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Not Police, this was a difficult one to place. I think the closest is this sub-forum, since this badge gives diplomatic immunity - anywhere in the World.

Known as the King's or, Queen's Messenger Badge, it dates back to medieval days. The Monarch used to have his own judicial court - known as the King's Bench and to execute his commands, a King's Messenger was despatched to arrest or, otherwise give instructions.

The first record of a Messenger is a man - John Norman - who was appointed in in 1485 by King Richard 3rd. - later defeated at the battle of Bosworth Field. These first messengers would have worn a tabard - or, sleeveless over tunic - which would have had the Royal Arms in bullion embroidery. To disobey them would have meant execution - they were directly giving the King's Orders.

The greyhound symbol dates back to pre1660 - when Charles 2nd. was in exile in France. He needed to send a message and the man said - 'How will they know me'? On a table in front of the King was a silver bowl, with four decorative greyhounds standing proud above the rim - this was apparently always in the presence of the King and was therefore , well known to all courtiers. The King reached forwards and broke off a greyhound as a guarantee that the message was from him. From that date the King's Messenger always wore a silver greyhound around his neck. Later a badge with the Royal Arms in enamel - with the greyhound suspended beneath was worn. This dated from the George 2nd. or, 3rd.

When the Monarch became a Constitutional one, the need for a personal Messenger diminished and they became diplomatic carriers for the most secret and important despatches. They actually travelled around the World by ship and later planes - and still do so. Their despatches are usually handcuffed to them and two 1st. Class seats are always reserved - one for him and one for the 'bag'. With modern communications they are not so important - but, they do still exist and carry out their duties. The badge is still worn around the neck on important occasions.

This rare example is for Major Sherston-Baker M.C. - who was appointed by George 6th. - so, he served in the War period. The number 51 is engraved on the back - in the silver gilt. I am not sure if the number is from early days - and therefore, a continuing one - or, if that is the number in each Reign. I suspect this last - a recent Parliamentary question on numbers showed 15 for Queen Elizabeth - but, no-one was sure.

The Medal Year Book shows values - they are completely wrong - I don't know who gives these figures, I think they guess.. A George 3rd. example - pre 1800 sold for over ?30000 ($50000) some years ago. This one - with it's accreditation , is worth at least ?2500-?3000 ($4200-4800). The one thing you can say - with certainty - is that they are rare and very collectable.

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Hello Mervyn.

Lovely medal - and as you mention great provenance. I dont suppose there is a limit to how many people can serve as messengers at one time? The number on the reverse is the number attributed to that specific messenger? So 51 is Major Baker?

And I agree with you about the value aspect. My medals are all alot more valuable than the figures mentioned in THAT book! :)



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The Sherston-Bakers were Baronets (created 1796) and while they were up to the 5th Baronet Sherston-Baker in 1935 (British edition of Who's Who?) by my 1970 Burke's Peerage they were completely and utterly EXTINCT. :speechless1:

But an earlier edition of Burke's should list where the Major fit into that family. :beer:

"Honours and Awards... 1914-1920" shows an M.C. to Captain G. W. Sherston, Reserve of Officers. No Peter-- so if that name is correct, must be a WW2 award and he was dead without sons and the line gone by 1970 wthout even a dowager widow left.

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I don't think there is a set number - I would doubt more than one or two in the 19th. C. However, WW2 would be a different matter and I expect more would be appointed. What we don't know is how the numbering works - is it per reign - per century - or, from the early days ?

Rick, thankyou for that background - I have never actually done any research on it - it hangs on a wall in my study in Bournemouth. However, they are a Royal Appointment - now based on recommendations from the Foreign Office. The title and M.C. - probably wounded as well - would account for the King accepting him - has the 'right' background.

There are just so many rare items that used to be in regular usage - I am fortunate to have so many examples in the collection - although many have now been sold. I do wonder sometimes, if people realise just uncommon some are ??

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Matt - With the background, he had to have existed - as you say may have been retired. I like your little sign off - goes back to the War years and Itma - I wonder how many members today will know what it stands for ???

If referring "ttfn"... I always associate it as Tigger's way of saying goodbye in Winnie the Pooh :cat: ... you don't get to read reference books when you have young kids ;):banger:


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I can't remember what Tigger used to say but, Tommy Handley in ITMA - a very popular ww2 era radio show - always said TTFN as a goodbye. It stood for Ta Ta For Now, and everyone used to say goodbye in this way. Guess you have to be an historian - or, just 'old' to know that !!!

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