Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Alan.Cook

Basic Membership
  • Content count

    12
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Alan.Cook

  • Rank
    Member

Profile Information

  • Location
    Essex

Recent Profile Visitors

679 profile views
  1. While most of the tipstaves we are used to seeing tend to have a bulbous handles example such as this are also well known. It is; however, fairly unusual to see three at once. I agree with collector in the USA that there are definitely no issues with the first two. I think the problem with the third piece is that overall it is not a pretty example and the proportions do not feel right. That said on balance I would say it is genuine as the handle appears to be integral to the piece and you don't normally fine fakers making up such elaborate metal work. The real issue with faked tipstaves is engraved decoration such as the Bow Street example mentioned earlier. This is not the first time this piece has been offered at auction over the past few years. I have looked closely at it and while wanting it to be genuine just don't know. I wouldn't try and put anyone off buying it as you will find no one who can say for certain if it is genuine or fake.
  2. In responding to this post I am not sure I can add much more than has already been said by 'CollectorInTheUSA' as his comments are sound. To deal with the main question first raised I would suggest using any photo of a plain tipstaff (i.e. metal crown and barrel with a turned wood handle) of which there are many available on the website. You hear phrases such as 'a generic style of Bow Street tipstaff', but in my experience there is no such thing, and herein lies the problem when identifying genuine pieces. Bow Street, above all other places, has long held a fascination with those interested in the history of policing. This has, I am sure, encouraged people to embellish plain, but genuine, items with engraving to confuse the unsuspecting collector/historian. To add a little with regard to the published examples I would comment as follows. The black and white example illustrated by Mitton is attributed to Jonathan Wilde (not a 'Runner'), and is said to be similar to an example belonging to John Townsend (probably the most well known 'Runner), and is from the collection kept, until recently, at Bramshill House. The Bramshill collection is widely regarded as one of the most important ever put together. In fact the bulk of the collection is made up from two main endowments made in the mid 20th century. The background information on pieces is scant, which means we need to approach the collection with an enquiring mind. The is another example in Mitton (page 69) which is engraved 'Public Office Bow Street' and to all appearance appears to be genuine (also illustrated in Fenn Clark). In mentioning Fenn Clark he shows a 'Runners' tipstaff held in the Canterbury Museum, but again enquires with this museum cannot prove this attribution. The simple fact is time and some unscrupulous persons have made it very difficult for us to determine the fake from the genuine. The Birchall example mentioned in the earlier post is in my collection, and in my book I give details of its provenance. In my opinion you need to be able to trace a piece at least back to the 1960/70's (and if possible earlier) to be reasonably confident about engraving. In this way you avoid the 1980's which was a terrible period for the faking of engraving on tipstaves. In a sad twist this was in some ways brought about by the resurgence of interest in these items brought about by Mitton, including the publishing of his book. Tipstaves were making top money in those days, reaching prices you would struggle to get today.
  3. Hi, I think the honest answer with regard to any plan wood truncheon is that unless they start to talk we will never know. What we can say is this is not the traditional style used in the UK. However, it could have been a one-off bespoke item. We also know that collar numbers do not reach this high in UK forces, with the exception of members of the Special Constabulary. Some forces used to have a means of separating regular officers and Specials. One way of doing this was to have SC collar numbers which start at higher numbers such as the 5,000s. I doubt this was Plymouth City, but could have been Devon and Cornwall - Special Constabulary? My knowledge of American items is not great so Mike's suggestion is also worthy of consideration.
  4. An interesting auction, but sadly in my humble opinion there were a number of fakes being sold. I was contacted by a number of collectors before hand and was able to advise them on their bidding. If you have read my book (Appendix 7 - Fakes and Pitfalls) you will understand why this was an important auction, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. My assessment is this was a collection built up in the 80's, which has not been on the market since that time. Don't get me wrong, I hate this sort of thing as it spreads confusion and doubt over items I have spend nearly 30 years studying. What I want to see is new collectors to the hobby who can buy with confidence. If anyone has any specific questions they wish to ask about items they can always contact me through my website truncheon.org.uk.
  5. As requested I'm pleased to share a photo of the armband and sword. This is to my knowledge the only example of a Horse Patrol armband. The royal arms are difficult to determine, but do appear to have the central escutcheon, which would date the armband as being pre 1837. As the Horse Patrol was not reinstated until 1805 it probably dates between 1805 and 1837. I am currently in the process of researching information for a book on the Bow Street Patroles (old spelling), so any information about this piece would be most welcome. I have not yet found any record of the Patrole being issued with armbands, but am happy to with this attribution, unless anyone can tell me something different. The sword is the 1796 light cavalry pattern with 'W. PARKER MAKER TO HIS MAJESTY, HOLBORN, LONDON' down one side and 'HORSE PATROL NO 55' down the other. If you look carefully at the hilt, you will notice a small circular metal disc. This is an exhibition label from the Tower of London. This along with a number of other early police items were previously loaned to the Royal Armouries and were displayed in the White Tower for a number of years. Back in the 90's I visited the White Tower and took photos of the items while on display. Never did I dream that one day I would own them.
  6. I concur with Dave about Scott Giles' book and used this as my mainstay for many years. Civic and Corporate Heraldry published in 1971 by the Heraldry Society is also useful. The issue comes when the arms are personal rather than civic. In my early days of collecting I did pay for proper research from the College of Arms, but this is very expensive. Fortunately I have now made some good contacts, who help me out as a favour. The other problem is painters often used a lot a licence and you do find arms, which are just wrong, which is not helpful. When arms are used on truncheons they normal relate to larger towns and cities so it does not take long to become acquainted with the more common ones. You may have come across pieces of crested china in the past and there is a good book called The Price Guide to Arms and Decorations on Goss China. Again I have found this helpful. One piece of advice I would offer, is always follow leads up and do your own research. I love my Fenn Clark, Dicken and Mitton truncheon reference books, but they do contain errors (as does my own book so I'm not trying to cast stones). In some instances the town 'seal' was used rather than the full arms, which can be problematic. The above image appears on an item, which I had seen go through a number of dealers before ending up in my collection. It is painted on a square headed West Country style piece and everyone thought it was an image of the constable. It is actual a representation of the seal of the borough of Penryn. The full description is a man in profile, couped at the breast, vested over the shoulder, and wreathed about the temples with laurel, tied behind with two ribbons flotant. Heraldry is a fascinating study and good luck with you research.
  7. Mike, I'm sure you have researched this, but when dating the rattles in your post no one seems to have mentioned the makes name 'FIELD 59 LEMAN ST', which is shown on the smaller example (I think). The stamp is for the firm Parker Field & Sons, who were formed in 1841. The address stamped on this piece dates it between 1877 and 1879. The 'R 926' stamp al; most certainly means it was a Met Police issue. What I particular like is that rather than being early, it is in fact a late example just before the introduction of whistles. A great item. Alan
  8. I was interested to see to see a Southend-on-Sea white helmet in one of the GMIC threads. These were introduced in 1962 following experiments with white silk covers worn over a traditional blue helmets. Southend Constabulary was amalgamated with Essex County Constabulary in 1969 and became the Essex & Southend Joint Constabulary. Until this time Essex had always issued a traditional rose top helmet, but on amalgamation took on the coxcomb style, keeping the shell at the top. The shell was retained in 1974 when the Force became Essex Police. Recently I decided to apply to the College of Arms for a grant of arms, which can be seen in my profile. As a serving Essex officer I wanted to allude to my career in the design. My final inspiration was the shell used on the helmet, which is unique to Essex. I therefore have three escallops applied to a chevron. The escallops are blue, which can allude to policing, but also the sea as Essex has the longest coastline of any county in the UK. The reason there are three is in allusion to my rank, chief inspector.
  9. Mike, sad news about Mervyn. I was interested to see your City truncheon. Like you I have often pondered the letters on truncheons and sadly in many cases never can find a plausible answer. I think you are on the right track with the W mending ward and following that line Coleman Street Ward does not seem improbable. I think the P is more difficult and doubt we will ever know for certain. If I was forced to make a comment I think go for the obvious such as Police. I don't think it would be Portreeve and Precinct is too American. If anyone is thinking about collecting truncheons I would recommend they take attributions with a large pinch of salt. Over nearly 30 year of collecting I have seen many wild guesses put forward as definitive answers. This has come from both dealers and collectors alike. I think this also applies to reference works such as Fenn Clark, which rarely ever contain reference notes, or make use of phrases such as 'may - could - possibly'. At one of the first auctions I ever went to I saw a Parker truncheon with the letters 'HMRT' in a cartouche. A short time later it had a very inflated price and was being sold as 'Her Majesty's Royal Train'. I had the chance to speak to the dealer at the time who even lied as to how he came by the item, which was shameless. With regard to numbers the only comments I normally offer are: 1) It is probably a stock or armoury number rather than a collar/warrant number. 2) If the number is high it probably, but not always, relates to the Special Constabulary. Ultimately what we do know is you have a good City truncheon, so well done.
  10. I was fascinated to read this thread as I was the purchaser of the sword and armband at the 2006 Del Mar auction. I also had the privilege of knowing the previous owner who sold these, along with many other rare items at the auction. If anyone is interested the armband was also illustrated in the excellent book 'Those Entrusted with Arms' by Frederick Wilkinson. It is worth noting that the 1796 pattern sword, is just that, a pattern, which was used for many years and probably dates from 1805 when the patrol was re-formed. Wilkinson made a specialist study of items relating to the London Public, or Police, Offices and in my view knows more about this subject than most others I have ever encountered.
  11. It was after receiving a copy of Mitton's book 'A Policeman's Lot' in the late 1980's that I was inspired to start collecting decorated truncheons. Little did I know where this gift was to lead. I met Mervyn at his home in Bournemouth a few year's ago on what I think was his last trip to the UK. Although the bulk of his truncheons had been sold I was still extremely lucky to walk away with some choice pieces, which I still treasure. Like some others, I can't say we always reached the same conclusion on pieces, but he did have an amazing collection and knowledge. I like to think I gave him due credit when I published my own tome on the subject last year, and that our books complement each other in their very different styles. Trying to follow in his footsteps on a subject so close to his heart was always going to be a challenge, and I still don't think truncheons and tipstaves are cherished by the collecting world as they should be. His passing represents the closing of a chapter on this topic and others now need to make sure they take up the challenge and build on what he started.
×