Manufacturer/Artist: Anacortes Brass Works
Status: Active (as Northwest Brass Works)
Location: Washington State
Related companies: Northwest Brass Works
Style and Themes: Produced solid brass buckles starting in 1970. Many retail designs had coastal pacific-northwest themed artwork like whales or forests. The company also did custom corporate designs, especially for the construction and oil & gas industries.
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Anacortes Brass Works was founded in 1970 by Glen Veal and Kit Marcinko while they were living on Guemes Island, WA. The foundry was located in Anacortes, WA. The buckles were cast in solid brass and were among the highest quality buckles produced in the 70s and 80s. Many of the earliest designs were nature-inspired and featured artwork with whales, coastal birds, and other wildlife. The company also produced many custom corporate designs for companies in construction, oil & gas, and other industries. Collectors will commonly encounter buckles that commemorate the completion of construction projects, safety awards, and other corporate achievements. The foundry was also strategically located to produce buckles during Alaska's oil boom in the early 80s associated with the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The "Buckles of Alaska" series was popular with business owners who offered souvenirs to visitors, and the designs featured Native Alaskan totem-style artwork, dog sledding, and gold prospecting.
Anacortes Brass Works was founded in 1970 by Glen Veal and Kit Marcinko while they were living on Guemes Island, WA. The buckles were cast using antique equipment at a old foundry from 1926, which is featured on the info cards packaged with their belt buckles. The buckles were cast in solid brass, hand polished, and were among the highest quality buckles produced in the 1970s and 1980s. The cards packaged with each buckle described the company's history and intricate manufacturing process. An image of two craftsmen pouring molten metal appears to serve as the company logo.
Anacortes Brass Works belt buckles can be easily identified by looking on the reverse side for a stamp which included a date and the company name. The details of the stamp vary depending on age. The oldest buckles (1975 and earlier) may be signed by Kit Marcinko, and have the company name and date cast large letters across the back (photographed below).
Later buckles were marked with a small round stamp that also included the place of manufacturing (Washington) and the material (solid brass). The stamp hallmark first appears in 1975 (photographed below, top left) and is the only example with raised lettering. The stamp used in the late 70s onward had imprinted lettering. The example on the upper right also has an image of the foundry building with a crucible pouring molten metal suspended above it. In the early 80s the company created a "Buckles of Alaska" series with a unique stamp that had the silhouette of the state of Alaska (bottom left). Stamp hallmarks for other buckles in the 80s and later had no figural images (bottom right).
Many of the earliest designs were nature-inspired and featured whales, coastal birds, and other wildlife. The company's geographic location had a clear impact on the artwork which depicted life in the Pacific Northwest with scenes of commercial fishing, coniferous forests, and marine animals. The company also produced many custom corporate designs for companies in construction, oil & gas, and other industries. Collectors will commonly encounter buckles that commemorate the completion of construction projects, safety awards, and other corporate achievements. Kit Marcinko sold his half of the company in 1980, but the foundry continued to produce buckles into the 80s and 90s. Today, Northwest Brass Works of Mt. Vernon Washington produces modern castings of several of the Anacortes Brass Works designs. They also have a variety of new buckle designs offered in solid brass and silver brass. The details of the change in ownership and company name are not known.
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