Selling the Family Silver...

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Litotes, Jun 24, 2013.

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  1. I know the Army has been shrinking for decades and there must be an awful lot of silver in storage (and I reckon I probably cleaned and counted large chunks of it during my early career) but it is still very sad to see pieces like these from the Duke of Wellington's Regiment going to auction:

    Catalogue index and order of sale. On Line Auctions, on line auction, on line, on-line, auction, auctions, auctioneers, eBay, eBay style, eBay-style, eBay style auctions, plant and machinery, machinery, antiques, art, fine art, furniture, ceramics, j

    Should we be selling the family silver?

    How much is left in storage?

    I know that I contributed to several pieces of Mess silver during my career, usually unwillingly! However, some of these pieces appear to have been donated by comparatively junior officers. Was that the custom back in the 30s? Or was silver cheap then?

  2. Good spot, some nice items there. Seems wrong to be auctioning it off.
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  3. Don't the Gunners have some mess gold/war loot they should be giving back?
  4. I quite like Lot 100... brrmm brrmm!
  5. To see the DWR's history going under the hammer to the highest bidder does not seem right.Why has it not been given to the regimental association?..
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  6. When I was property member, the mess could not dispose of any presentation pieces without offering it back to the family or having their permission to dispose of it.

    Other mess silver, belonging to a disbanded regiment should go to the unit superseding them or be offered to the regimental museum.

    I don't know if the above was/is just etiquette or is regulated somewhere.
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  7. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Some of our silver is also heading for auction, but the Regtl Assoc is giving first dibs to members at a discount to the guide price. Any left over will be sent to auction.
  8. There used to be something in Mat Regs about the closure of Messes & it's property but I don't know if it transferred to JSP 886.
  9. I wasn't the only one to fancy this lot; it has just sold for 5 times estimate @ £2500 plus costs!

    I feared that much of the silver might be sold for its silver content especially as silver and gold prices are falling fast on the exchanges, but the auctioneer is doing a good job of wringing money from the bidders; a cigar cutter in the shape of an elephant has also just sold for £2500 plus costs - 10 times estimate!

    At these prices, I think (hope) these will be going to collectors and museums!

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  10. I rather think another member of this site was the silver member when his Regimental silver got nicked, back in the early 80s. Saved you having to witness this, you did get a lot of extras I heard!
  11. The King's Own Scottish Borderers recently auctioned off certain items of Officers' Mess silver. HHQ produced a catalogue sent to members of their Officers' Club who then submitted bids. It was very successful, and comforting to know those items are now treasured by Regimental family members. Presentation pieces were offered first to the original donors or their families.

    Of course the 'important' pieces - particularly those of historical significance - were retained for display in the Regimental Museum or passed on to the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
    Unfortunately disposing of certain Regimental artifacts is a financial necessity, it costs a lot of money to insure and a considerable amount is held in vaults, no longer used or seen - particularly that of the old and long defunct TA Bns.
    There was a lot of Regimental, particularly Officers' Mess, silver, consider that it was long a custom in Line Regiments for Officers on joining or leaving the Regiment to present a piece of silver to the Mess.
    Oftentimes Messes, like families, hold on to heirlooms for sentimental reasons and over the years Messes carted around a plethora of silver goblets, quaichs, menu holders, cigarette and cigar boxes, condiment sets, ashtrays, etc., never much used, which cost a considerable amount of money to refurbish and insure - not to mention hours of elbow grease by the Mess Silverman! Every ten years or so inventory was taken and those pieces, instead of being auctioned off, were sent to RHQ who arranged storage - paid for by serving and former officers of the Regiment.

    Sadly there are no new members joining the Officers' Clubs of our old Regiments, our ranks are thinning, subscriptions diminishing, thus necessitating the disposal of certain items of silver.
  12. A QM told me once that it depended on whether the pieces were presented to '1st Battalion, the Loamshires' or to 'the officers/WOs & SNCOs Mess of etc.'

    In the former case it would be government property and could be disposed of by MoD on Brenda's behalf; in the latter it's the property of a private member's club and can only be disposed by the current membership. I certainly made a point of having mine engraved to the Mess.
  13. Most messes have a heap of unused and undisplayed goblets and other tableware. Some of it is exccedingly ugly, even by Victorian standars. Sell it to the regimental family, maybe present the odd bit to the local council and sell the rest, putting the proceeds into a trust to maintain the good bits which are retained by the serving units and museum
  14. I would love to see some of the sporting cups donated to local education authorities for presentations for sport. Portsmouth Schools in the 40's and 50's had a magnificently engraved British Indian Army boxing cup for presentation to the winning school each year. This was in the days when nearly all schools produced boxing teams and iirc, one had to box two or three times to reach the finals. [Stood me in good stead for the millings!]
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  15. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    I believe the auction of the DWR silver has caused a stink amongst retired senior officers of the regiment who knew nothing of it. PWO are selling some of theirs but offering at a discount to old members first, a far better outcome!
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