Antique silver from Lancashire Regiment of Fusiliers to be auctioned off

A collection of Regimental Silver, sold by order of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to benefit the Fusiliers’ Aid Society, is to be auctioned in January at Tennants Auctioneers.

Comprising more than 50 lots, the silver will be sold in the Antiques and Interiors Sale on January 5 and the Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on January 13.

The silver dates from the 19th and early 20th century, and is mostly related to XX The Lancashire Fusiliers, which merged into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 1968, and the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot, which had been incorporated into the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1881.

Many of the pieces were given to the regiments by officers, and bear names and inscription.

Highlights of the collection being sold in the sale on January 13 include an oversized Victorian silver claret jug and a pair of goblets made in Birmingham in 1880 by Frederick Elkington, presented to the Second Battalion of the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment by Lieutenant A Montgomery to mark his marriage (estimate: £2,000-3,000 plus buyer’s premium), and a Victorian Silver Meat Dish (one of a number of similar lots) made in London in 1837 by Benjamin Smith engraved with the badge of the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment (estimate: £1,500-2,500).

Also of note in the same sale are a set of six Chinese export silver chopstick rests, retailed by Ye Chang, Tianjin, presumably acquired when the Lancashire Fusiliers, whose badge adorns each rest, were stationed in China (estimate: £400-600), and a Victorian silver claret jug made in London in 1873 by Robert Hennell, which was presented to the Officers of the 2nd Battalion of the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment by Captain Baldwin K Whiteford on his promotion in 1872 (estimate: £600-800).

The collection will also offer a selection of silver finger bowls, linked with one of the regiment’s longstanding traditions.

Each year, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is one of the regiments to celebrate Minden Day on August 1, which commemorates the participation of their antecedent regiments in the Battle of Minden in Prussia, which took place in 1759 as part of the Seven Years War.

As the soldiers went into battle, they plucked wild roses from the hedgerows which they wore as they advanced.

To this day modern regiments linked to those soldiers wear Minden roses in their headdress and decorate their regimental colours with garlands of roses on Minden Day.

However, officers of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers also have another tradition; when they attend their first Minden Day Dinner at the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers’ Officer’s Mess, they are presented a rose to eat in a silver bowl after which they toast those that fell during the battle, and any that don’t partake have their names recorded in the mess ledgers.

Rumour has it that the young officers would curry favour with the mess staff in the run up to the dinner, to ensure they had a small, young and tender flower to eat. All the silver finger bowls, which were made in the opening years of the 20th century, will be offered in group lots in the January 13 Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale.

The Fusiliers’ Aid Society looks after soldiers and their families, both in service and in retirement, from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and its antecedent Regiments.

To learn more about the charity visit: https://www.fusiliersconnect.com/get-support/wellfare-well-being/fusiliers-aid-society