what some of those people from long ago would think about what we use them for now. Congratulations to your 'little boy'. My grandson will be graduating high school next month also. Boy, does time fly..Happy Mother's Day..Judy

  13. my favorite laundry room photo has one of those "conflict" baskets.

  14. Beautiful baskets ~ I love them all. Congrats to your son and I hope you have a happy Mother's Day.

    Susan and Bentley

  15. laundry I know what kind of basket is in the photograph.

  16. Hi Nancy,
    I love your collection of artillery baskets.
    I found one in an antique shop and later sold it in my booth. Wish I hadn't now.


  17. Hi Nancy, This was a wonderful post and I loved learning about these awesone baskets, the history and how many use them today. I love baskets too and find great uses in nearly every room. Love yours holding cookie sheets and such. Congrats to your little/big man on his graduation from high school. Blessings to him always.

    Thank you for stopping by to invite me to your linked in. So nice to meet you and discover your blog as well. I so enjoyed my visit.

    Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day.

    Hugs from Texas, Celestina Marie

  18. I've seen these baskets before and loved them for their shape. Thanks for the history lesson as to what they were originally made for!

  19. I would never have guessed what those baskets were used for. Amazing. I am glad you kept yours intact. Love it.

    Congrats on your son's graduation. It seems when they are babies that you will have them forever underfoot and then, suddenly, they are young men and women ready to move into young adulthood. Blessings- xo Diana

  20. How cool. Thank you for sharing. My 13 yr old grandson is very into WWI & II, so me thinking hum I can show him something new and interesting NOT. He told me a few things. We enjoyed the photos too. Thank you for bringing us together with something in common. Best wishes to the graduate and Happy Mother's Day to you.

  21. Thank you for sharing. My 13 yr old grandson is very into anything WWI & WWII, so I thought I would show him your blog and something new. NOT, but he enjoyed the pics and now he knows Nana wants an artillery basket.:) Best wishes to your graduate and Happy Mother's Day.

  22. Nancy, we've had one of these for many years. Ours does not have the canisters. In fact, this is the first time I've seen one with canisters. Thanks for sharing all the interesting information and photos. We've had flowers in ours, but for years now I've had it tucked away not being used. I've often admired Evi's basket and thought that's what I need to do with the one we own. Just need to find a spot to hand it!!!
    Thanks again and Happy Mother's Day! ~ Sarah

  23. What a great piece of history!!! I always enjoy your lessons!!! Congrats to the grad and Happy Mother's Day!!! hugs...cleo

  24. How interesting, Nancy! I learned so much from your post today. You must'ave done a boat load of research, girl! Ahhhh...if only we could get our hands on those pile of baskets now, huh? We'd all be able to take a nice trip to France and Germany!!! :)

    xoxo laurie

  25. What an interesting post! A lesson in baskets! Happy graduation and Mother's Day!

  26. Nancy, your post is so interesting! I've been following your blog for a long time but it's my first comment. I'm from Argentina, I love transferware and I collect vintage children's dishes. I'd like to learn more and more about them. Do you know any collector with the same interest? I admire your collection and your... posts? lessons? Thank you very much for sharing all these with us! (sorry if my English is not so good...).
    Kisses from Buenos Aires! Silvina.

  27. Thanks, Nancy, for all the history on the baskets! I love all the uses that you shared with us. Happy Graduation Day and Mother's Day!!

  28. This was fascinating to me, I had no idea! I do recall seeing Sherry's basket and being surprised that it carried ammo. How cool to have all the old photos bringing us back in time to see how they were really used in the I will know what they are if I ever see one at auction...thanks Nancy and have a wonderful mothers day !

  29. Much better uses of those baskets than what they were originally used for! Honestly, I'd never seen them before but I loved all the creative uses.

    Congratulations to Jojo!!!!!

  30. Interesting Nancy, I had no idea of these baskets. Thanks for sharing, I too liked the picture of the basket with the bombs. So amazing.

  31. What a fascinating and educational post, Nancy. I had no idea the history behind those collectible baskets! Thanks again for sharing...from a first time visitor.

  32. Well this is a new one for me!!Thanks for bringing it out for us all to learn about. I will start looking to see if I spy any of these. The history is great and pictures wonderful. Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day.

  33. Hi Nancy, Thank you so much for featuring my basket! I have had mine over twenty years and it is still one of my favorite things. I also have a smaller one that my husband bought me one Christmas. Love the picture of yours with the umbrellas. Did you notice all the baskets shown have the same number imprinted on them?

  34. This is one of the most interesting and fascinating posts I have ever read. I love to collect baskets, but I've never seen any like the ones you have displayed. I will surely be keeping a look out in the future. Thanks for all of the details. And congratulations to Jonah. Yes the time flies by way too quickly.

    Jocelyn @

  35. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  36. I've never seen such interesting baskets. Thanks so much for being a part of my 100th Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  37. How very interesting! Like many of the others, I have never heard of these types of baskets but, boy, I sure would love to have one even though they were used during times of war. :/ I love them.

  38. How neat are the baskets! They look great in the entry! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  39. What a fascinating bit of history,along with a wonderful array of ways to use these baskets. Thank you for this interesting post.

  40. Nancy the history and the legacy of these baskets are extraordinary. I really enjoyed this inspirational post. I would love it if you would share this post at our WIW linky party? Hope to see you there!


  41. Yet another intriguing and educational post from you, Nancy! I just love these baskets (despite their ignominious use!?) and I do like the one with the cannisters as an umbrella stand, and the ones without cannisters for baking sheets or breadboards. (Yours are displayed so prettily.) I doubt I will ever see any here in New England but if I do I'll know now what they are!

  42. Such a great basket education! I have had one for years, and just filled it with curly willow last week and used it for the first time. It was a lucky GW find, I think I paid $3! I had always thought it was a reproduction, but now that you have shown us the canisters, I think maybe not, because the inside bottom is carved as though it held the canisters in the past. I'm really glad that I held onto it now that I know what they're worth! Thanks for the great info, Nancy!
    Cheers, Andrea

  43. Nancy, Just found your blog! I purchase my artillery basket after seeing Marcy's on AntiqueChase blog. I got it at Bellacor for $99.00 on sale plus free shipping! My lucky day!
    I use it for my large bread boards also. However, I love the use of it for flowers and for other items you have posted on your blog! Great ideas!
    Regards and best wishes!

  44. Nancy thanks for this post it helped us identify the baskets on
    The relevant post is here


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