For those with a passion for collecting and also a passion for history including military history a collection that fits both interests is actually not that easy to find. Many people collect models of vehicles or soldiers or books about military history but there is nothing like actually holding a piece of history. For most people buying old military vehicles or even uniforms is going to be too expensive to even get one good example, with other very collectable items such as medals or epaulettes for example prices are still high and the size of a collection will always be limited. Dog tag necklaces though are much more common and much cheaper as for around a hundred years they have been issued out to every soldier in the US Army and to many others around the world. It was in fact the Prussians, during the Franco Prussian war of 1870-1871, that first used dog tag necklaces and a form of identification for soldiers was also used during the American Civil war a few years later, though to begin with these were pieces of paper pinned to the soldiers tunics.
Dog Tags were of course issued to every person in the armed forces of a country and then kept with them during their time as a soldier: this means that there are still many dog tag necklaces around and being usually aluminum they remain in good condition. A dog tag necklace having been with a solider while they were at war and carrying their details makes them a highly interesting artifact to have. Although dog tags have become fashion items that are reproduced, original pieces have a very different historical value and each is associated with a specific soldier and so while interesting also deserves a degree of respect.
Dog Tags even just from the US Army vary greatly from the early ones used during the first world war to the developments by the Second World War and then the archetypal design used during the Vietnam war and featured in every film about that war since. Dog Tags are used by hundreds of countries around the world though in some form and they have been used in Britain, Canada and France just as long as in the US and as mentioned have been used in Germany for longer still going back to before the unification of the German states. Prussia is just one now defunct nation that used dog tags and so to have what could be seen a complete collection would involve perhaps thousands of different dog tag necklaces.
Collections are usually mounted in display cases or on velvet covered backing material; they are a collection that you may well want to have on display and being metal they won’t get bleached by light or easily damaged meaning they may be ideal for mounting and keeping on a wall. Collecting dog tags may take you around the world looking for pieces and exchanging with collectors in other countries is common so always buy duplicates of designs you have if possible.