A Scion Society of The Baker Street Irregulars
“It looked like a small museum.”
– The Adventure oft the Three Garridebs (3GAR)
In 1990, the Sherlock Holmes Museum was opened at 239 Baker Street in London. Almost immediately, they came into a “turf war” with the Abbey National Bank over who could claim the rights to 221B Baker Street. The headquarters for Abbey National occupied the site where the “real” 221B would have been located and had employed a personal secretary to answer the many letters that were addressed to Sherlock Holmes and delivered to their offices. This disputed ended when Abbey National relocated in 2002 and the Royal Mail started delivering Holmes mail to the Museum.
In the years since its opening, the museum owners have had disputes with Dame Jean Conan Doyle, British Sherlockians, and among themselves. Numerouse lawsuits and complaints had been filed against the museum. Outside the museum is a commemorative blue plaque implying that this building is where Holmes lived from 1881-1904. This sign mimics the real signs that the English Heritage Trust erects around the country and they will not install a sign for “a fictional character.”
We first started reaching out to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, inquiring about their medals, shortly after our group was formed in August 2014, We have made several other attempts since then and have yet to receive any response to any of our inquiries. In August 2014, the online store for the museum “was temporarily closed for restocking.” It has yet to reopen when we have checked every month since then…..
We have two medals that we believe to have been issued from the Museum. Actually, we are positive about the second medal – it’s the first medal we have some lingering doubts about.
OBVERSE: CONSULTING DETECTIVE / (right facing profile of Sherlock Holmes with pipe and wearing deerstalker cap) / • SHERLOCK HOLMES •
REVERSE: (crown) / 221B / BAKER / STREET / (symbol) / LONDON / (within a wreath)
Round, 40 mm, Brass
OBVERSE: SHERLOCK HOLMES / (right facing profile of Sherlock Holmes with pipe and wearing deerstalker cap) / • CONSULTING DETECTIVE • 1881 – 1904 •
REVERSE: THE SHERLOCK HOLMES MUSEUM / (crown) / 221B / BAKER / STREET / (symbol) / LONDON / (within a wreath) / • LONDON •
Round, 40 mm, Brass
The first pictured medal was available for purchase back in August 2014, while the second pictured medal was first seen in June 2015 and has been offered for sale online with some frequency since then.
The first medal does not mention the Museum at all, but shares many design elements with the second newer medal. In addition, the Museum was fairly litigious with others when it came to use the phrase “221B Baker Street.” For these reasons, we believe the first medal was issued by the Museum.