Pair of Souvenir Bookends
USS Constitution’s major restoration from 1927-1931 marks the first time souvenirs made from discarded ship materials were sold to the public. The sale of these souvenirs helped raise much needed funds for restoration work, and was also part of the campaign to reestablish “Old Ironsides” as an important historic American icon. Copper sheets removed from the ship’s hull, along with bolts, nails, and other metals, were melted down and turned into a wide variety of souvenir items, including ashtrays, bookends, and plaques.
These bookends are made from melted down copper sheathing mixed with other metals. They are shaped like ship wheels, and the hubs display a relief image of USS Constitution surrounded by text that reads: “Old Ironsides / Launched 1797 / 1804 Tripoli / 1812 Guerriere / Java / 1815 Cyane / Levant / U.S. FRIGATE Constitution.” A plaque on the base indicates that the materials were removed from USS Constitution in 1927.