Bring Me Beermats

We’ve mentioned tegestology (or the collecting of beermats) on this blog before but we failed to mention their connection to one of Britain’s best loved comedy duos of all time.

The official Beermat Collectors Society was founded by Chris Walsh in 1960. How and why Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were recruited as the Society’s first Presidents is unclear. But what we do know is that theirs was far from an honorary distinction. They may have been involved initially as a bit of a joke but theirs became a genuine interest and they amassed a fairly sizeable collection themselves. This interest was immortalised in a Pathe newsclip of the time and you can find out much more about this fascinating hobby at the British Beermat Collectors Society website.

Quite the Patch

We’ve featured military patches before on this blog but this is a real rarity. Often patches owe their value to the short time frame in which they existed. The overwhelming needs of war meant that squadrons changed roles, moved bases, were merged with others or even disbanded.

It is a tremendous help in authenticating a patch to have the provenance and, happily, this is the case here. This Canadian made felt patch belonged to RC113232 J C Donnelly and is complemented by his worn out identity disc, CANADA nationality title, Observer and Navigator half wings. The 149th (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron was originally formed on 1 October 1942 and Donnelly received this patch on 1 July the following year. By 15 March 1944 the sqaudron had been disbanded but not before seeing service in an anti U-boat role off the pacific coast.

Straight to the Sauce

The saucy seaside postcard is now well over a hundred years old. While its origins at the end of the nineteenth century might have been very strait laced by modern standards steadily became more daring.

By the 1930s they had become a positive craze and various characters became staples of the trade. The buxom blonde, the overbearing mother-in-law, the fat vicar, the randy old man and the drunk holidaymaker barely changed for decades but the jokes got steadily more outrageous. So much so in fact that premises were raided and hefty fines handed out to artists under the 1857 Obscenity Act. As late as 1954, Donald McGill, the most famous seaside postcard artist received a hefty fine and thousands of his cards were seized in police raids.

The censors gave up as the sixties dawned but McGill continued working right up to his death. His position as an icon in postcard history was finally cemented in 1994 when the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps featuring his designs.

Three Hundred Years of Promising to Pay the Bearer…

The Bank of England was founded in 1694. Over the following century more than 100 provincial banks were established, creating a treasure trove of collectables for the modern notaphilist.

The Newcastle Bank, the Whitehaven Joint Stock Bank, the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank and the Leeds Old Bank are just a few of these. The flowing lines, subtle shading and fine script is a testament to the considerable financial power they once bore. Their relatively high denominations at the time meant that many people in the eighteenth – and even early nineteenth – century might never see a banknote their whole lives.

Prices inevitably reflect rarity and condition. As an example, a £5 note featuring York Minster and issued by Leyburn Bank for the York City & County Banking Company Limited in April 1899 came to auction in 2021. The note was one of the last examples issued by an English provincial bank and sold for £1,984.

We’re Back!

After our forced hiatus last Saturday, we’re pleased to say that things will be back to normal this week. So we’ll be setting out our stalls for collectors old and new. Stamps, coins, militaria, postcards and ephemera by the carload will be on show for curious connoisseurs, dedicated deltiologists and enthusiastic amateurs alike.

Every collection starts with that first purchase. So what will yours be?