Keeping a regular blog isn’t easy, especially when you are not a practising detectorist. Coming up with something new on a regular basis can be a challenge. Perhaps I spend too much time reminiscing about the old days. I have no doubt that looking back and remembering how things used to be can be seen as a staple diet of this blog. And I don’t apologise for that. If you don’t like my ramblings then you can always ‘switch me off’. 🙂
There is a difference between thinking and sharing past experiences about the past and living in it. Many people see me as a miserable old bugger, which is far from the truth. Okay, you’ve only got my word for it! Living in the past doesn’t rob me of the opportunity to enjoy the present.
I choose to live in the past because it’s familiar; I spend a lot of time there because I know what happened. There are no surprises … like my credit card being compromised. Again. Waiting in all day for a tradesman to call. And he doesn’t; and so on. You get the picture.
I do try the occasional smile at all the problems of modern living thrown my way. But, it is easier for me to reminisce about finding that gold coin than it is to deal with my current situation. My nostalgia isn’t unhealthy. In fact I capitalise on the situation by writing for a magazine (not detecting) that is for oldies and steeped in the past.
Remember this old adage? “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present!”
Goodness. What a preamble and lame excuse for writing about something I’ve already mentioned before. It’ll be fresh for some, but was first mentioned in a newsletter I used to create for the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) and which can be seen by clicking on the link.
The UKDFD was formed in 2005 by a group of metal detecting enthusiasts who joined forces and formed an online facility to promote good practice within the hobby. What follows is what I wrote at the time. The database is still going today … to the chagrin of a blogger who lives overseas!
SEALED WITH A LOVING WISH
I don’t know if you believe in the power of positive thinking and auto-suggestion, but I thought I would give it a go. In all my years detecting, I had never found a seal matrix. Everyone has a ‘wish list’ and this object was at the top of mine. I told everyone on a detecting forum that I was going on a dig and asked them to help me by focusing their minds on the meaning of the words seal matrix.
This collective ‘think tank’, together with my positive outlook would help me in my quest … or so I thought. And it did! Mind you, I was hoping for a Vesica type seal, but the near perfect Georgian fob seal was gratefully received. I was overjoyed!
A circular fob seal of the Georgian period. The handle is of cast copper alloy and has moulded scrollwork decoration and a suspension loop with one knop. The intaglio is light blue, and the design appears to be moulded rather than engraved. The material is uncertain. The intaglio device is a clenched fist, around which there is the inscription, ‘SHOULD THIS MEET YOUR EYE’. There are traces of gilt present on the handle. UKDFD
It isn’t often you find a complete example, especially one with the intaglio intact. Rather unusually, it shows a clenched fist with that strange inscription. I can only assume that is what you get if you disbelieve! Rather apt, don’t you think? Here’s a reversed image of the intaglio.
The fob seal can also be found on Pinterest, saved from my record on UKDFD by somebody called Patty Weigleman.
I asked for more information on this seal and DIOZ (Dave in Oz), a researcher on the British MD Forum, has come up with a great lead, which I will try to interpret here.
Evidently it all concerns the the ‘wafer’, a stationer’s adhesive, that was in widespread use in the 19th century as a substitute for sealing wax, and was the accepted means of letter closure prior to the coming of the gummed envelope. The upper non-adhesive was used for a variety of graphic motifs or cryptic messages, ranging from ‘Ah! tis only me’ or ‘My love’. There were also messages calling for temperance, world peace and reform.
The most celebrated of these were campaign messages were those published from the Punch magazine office denouncing the Home Secretary Sir James Graham for his action of opening letters at the post office. Graham had exercised his right as Home Secretary to intercept and examine mail, especially those suspected of plotting against the government.
Punch’s anti-Graham ‘wafers’ appeared as sixteen illustrated slogans on a single printed sheet and was decorated with such motifs as a porcupine (‘Hands Off’) and a lobster (‘Not too be red without getting into hot water’). Another featured a bared arm and fist over the caption, ‘SHOULD THIS MEET YOUR EYE’. A favourite was a rifle with the words, ‘I hope the contents will reach you’.
We can assume that a rather wealthy personage adopted one of the wafer slogans and instead of having to buy a sheet every time, a permanent seal was made to be used with wax. This explains the cryptic words on the intaglio … and the date fits in nicely too!
I’ve had that seal for fifteen years and only now know the significance of SHOULD THIS MEET YOUR EYE. Isn’t this hobby fascinating?
THANK YOU TO DIOZ FOR PUTTING ME ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO SOLVING THIS ‘COLD CASE’