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An Update On July’s HolmeWork Assignment: A Nicaraguan Stamp and the Sherlock Holmes Medal

An Update On July’s HolmeWork Assignment: A Nicaraguan Stamp and the Sherlock Holmes Medal

” … very energetic inquiries are being made …”

– The Adventure of The Noble Bachelor (NOBL)

Nicaragua SH Stamp

A few weeks ago we posted about the January 5, 1973 dinner meeting of the Baker Street Irregulars and the silver Sherlock Holmes medal that was presented to honor the recent Holmesian stamp issued by Nicaragua.

Peter E. Blau, the 13th Garrideb, commented on that post as follows:

The Sherlock Holmes Silver Medal awarded in absentia to Rafael Sevilla-Sacasa was (and is) a unique award, and as far as I know no photograph of it exists.

I should note that because of the earthquake it’s quite possible that that nice set of stamps does not exist postally used . . . there are first day covers, but they (and the stamps) were produced in the United States and distributed here by the company that managed production of Nicaragua’s postage stamps . . . it may well be that all of the stamps and first day covers in Sherlockian collections were purchased from me, after I obtained covers, sets, and single Sherlocks from the distributor.

We reached out to Mr. Blau with a theory we had about the medal (more on that in a paragraph or two) and he responded with:

Anything’s possible . . . including that Julian may have announced that a medal was being awarded, and didn’t display a medal at the annual dinner, and never got round to doing anything about it.

Since then, we came across this item in the Letters To Baker Street feature of the June 1973 issue of The Baker Street Journal (Volume 23, Number 2, Page 125):

From Hon. Rafael Sevilla-Sacasa, Oficina de Control de Especies Postales y Filatelia, Palacio Nacional, Managua, Republic of Nicaragua:

The silver Sherlock Holmes medal that was awarded to me in absentia at your dinner on 5 January has reached me safely. It is an honour to be awarded your beautiful medal, and I will keep it as a permanent souvenir of The Baker Street Irregulars’ interest in our “Interpol” stamps, one of them depicting Sherlock Holmes.

This gives us confirmation that there was a actual medal awarded. Now, for our theory….

Scandaous Bohemian Medal OBVScandaous Bohemian Medal REV

The Scandalous Bohemians of New Jersey silver medal – 1971

Our theory is that the silver Sherlock Holmes medal that was presented to Mr. Sevilla-Sacasa was the recently issued medal by the Scandalous Bohemians of New Jersey that we discussed in an earlier post.

Why do we think this? These medals had just became available for purchase in the prior year. The medals were only struck in silver and at that time was the only medal ever struck to feature Sherlock Holmes. It seems logical that folks would refer to this particular item as “The Sherlock Holmes (Silver) Medal” in January 1973 (see next paragraph as well). It also seems logical that the BSI would spend $12 to purchase one of these medals rather than go to the expense of producing a special one-time medal.

To give further credence to the theory that people referred to the Scandalous Bohemians medal as “The Medal,” there is this item in the The Scion Societies from the same Baker Street Journal (March 1973, Vol. 23, No. 1, Page 55) that started our inquiry as to what medal was presented at the 1973 BSI Dinner:

THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS Of Westchester County

The annual dinner was held in the Wine Room of Pierre’s Restaurant in New York on 7 December 1972. Seven Pips, headed by Founder and President, Richard W. Clarke; and two guests, Thomas L. Stix and Edward P. Clark, Jr., sat down to a dinner featured by roast goose and something choice in wines.  Each diner contributed a scholarly paper so that the evening was a real Sherlockian landmark. Before the meeting ended, the Commissionaire of the Irregulars awarded the Irregular Shilling with the Investiture of “Colonel Sebastian Moran” to Alastair Martin, and Richard Clarke received the silver Sherlock Holmes medal from the Pips. (emphasis added)

So that presents our theory on the medal awarded.  What do you think? We welcome your comments below.

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