Dinner at Tennants
A signed menu from an RAF Biggin Hill dinner celebrating the destruction of the 1,000th enemy aircraft from the sector sold in Tennants Auctioneers’ auction on 3 December for £1,364 (includes Buyer’s Premium of 20%+VAT). The Sergeant’s Mess dinner was held on 11 June 1943 and had been adorned with a signed ink cartoon sketch by French fighter pilot Pierre Costerman and signed by 29 pilots including Battle of Britain aces Sailor Malan, Irving S Smith, Ralph ‘Tich’ Havercroft, T Higginson and French ace Rene Mouchette.
The top lot of the sale was an early 17th century composite close helmet, which was possibly Flemish in origin, sold for £2,232. The helmet was engraved with bands of foliate strapwork, and comfortably beat its pre-sale estimate. Drawing interest from American buyers was a late 19th century North American Indian bandolier bag, possibly made by the Obijwe people, which sold for £1,984.
One of the highlights was a rare 17th century Hounslow broadsword by Johann Kinndt, which was made c. 1640-1650 (sold for £1,736). Hounslow became a centre of sword manufacturing from the early 17th century, populated by highly skilled craftsmen from Germany. Hounslow broad swords by Kinndt are rare, but two examples are held in the collection of the V&A.
Exceeding expectations to sell for £930 was World War I pair awarded to Private David McKinley of the Gordon Highlanders. Included in the lot were his dog tag, a silver cigarette case, a Red Cross Society War Service medal, a Glengarry cap and a Tam o’Shanter cap with badges, a portrait photograph of McKinley and a quantity of ephemera.
Next, a Crimea medal from 1854 with one clasp for ‘SEBASTAPOL’. Named to a man of the 8th Hussards, complete with printed research, this went for £161.20.
Finally, an Afghanistan medal 1878-80, with three clasps for ‘PEIWAR KOTAL’, ‘KABUL’ and ‘KANDAHAR’, awarded to Corporal D Darling, 72nd Highlanders, with photocopies of Seaforth Highlanders Medal Roll on which he is recorded. This sold for £496.