Jump to content

Brian Wolfe

Senior Moderator
  • Content Count

    6,304
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    6

About Brian Wolfe

  • Rank
    Senior Moderator

Contact Methods

  • MSN
    brian.wolfe@bell.net
  • Website URL
    http://
  • ICQ
    0

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Medals: British and India (post 1947), Special Constabulary and a few others.
    General: Staffordshire and British Police memorabilia
    Plus odds and ends that capture my interest from time to time.

Recent Profile Visitors

15,883 profile views
  1. OK, I've had time to do some reading and I can see how the history of the War of the Roses could very well have had a bearing on the writing for The Game of Thrones. However, I would like to hear the opinions of others. Regards Brian
  2. The Game of Thrones The Game of Thrones or How I Wasted 8 Years worth of Sunday evenings – and Enjoyed Every Minute. The television series “The Game of Thrones” (GOT) is ”all the buzz” at the moment, on the Internet and around office water coolers everywhere. I know as I constantly have to chase the staff back to their duties here at the Home Office. Just because I don’t pay them and they are not allowed outside...ever, should not give them the right to waste time. Ingrates! They should have read the small print. If you have not heard about the series, “The Game of Thrones” you are either hiding under a rock or have something actually important you would rather be doing then you might not understand much of this blog. When I think about it, how would that be different from most of my blogs? This series has had a longer run than the Seven Years War (easy math that even I can do) and has been compared with England’s War of the Roses. I really must read the full history of the War of the Roses as I’m not sure I can fully see the parallel but must let that go until I have a more informed knowledge of that conflict. I do have a question to all of the history buffs reading this and especially the British members of our forum. Wouldn’t the War of the Roses, in fact, be the first English Civil War? I won’t go into a condensed version of the GOT as that would be far too long even for one of my blogs. What you may not know is that somewhere around half a million viewers have signed an online petition (for all that’s worth) to have all of the current writers fired and the last season rewritten. I usually don’t make the type of comment I am about to make for fear of insulting a reader. This time, however, I must ask what sort of egotistical self-centered person with an over inflated sense of entitlement thinks GOT should be rewritten to suit whatever fantasy they may have. We must remember that the current writers have only 8 episodes to wrap up 7 years of plot lines and character building. One season to kill off the bad guys and finally see who will sit on the Iron Throne, that’s the one made out of partially melted swords. Man, would I like one of those for my collection room; it would go so well with what we call the “Death Chair”, a chair of which I am the 4th generation and 6th family member to own. But that’s another story, perhaps for Halloween. Speaking about subjects you might not want to know about. No! Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) why did you do that. I didn’t need to see that! It brought back the feelings I had when our daughter announced that that she was pregnant. Yes. I know how she got that way but I really didn’t want to shake the hand of my son-in-law and congratulate him for impregnating my little princess. Something much more sinister sprang to mind, “Have you ever sat in the Death Chair you little son-of-a-&*%$#?” Now back to the story. It could be that those unhappy with the eighth season simply don’t want to face the end of what has, in my opinion, been a great run. I can understand that emotion; however, it may be better to end it now rather than feel like is has been drawn out well past viewer interest tolerance. After all we are a fickle lot. It’s a bit like reading about the history of the Napoleonic Wars and being upset that the Battle of Waterloo ended too quickly. Sorry, but I don’t think anyone is about to rewrite the Napoleonic Wars and then stretch out the Battle of Waterloo just to suit some fans of the era and its history. We have to look at The Game of Thrones in the same way we look at a history documentary, the ending has been written and that is that. The only advantage we have is in knowing, after watching this series for the past 8 years that it will all end this evening, Sunday the 19th day of May, 2019. A day which will forever be known as the “End of The Game of Thrones Day”, a day where we can gather around the Iron Thrones that will have been erected in every town square around the world, wearing our GOT t-shirts while we try to hum the theme music in unison and at the same time trying to forget that scene with Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie). (Shudder), I need a drink. Regards Brian
  3. in your photo i like seeing the trench pump in front of photo.

  4. There is an interesting myth surrounding the design of the “dumb-bell” cross section blade. This is a myth that has been around from the very issuance of this pattern and has been held as fact by many sword collectors in the past. Unlike the scandal over inferior British blades, both sword and bayonet, of the mid 1800s this was not, to my knowledge, exaggerated by the media or politicians of the day to further their personal agendas. Rather than stumbling through a paraphrasing of the work of another I will quote the passage from John Wilkinson Latham’s book, British Military Swords, From 1800 To The Present Day, page 17, first published in the U.S.A. in 1967. “Whether the following story is true or not the author would not like to say, but it has been handed down from father to son and is one explanation of how such a blade came to be adopted. Both Wilkinson and Mole had been asked to submit patterns of a new hilt for the infantry sword and, commencing in 1890, various different designs were put forward by both companies. However, just presenting a sword guard by itself did not really show what the sword would in fact look like if completed with a grip and back piece. It was therefore the practice to mount these swords on dummy blades, the majority of which were rough rolled and ground. Eventually, in 1892, one of the above manufacturers – and there was no record of which it was – submitted a hilt which fulfilled all the requirements of the War Office specification. This hilt was mounted on a roughly finished blade which had not yet had its edge ground and was therefore dumb-bell shaped. The story goes on that approval was given not only to the hilt but of the complete sword, and thus a new pattern was born having a blade which in fact had no edge.” The idea that a sword Pattern would have been based on a gross error is, to my way of thinking, most doubtful indeed. To give full credit to Mr. Latham, he did state that he was not about to present this as a proven fact. Therefore this should probably be filed under the heading of mythology. I noticed that the section in his book containing this story had the number 7 denoting the notes at the end of the chapter. However, when I checked this I found the reference was to cavalry swords used by infantry officers at the outbreak of WWI. Given the drive by the British to develop a thrust-centric sword as far back as the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815) it is quite doubtful that this would finally come about by pure chance. Aussiesoldier, in his excellent post (see above), has given credit, and rightfully so, to Colonel G.M. Fox, Inspector of Physical Training at the Board of Education as being influential in the design of this sword. In support of what aussiesoldier has suggested I offer the following section from Brian Robinson’s book, Swords of the British Army, the revised edition, pages 164 & 165, published 2011. “It appears that the blade owed its design to Colonel Fox, the Chief Inspector of Physical Education Training at the Board of Education, who was later responsible for the design of the Pattern 1908 Cavalry sword and owed something to his fencing experience.” Anyone who has either participated in the sport of fencing or even watched such matches will attest that “giving point” or thrusting is used rather than cutting actions. I think this pretty well puts the old myth to bed once and for all, even though there is always room for a good story.. Regards Brian
  5. Hi aussiesoldier, Thanks for the submission it was most interesting. I was hoping others would join in on what I think a most interesting subject, thanks again. My example is marked to the 1st (Canadian) Hussars.Sorry for the poor quality photo. Regards Brian
  6. Thank you very much, that was greatly appreciated. Regards Brian
  7. Hello eurorders. Thanks for your comments and what beautiful reproductions. You are a very talented fellow indeed. I tend to stay in the area of less attractive archaeological specimen copies, such as the two mummies shown below. These are copies from photos of British museum specimens and represent the mummified remains of cats and hawks used as temple offerings in ancient Egypt. The wraps are on carved wooden bases and the wrapping style is as close as possible to the originals. I attempted to make the cat look as if the pitch and natron used on originals had seeped through the bandages. I was not all that pleased with the outcome even though it was pretty close to the originals. When I made the hawk mummy the wrappings were more complex and I didn't want to take away from their decorative looks so I simply artificially aged the bandages (as with the cat) and left it alone. I thought it was more pleasing to the eye. Keep up the good work and if you have any more I would like to see them. Thanks again, Regards Brian
  8. Hello eurorders, Thank you for your comment. I would have to agree with you completely. I like to reproduce different museum items for my own amusement and a friend of mine often assists me. We were talking about what we do and both agree that we, for the most part, lack the talent to develop, weapons for example, that are unique or fantasy items. We are pretty handy at reproducing what we see but the idea of developing items completely of our own design is beyond our skill base. I think the same thing holds true with fiction writing as compared with non-fiction. Personally, I simply lack that degree of imagination. I do hope others will weigh in on this point. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and respond. Regards Brian
  9. Congratulations on the new addition. This hobby is never dull, always something to challenge the collector's knowledge. Regards Brian
  10. Congratulation on an excellent addition to your collection, well done. Regards Brian
  11. Guarantees in Life – Guaranteed “If you purchase our product we guarantee it will improve your life and you’ll be a happier person”. “Use this product and we guarantee you will be 150% more likely to stop smoking.” First off there are no guarantees in life; based on the theory of probability some external force with assert itself which changes the basis of the initial guarantee’s claim. Secondly, in the second example, 100% is the maximum of any given quantity. One could argue that government could, and at times will, spend 150% of a budget. However this is far from accurate as “they” have, in fact, spent 100% of the budget and then exceeded that so-called set amount by an additional 50%. This would make a guarantee only a proposed likelihood of a claim based more on speculation than fact. That is, of course, negating the possibility that the guarantee is an out and out lie in the first place. Oh man, I just realized how obsessive I am! So, what guarantees, or more accurately “likely outcomes to a given action”, do we have in life? Well, if you cheat on your spouse there is likelihood (guarantee?) that you will be ordering dinner for one from your local Chinese Take-Out restaurant in the near future. There is the old joke of a guarantee of starting a business, any business, and after the first year having one million dollars in your bank account. The secret is to start with two million. If we apply this to collecting, and you know I will, and how to avoid fakes and counterfeit collectables there must be some rule of thumb that guarantees you will not be “taken in”. There indeed is a guarantee; one of the few cannot fail actions you can take to avoid being a victim. That action is to avoid collecting all together. If you are going to collect anything there will always be a chance you will run into the occasional fake on the market being offered as an original. You can, however, mitigate your chances of being parted with your cash by knowing your subject as well as possible. It should be noted that there are several companies, both in the Western and Eastern “worlds” that produce excellent reproductions of historic weapons. These are meant for those who are engaged in historical recreations of battles as well as those wanting an ancient weapon without the horrendous cost of an original. For example those studying ancient Greek or Roman history may like to display one of the iconic helmets on the book shelf along with the appropriate texts. Even iconic movie swords and props can be purchased at a reasonable price compared with the original “used on set” props. The problem for the serious collector of authentic arms, or other militaria, is when these copies are aged and distressed to mimic originals. This is where the knowledge of your subject is indispensible. The one item that comes to mind at the moment is the WWII Japanese NCO sword, please, oh please do not call them “samurai swords” as they are not, these are made in China at the present time. The first tipoff is that they are pristine, a case of looking too good to be true. If you want one for your office or den and want to keep the costs down then by all means purchase one. I meant your home office not your place of work; we need to be considerate of those who do not appreciate weapons in the workplace. Personally I think a nice brace of duelling pistols in your office desk drawer sends a great message to staff. At least, here at the Home Office, staff is aware that I am open to discuss our differences, at least from ten paces away. See image below. A resent post regarding a British police truncheon brought out several good ways to test for authenticity. Sending paint samples away for analyse, exposing the paint to black light were a couple I can recall. Taking samples is a bit too invasive for my liking though black light has been used for years on antique furniture as new glues are florescent and old glues such as hide or animal glues are not. The problem I find with any tests you can perform is that they are always after you have made the purchase. Many of the larger museums are allowed to perform tests prior to making a purchase however an amateur collector seldom, if ever, would have that luxury. This is not an indictment of those suggestions as they can indeed be helpful, but far too often we need to make decisions “on the spot” so-to-speak. This is where we discuss the real number one way to avoid being taken in by fakes; know your subject. Even if gathering information and getting familiar with the subject of your collecting delays the actual acquiring of specimens it will be worth it in the long run. Believe me sellers, dealers if you like, do like to gossip and being easily fooled gets around, and so don’t get labelled. If you make a purchase later on after you establish yourself as a more or less knowledgeable collector it will probably be passed off as’ “it happens to everyone”. As an example, I wanted a British Mk.III (Turtle Shell) helmet for my display of WWII British firearms. In the course of my search I found several Mk, IV helmets, at shows, which were clearly marked as D-day helmets even though the Mk. IV was not issued until well after WWII. The easy to discover give-away is in the helmet’s liner. The Mk. III liner looks a lot like the liner for the Mk. II, sometimes erroneously referred to as the “Brodie” helmet. The Mk. IV has a liner that looks like a sphincter...oh, grow up (I so hesitated to use that simile, as you can imagine). Knowing this and that the rivets are lower on the Mk. III making it ride higher on the soldier’s head helped me avoid purchasing the wrong helmet, regardless of the seller’s insistence that the Mk. IVs were examples of D-day helmets. I guess they thought D-day was in the 1960s. Swords, my current obsession, also have “tells”. If a British sword simply doesn’t feel correct in the hand, that is to say the balance is too point heavy as an example, you should be wary. This is not true of all British swords; however, if the “fit and finish” seem off then don’t touch it. Even if this particular sword is authentic you don’t want a specimen where the fit and finish is “off”. There will always be another one coming your way in time so be patient and wait a little longer for a better example; one you are comfortable purchasing. Another point I will discuss is in regard to dealer and collector/sellers. Dealers have, we hope, a reputation to maintain while a seller has little to nothing to lose if you are “taken in” by something he is selling. Caveat emptor [buyer beware] should be a warning for the buyer, however, far too often it is the defence offered by the scam artist; a defence minus a refund or an apology, of course. So should you trust the dealers? Oh, Hell no! My advice is to trust no one, not until they prove themselves trustworthy. In collecting the question is not, “Are you paranoid?” but rather “Are you paranoid enough?” I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands to search for swords so I purchase all of my specimens from one collector/seller whom I have grown to trust completely. My spare time is limited so this makes collecting less stressful for me and allows me more time for our business which always seems to “run” into the weekend. I also like to handle specimens before I make a purchase therefore I avoid on-line dealers and certainly on-line auctions. It reminds me of the old saying about buying a “pig in a poke” (Google it if you have never heard this before). Finally do not get caught up in a collecting “one-upmanship” competition with a fellow collector. That often leads one to making rash decisions on purchases. That has not ever happened to me; however, one time at a show a sudden bout of the flu hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks (tonne in metric). I was rushing to get out into the fresh air and spied a sword, stopped and made a rash decision to purchase based mainly on price. I suppose there were alarm bells but I dismissed them as just the spinning and ringing in my head caused by my flu symptoms. Yes, it was a copy, which I gave away to a fellow who wanted it to hang in his living room over the fireplace. He was a happy camper, his wife not so much so. Last caveat and story, I promise. First the caveat; do not pay a nickel, or a penny for that matter, for a story. They are not to be confused with provenance and worthless other than for entertainment value only. While at a show I stopped at a table of a “seller”, a man in his mid sixties, I would estimate. On the table was a selection of Third Reich memorabilia and a few WWII Italian items. Among these was an Italian Fascists dagger that had an extremely elongated eagle’s beak. You see these from time to time at shows, the real ones (see image below), and they are called Italian Air Force Officer’s daggers or Italian Fascists Youth daggers, I’m really not sure which they are. I do have two originals in the collection, one that my father brought back from the war. He was flying British soldiers back from Italy to Britain and during a “lay-over” he purchased the dagger from a kid for two cigarettes, yes a kid and for two cigarettes...again grow up, it was the times. Mean while back to the show, I said to this seller that the dagger he had looked like a piece that was made post war for sale to the returning veterans and not an original. This was fairly common and many returning vets wanted a souvenir of their trip. Everyone both in Italy and Germany in the post war era needed to make money so it was pretty well open season on gullible tourists. The seller was infuriated, to say the least. I will be blunt now. Why do fat guys think they are intimidating? One punch in the chest and they go down like a bag of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum, for you science guys and gals) and away to prison go you. It’s a no win situation so rein it in chubby! Yes, I too am over weight and old so I would probably not survive an altercation either; no prison for a corpse. Is that a positive spin to that scenario; perhaps not. He insisted that he got the items from a former high ranking German officer who was a friend and neighbour of Hitler himself (this just kept getting better and better). He went on to say that he had purchased the whole collection and had to take the “Italian crap” to get the good “German stuff”. I am part German and we know the Germans make good stuff, however my wife is part Italian and now he was treading on thin ice, not a good idea for such a rotund gentleman. I said, “So this German officer was a neighbour of Hitler’s?” “Yes”, he replied,” they lived on the same street.” To this I quipped, “Do you think they car pooled to work every day?” To that I was told where to “get off”. You can always tell when a bully type is backed into a corner, they can’t control their temper. A little life skill tip: On the “street” the one who can’t control their temper becomes the target.” There is my community service tip for today. See what you can learn here at the GMIC? Interestingly, in closing, the dagger was worth something in that it told the story of the history of these daggers, in a manner. His story, while mildly entertaining was worthless, however pissing this fellow off was, for me, priceless. Until we meet again here at “News from the Home Office”, happy collecting. Regards Brian
  12. Hi Nightbreak, So your the fellow who reads my blogs. Good to hear from a fellow over taxed and under-appreciated, Canadian. Happy fiirst day of spring.😎 Regards Brian
  13. Hi Mark, I must have been experiencing a senior's moment when I wrote "William" as when I review the photos now it looks clearly like a "G" for George.Looks like I was not the only one to have missed that, except for you,. well done. I have written several articles for publications in Australia and New Zealand and some have been on early British police. Suddenly people started to call me the "British Police Guy" which I am not. Perhaps I should forward this post to those I correspond with as proof that I am not an expert on matters police. British or otherwise. 🙄 I will say this with some degree of confidence regarding the "faking" of such items. Most copies seem to come from India and Pakistan, this is with items other than truncheons but could include them as well. The nature of those who produce copies, replicas or fakes is one of financial gain, call it greed if you will. This is not a racist remark, only a fact of business. They produce a multitude of any one item, be it swords, daggers, medals etc. this is because of profit. There is little to no profit in reproducing a truncheon, they are just not that popular on the collecting market. Since we don't seem to see a lot of these, and if we did they would be in the form of the type of truncheon we normally see and not the shape of the one you have, this is not likely to be a target for the faker. Another factor in determining an authentic specimen of any collectable is in the finish. In the case of swords, the fit of the parts and the quality. Since I have retired I have become a professional wood turner, turning (no pun intended) a long time hobby into a paying proposition. I could copy any truncheon on the lathe, which is not great feat. However when it comes to the paint this is in the realm of an art restorer to copy the age and deterioration over time. Once you know your topic it comes down to a gut feeling about collectables. This is covered in the book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Perhaps this would be a good topic for another blog in the future here on the GMIC, which no one reads. Makes one wonder why I bother...sucker for punishment I suppose.🙁 I hope this truncheon is the start of a fine collection. Regards Brian
  14. Hi Mark, I would say that you have a 100% original piece. The truncheon is in excellent condition yet the paint is showing its age, which is exactly would one would expect. I have a feeling this was used more like a tipstaff in the sense that it showed the officer's authority rather than something that was used to get a criminals "attention". Possibly a rural constable. I would put this one in my collection in the blink of an eye, had I the opportunity. Well done on an excellent William IV specimen. Regards Brian
  15. More great finds, thanks for sharing them; you have made me rethink and consider this area of collection Regards Brian
×
×
  • Create New...