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Collins was born on January 14, 1911 in Reno but grew up in Northern California. As a child he hopped freight trains across the country and learned tattooing from a man named "Big Mike" from Palmer, Alaska, originally using the hand-pricking method.
In the late 1920s he met Tatts Thomas from Chicago who taught him how to use a tattoo machine. He practiced on drunks brought in from Skid Row. He later sailed the Pacific Ocean before settling in Hawaii in the 1930s.
At age 19, Collins enlisted in the United States Navy. During his subsequent travels at sea, he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. During his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as a licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands.
In addition to sailing and tattooing, he played the saxophone in his own dance band and frequently hosted his own radio show, where he was known as "Old Ironsides".
Collins is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a military cemetery located in Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu.
This is one of his greatest Tattoo Flash Collections available, consisting of 53-vintage pages of his original Tattoo Flash Designs, in all their beauty! ... A true collector's item! Order Now!
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