This is an extremely rare and unusual compass, made from a German Mauser 1898 7.9mm service rifle cartridge case. The dimensions of the case and bullet have been checked against detailed scale drawings that can be found in the War Office publication Text Book of Small Arms (1909). The compass is tiny (9.5mm diameter) and is concealed in the base of the cartridge case, where the primer would have been. At first glance this might seem to be a trench art item, probably from the First World War. But it is very well made, and has the German word 'Geschuetz' stamped around the top of the case. This is the German term for 'Registered', generally found on commercially produced items which had registered or trademarked designs. It seems most likely that this compass would have been produced in Germany during WW1, perhaps as a gift that a soldier might present to a relative or friend. The case is decorated with intricate patterned engraving. The bullet itself is either silver or nickel plated (there are no hallmarks or other silver markings). The compass has a blued needle, brass pivot and bevelled glass. It is in very good working order and finds North well.
The cartridge case, bullet and compass are all in very good condition and full working order. There is some minor wear to the original finish of the brass case.
84mm length (bullet and case), 9.5mm (compass diameter)