The Armourer

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.

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