Irregular Postings on Coin Collecting & Numismatics - Both Canonical & Conanical

A Scion Society of The Baker Street Irregulars

Numismatists Do Not Fear Change

Data! Data! Data! – The Mazarin Stone

Data! Data! Data! – The Mazarin Stone

“‘Data! Data! Data!‘ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.’”

– The Adventures of The Copper Beeches (COPP)

His thick stick half raised, he was crouching for his final spring and blow when a cool, sardonic voice greeted him from the open bedroom door: ‘Don’t break it, Count! Don’t break it!’  ~ Ilustration by  Alfred Gilbert, October 1921 issue of The Strand

This column is composed of material (Data!) developed for a short course called Appreciating Sherlock Holmes that I taught twice a year in the Community Education Life Enrichment Program for a local community college.  It is composed of “points of information” that are common to many / most / all of the 60 Canonical stories.

HERE GOES      The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone


“This narrative, reported by some unknown hand, is so singular a mixture of several plots and persons already familiar, that many experts have wished to exclude it from the Canon altogether.  Even the arrangement of the Baker Street rooms is different from what we expect.  The effect is of a story written on hearsay by some sensational journalist who had no personal knowledge of the facts.”


“This story was adapted from a stage play by Doyle called The Crown Diamond.  Holmes uses several tricks, including a wax dummy and a record player, to extract a confession and recover a stolen jewel.  It’s definitely the weakest story in the canon.”


This is the 49th. of the 60 stories. First published in The Strand Magazine, October 1921. In the US, Hearst’s International, November 1921.This is  part of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes collection by John Murray, London, in 1927 and also by George D. Doran, New York, 1927

The British illustrator was Alfred Gilbert, whie Frederic Dorr Steele was the illustrattor when published in the United States.


At 5,716 words, MAZA has the 3rd most words (#1 is VEIL – 4,499, #56 if NAVL – 12,701)


It is pretty much agreed by all that this nas not Doyle’s best effort.

1927 – Arthur Conan Doyle did not have it on his list of 12 favorites.

1959 – The Baker Street Irregulars voted it 60th on list of least favorites– last place. 1999 – The Baker Street Irregulars voted it 55th of the 56 short stories.

1999 – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London voted it 45th of the 56 short stories.


This case is one of 4 classified as a theft of gems.  The others were BERY, BLUE, and SIXN.


Baring-Gould places the date of the story as “One day in the Summer of 1903” which makes it 57th of the 60 stories.  This means that Holmes is 49 and Watson 51.


Just for the heck of it, here is one or two items each month since I had a six page list.

  • Jan 2nd Pres T Roosevelt shuts down post office in Indianola Miss, for refusing to accept its appointed postmistress because she was black
  • Jan 7th Start of Sherlock Holmes “Adventure of Blanched Soldier”
  • Feb 22nd Due to drought the US side of Niagara Falls runs short of water
  • Feb 23rd The US and Cuba sign an agreement by which Cuba releases Guantanamo and Bahia Hondo to the US for naval stations
  • Mar 22nd – Niagara Falls runs out of water because of a drought
  • Mar 23rd Wright brothers obtain airplane patent
  • Apr 14th Dr Harry Plotz discovers vaccine against typhoid (NYC)
  • Apr 20th 7th Boston Marathon won by John Lorden of Mass in 2:41:29.8
  • Apr 29th Limestone slides at Turtle Mountain kill 9 (Frank, Alberta)
  • May 20th Britain’s House of Commons begins a debate on the charges of poor administration and ill treatment of natives in Belgium’s colony in the Congo Free State
  • May 29th May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, are assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.
  • Jun 10th In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, a military coup d’etat- led by the Queen’s brother-in-law and other offices – kills King Alexander I of Serbia, Queen Draga, and many officers
  • Jun 16th – Pepsi Cola company forms
  • Jun 16th – Roald Amundsen commences the first east-west navigation of the Northwest Passage by leaving Oslo, Norway.
  • Jul 1st 1st Tour de France bicycle race begins
  • Jul 17th The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party meets, first in Brussels and then London because their leaders have been forced into exile by the Russian Government
  • Aug 2nd Unsuccessful uprising of Macedonians against Turkey
  • Aug 4th Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto of Venice elected Pope Pius X
  • Sep 9th 6 km long Engadin-railroad tunnel of Switzerland inaugurated
  • Sep 15th Queen Wilhelmina calls railroad strikers “criminals”
  • Oct 1st 1st baseball World Series, Pittsburgh Pirates vs Boston Pilgrims (Red Sox)
  • Oct 10th The Women’s Social and Political Union was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst to fight for women’s rights in Britain.
  • Nov 3rd Colombia grants independence to Panama
  • Dec 9th Norwegian parliament votes unanimiously for female suffrage
  • Dec 13th – Wright Bros make 1st flight at Kittyhawk
  • Dec 16th – The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel opens its doors to guests


It was pleasant to Dr. Watson to find himself once more in the untidy room of the first floor in Baker Street which had been the starting-point of so many remarkable adventures.” Sounds like he was visiting, not residing there. Billy the page is on the job.


  • BILLY, the page
  • PRIME MINISTER (Arthur Balfour 7-11-02 to 12-05-05, Conservative)
  • HOME SECRETARY (Aretas Akers-Douglas  7-12-02 to 12-11-05 Liberal)
  • LORD CANTLEMERE, pompous lord who had no faith in Holmes’ ability and was opposed to hiring him.
  • COUNT NEGRETTO SYLVIUS, half-Italian, big game hunter, the thief
  • SAM MERTON, a boxer, confidant to Sylvius
  • STRAUBENZEE, made the air gun.
  • VAN SEDDER, ship captain who planned to take the stone to Amsterdam and cut it into smaller stones.
  • TAVERNER, French model maker who made the mannequin of Holmes.
  • YONGHAL. One of the Scotland Yard men that Holmes tells Watson to contact. He is with the C.I.D.
  • IKEY SANDERS, a diamond fence.


  • “The faculties become refined when you starve them. Why, surely, as a doctor, my dear Watson, you must admit that your digestion gains in the way of blood supply is so much lost to the brain.  I am a brain, Watson.  The rest of me is a mere appendix.  Therefore, it is the brain I must consider.”
  • “Yes, the great yellow Mazarin stone. I’ve cast my net and I have my fish.  But I have not got the stone.  What is the use of taking them?  We can make the world a better place by laying them by the heels.  But that is not what I am out for.  It’s the stone I want.”
  • “Yes, you can, Watson. And you will, for you have never failed to play the game.  I am sure you will play it to the end”


There is no mention in the story but given who the illustrious clients were, Holmes probably got a bundle.  By now Holmes should be quite wealthy.


  • 1923 The Stone of Mazarin with Eille Norwood was one of his 47.  The National Film and Television Archive at the BFI has viewing copies of this film but it has not been released
  • 1994 The Mazarin Stone with Jeremy Brett as one of 43 episodes in his Sherlock Holmes TV series
  • 2001 The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip as an episode in Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (Animated TV series)


Holmes does double duty in this tale – – both stag and drag in one day.  He was both an old man AND an old woman


  • Old Baron Dowson, who said of Holmes, “What the law has gained, the stage has lost.
  • Old Mrs. Harold. She left Count Sylvus the Blymar estate.  The count quickly gamble it away.
  • Miss Minnie Warrender, who was done in by Count Sylvius.


  • “Home Secretary” Head of the Home Office, responsible for the maintenance of the peace and administration of the police, judicial, and penal systems.  Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston was Home Secretary from 1902-1905 when MAZA
  • “gasogene” Is used to produce seltzer water.  In spite of connection to Holmes, is only mention here and in SCAN.
  • “gudgeon” A small fresh-water fish used for bait.  To “swallow a gudgeon” mean to be bamboozled by the most palpable lie, as silly fish are caught by gudgeons.
  • “the waiting room” Billy, the page boy, says Sam Merton was there.  It is the only mention of a waiting room in the Canon.


  • Air-Gun – Of Count Negretto Sylvius, made by Straubenzee, by which Holmes had every expectation of being shot at.
  • Revolver – Which Sylvius took with him on his visit to 221B Baker Street.
  • Thick Stick – Which Count Negretto Sylvius had with him on his visit to Baker Street for the express purpose of bashing Holmes’ skull in, and was nearly successful in wrecking Holmes’ mannequin.
  • Fists – Of Sam Merton, unused but nevertheless a ready weapon.

Frank Mentzel, aka Merridew of Abominable Memory, has been catching up on reading some of the books he has and has just relocated his residence of over 50 years recently.



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