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Category Archives: Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

“… a certain gracious lady …”

– The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans (BRUC)

     

The majority of the stories in the Sherlock Holmes Canon take place during the reign of Queen Victoria. Ascending to the throne on June 20, 1837, she would rule for over 63 years until her death on January 22, 1901.

For Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, there was a great outpouring of goodwill from the British public towards the Queen with huge parades and banquets in her honor.

The British Royal Mint struck medals for both events and the 1897 official medal for the Diamond Jubilee is very stunning with a simplistic design. The obverse of the medal features the “old” or “veiled” bust of Victoria surrounded with a latin phrase that translates as “Queen Victoria successfully completed the sixtieth year of her reign, 20 June, 1897.” The medal’s reverse features the “young” bust of Victoria with a latin phrase that is translated as “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.”

The young bust would be used on Victoria’s coinage for the first fifty years of her reign. The veiled head would be used on her majesty’s coinage from 1893 until her death. In between, the “Jubilee” bust that was designed for her golden jubilee was utilized.

The Diamond Jubilee Medal was struck in three medals – gold, silver and bronze. All three metals were struck in a large 56 millimeter size, while a smaller (26 millimeter) medal was also struck in gold and silver.

The medal was designed and sculpted by Sir Thomas Brock. Brock had designed the veiled head design back in 1893 and would later recieve the commission to create the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace after her passing.

Beginning in 1967, the Baker Street Irregulars began awarding the small silver Queen Victoria Medal for “outstanding contributions to the quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.”  The medal has been awarded irregularly in the years that have followed, and the original intent of honoring trans-Atlantic contributions seems to have been loosened.

Recipients of the Queen Victoria Medal from the Baker Street Irregulars include:

1967 – Colin G. Prestige

1968 – Baron Gore-Booth

1969 – Lord Donegall

1969 – Lew D. Feldman

1981 – Dorothy Stix

1984 – Eleanor Baker O’Connor

1985 – John Bennett Shaw

1986 – Dorothy Stix (second award)

1987 – Albert M. and Julia C. Rosenblatt

1989 – Edith Meiser

1990 – Katherine McMahon

1990 – Dorothy [West] Beverly

1991 – Fritz Sonnenschmidt

1992 – Theresa Thomalen

1993 – Phillip A. Shreffler

1994 – Eleanor Baker O’Connor (second award)

1995 – Dorothy R. Shaw

1996 – Robert E. Thomalen

At the 1987 BSI Cocktail Party (the day after the annual BSI Dinner). Eleanor Wolff, the wife of Dr. Julian Wolff, was honored with a gilded version of the Queen Victoria medal.

Quite an impressive listing of recipients!

                            Thanks to the 13th Garrideb, Peter E. Blau, for sharing the list of the award recipients.

Julian Wolff, A Silver Dollar and A Gold Sovereign

Julian Wolff, A Silver Dollar and A Gold Sovereign

“Do you know anything of the commissionaire?” – The Adventure of The Naval Treaty (NAVA) Julian Wolff, M.D. – BSI Commissionaire 1961 – 1986 There are several members of our group that had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Julian Wolff, the Commissionaire of the Baker Street Irregulars from 1961 until he stepped down in 1986. There… Continue Reading

The Ballad of the Queen’s Shilling (1965)

The Ballad of the Queen’s Shilling (1965)

What a beautiful coin the shilling is which bears the famous Wyon head! J. C. Horsley, RA—victim of Whistler’s savagely contemptuous “Horsley soit qui mal y pense!” —did a sketch of the 19-year old Queen, and William Wyon engraved the head for a medal struck to commemorate the Queen’s first visit to the Mansion House. HM liked the Wyon head so… Continue Reading

London on Eleven Shillings a Day

London on Eleven Shillings a Day

“…  as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be.” – A Study in Scarlet (STUD) The canon references a variety of coins and their nicknames, common enough for the Victorian reader, but quite confusing for those in the twenty-first century. Even more perplexing was the… Continue Reading

Jeremy Brett Featured on Fantasy £20 Banknote

Jeremy Brett Featured on Fantasy £20 Banknote

“… I’ve got more pounds to my name …” – The Adventure of The Gloria Scott (GLOR) A fantasy £20 bank note for the Bank of London, featuring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, was released for sale in late July 2016 on many of the online auction services. The notes are incredibly well detailed and at… Continue Reading

The Coins on Ronald’s Adair Desk

The Coins on Ronald’s Adair Desk

“On the table lay two bank-notes for £10 each and £17 10s. in silver and gold …” – The Adventure of The Empty House (EMPT) In The Adventure of The Final Problem, we learn of the murder of the Honourable Ronald Adair. Watson goes on to describe Adair’s fondness for cards and describes the desk where… Continue Reading

The Indian General Service Medal of Colonel Sebastian Moran

The Indian General Service Medal of Colonel Sebastian Moran

“This, gentlemen, is Colonel Sebastian Moran, once of Her Majesty’s Indian Army …” – The Adventure of The Empty House (EMPT) After the arrest of Colonel Sebastian Moran in The Final Problem, Holmes and Watson retire to 221b Baker Street. While conversing, Watson mentions that he was not familiar with the Colonel. Holmes looks through his… Continue Reading

City of London’s Medal Of The Tower Bridge Opening

City of London’s Medal Of The Tower Bridge Opening

“Now we are on the bridge.” – The Sign of Four (SIGN) London’s Tower Bridge has featured prominently in many of the film and television adaptions of various Sherlock Holmes stories.  Yet, it was never specifically mentioned by name in any of the 60 stories that make up the Canon. From 1832 to 1902, the… Continue Reading

Dr. Watson’s Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Dr. Watson’s Afghanistan Campaign Medal

“The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster.” – A Study In Scarlet (STUD) With that comment, within the first two hundred words of STUD, we are given a strong viewpoint of Dr Watson’s regarding his participation in the Second Anglo-Afghanistan War of 1878 – 1880.… Continue Reading

Here Are Your Wages (1971)

Here Are Your Wages (1971)

“Here are your wages.” – A Study In Scarlet (STUD) Sherlock Holmes handed each of the original Baker Street Irregulars a shilling and said, “Here are your wages.” As you know, today’s Irregulars have as a symbol the Victorian shilling. This, more than any other, is the coin we associate with Holmes. Though the Canon… Continue Reading