As a child growing up in Derby, Rod Jewell was a keen philatelist until the day he realised that the General Post Office had begun producing stamps specifically for collectors like him. Unwilling to fulfil the role of a consumer, at the age of 22 he turned to postcard collecting instead. Over half a century later, his passion now fills a whole room of his house and it is likely that the 30,000 postcards he owns are worth upwards of half a million pounds.
Although Rod initially specialised in local images of Derby and its environs, his passion has encompassed other unusual niches such as Great War propaganda cards and a very rare same day delivery postcard which was carried by hot air balloon from Manchester at the beginning of the century. A similar card can be seen below.
What on first glance appears to be an ordinary brass bell of the sort which might be found above an old fashioned grocers door is actually a campaign souvenir given to some of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers fortunate enough to return home from the Third Burma War in 1885. While the regiment lost some of its men in battle, many more died from disease.
The choice of a bell came about because during the campaign, the First Battalion had brought three large bronze bells back to Britain: two from the Buddhist temple known as the Incomparable Pagoda in Mandalay and one found in India. One of the Temple bells ended up in Wrexham on a brick pillar outside Woolworths before finding a more decorous home in the Burma Garden of Bodhyfryd Memorial Hall.
Of course, the detail which identifies this as one of the souvenir bells in question and authenticating its age of 136 years is the RWf stamp on the inside. This particular one retains its lead clapper but the traces of glue on the inside of the bell show that it was at some point set to ‘silent’! And if you’d like to see it close up, Michael Burroughs of Anything Military has confirmed that the bell will be on display and on sale this Saturday at the market.
What’s twice as rare as an imperial yeomanry Stetson from the Boer War, I hear you ask? Why, two of them of course.
Photos of this marvellously preserved pair of hats were sent to us by Michael Burroughs of Anything Military and he has confirmed that they will be on sale at the Market this Saturday. Both sport the correct three inch red lined purple silk pugari with the king’s crown button and black ostrich feather. Inside the leather band is marked “3X Beaver Quality STETSON. John B. Stetson Company, USA, Made In Australia”.
The classic Stetson ‘open road’ style was developed as a refinement to the original ‘Boss of the Plains’ hat which had a broader brim and rounded dome – see image below. The creased crown and narrower brim of the open road would become classic cowboy headgear and the company boasted that the tight weave allowed it to hold water – hence the advertisements showing a cowboy using his Stetson to give his horse a drink. The ‘ten gallon’ moniker is misleading though. While it may be a corruption of the spanish term tan galán, (tr. “really handsome”), in reality a typical Stetson would hold about three litres (or six pints).