We have many collections to be proud of here at The Mariners’ Museum, but one of our most popular, which also happens to be one of my favorite, is the collection of tattoo pieces that belonged to the famed August “Cap” Coleman. Coleman opened shop in Norfolk in 1918, but was forced out after WWII due to a law was passed in Norfolk making tattooing illegal.
Our collection of Coleman objects came to us through the years, with the bulk being purchased directly from Coleman in 1936. Two of my favorite pieces are sheets of tattoo designs that were both signed by Coleman, making them extra special (pictured below). The designs are are very colorful and showcase Coleman’s artistic ability.