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1994 BSI Dinner Souvenir From Watson’s Tin Box

1994 BSI Dinner Souvenir From Watson’s Tin Box

“Have you your cheque-book?”

– The Adventure of The Beryl Coronet (BERY)

WTB 199401 BSI Dinner Check OBV

WTB 199401 BSI Dinner Check REV

One of the traditions of the annual Baker Street Irregulars dinners held each January is a gift bag of assorted cards, souvenirs and assorted goodies from attendees, other Sherlockians and scions from around the globe. My home scion of Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City, Maryland participates in this tradition with a souvenir that is issued by the group’s Gasogene.  This post will focus on their souvenir that was given out at the January 7, 1994 dinner at 24 5th Street in New York City.

Watson’s Tin Box was not yet 5 years old when the 1994 BSI dinner rolled around. Steve Clarkson’s term as Gasogene IV would be ending later that month when Watson’s Tin Box would hold their annual Mycroft gathering.  The Mycroft is highlighted by the Torquemada challenge, a killer test of Sherlockian knowledge and memory of minutiae. Clarkson collaborated with another of the cofounders of WTB, Paul Churchill, to create their 1994 BSI Dinner souvenir – a cheque drawn by Dr. Watson on his Messrs. Cox & Company.

Steve Clarkson
Steve Clarkson ~ Photo by Denny Dobry

Clarkson had the investiture as Morse Hudson in the Baker Street Irregulars, which he received in 1970 at a meeting of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore. Clarkson was the list-owner of the Hounds of the Internet from 2000-2004 and was the author of The Canonical Compendium in 1999. Clarkson would pass away on October 19, 2004.

Paul Churchill
Paul Churchill as Dr.Watson, September 2008 ~ Photo by Laura Klotz

Paul Churchill, was an avid Sherlockian who collected items mentioned in the stories of the Canon for his evidence boxes. Items that Churchill could not find for his evidence boxes, he would create “genuine faux reproductions” for those missing pieces. Churchill became a BSI member in 2006 with an investiture of Corot. Churchill and Clarkson together produced the book The Sherlockian Star Chamber in 1996. Many other Sherlockian published works were illustrated with caricatures that Churchill drew. Churchill passed beyond the terrace on November 7, 2008.

Peter E. Blau, the 13th Garrideb, had the following to say about the 1994 BSI dinner in his Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press for January 1994:

The Baker Street Irregulars gathered at 24 Fifth Avenue, where *The* Woman was Theresa Thomalen, who was toasted by Bill Schweickert during the pre-dinner cocktail party and then departed to dine at the National Arts Club with other ladies who have received that honor. The BSI’s agenda featured the usual toasts and traditions, and Bruce Montgomery’s melodic tribute to his grand-aunt Clara and to his father, and then focused on 60 years of BSI history, including George Fletcher’s anecdotal history of The Baker Street Journal, a joint presentation by Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin of some of the better Irregular poetry, Steve Rothman’s discussion of the very early meetings of the BSI, and reminiscences of the annual dinners of the 1950s by David Weiss (who has been attending the annual dinners for more than 40 years). Bill Schweickert’s own poetic birthday tribute to the Master ended the historic and historical festivities.

Irregular Shillings and Investitures were given to Bruce Montgomery (“The Red Circle”), Peter J. Crupe (“The Noble Bachelor”), Mickey Fromkin (“The Missing Three-Quarter”), Ruthann Stetak (“The Camberwell Poisoning Case”), Geoffrey Stavert (“The Shingle of Southsea”), Bill Vande Water (“An Enlarged Photograph”), Don Izban (“Market Street”), Tom Joyce (“A Yellow-Backed Novel”), Hirotaka Ueda (“Japanese Armor”), Thomas Utecht (“Arthur Charpentier”), and Francine Swift (“The Wigmore Street Post Office”). Eleanor O’Connor was awarded the Queen Victoria Medal in recognition of her many years of assistance to the BSI at the annual dinners, and Don Redmond (who is almost ready to publish a new index to the Baker Street Journal updated through 1993) received the BSI’s Two-Shilling Award.

The genuine faux-cheque that Clarkson and Churchill produced measures 8.25 inches by 4.375 inches and is printed on yellow parchment paper.  Black, red and blue ink were used in the printing. Per the “Certificate of Authenticity” that accompanied the three pounds two shillings and six pence cheque, it was to pay for vault storage of Dr. Watson’s tin dispatch box at the Charing Cross offices of Messrs. Cox & Co.

WTB 199401 BSI Dinner COA

Thanks to Bruce Eberle, Gasogene III of Watson’s Tin Box, for sharing this item.

WTBWatson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion in Columbia, MD, is one of the most active Sherlockian groups in the Middle Atlantic region, Generally meeting on the last Monday of each month, the meetings feature canonical toasts, good conversations and dining, as well as a discussion of the month’s featured story and an educational presentation. For more information about Watson’s Tin Box, please visit their website HERE..

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