I don’t think Steve Grundy is a detectorist, but he was interested in my recent blogpost on the subject of sweetheart brooches, and contacted me about an item he had in his collection. I must confess that I’d never come across this before, and was rather intrigued.
The brooches I highlighted earlier were, in effect, good luck mascots. What Steve showed me was also a good luck charm, popular in the 19th and 20th centuries and often given to soldiers about to go to war. The tiny charm has an interesting history, which the Victorians probably believed …
The Fumsup (Thumbs-Up) character is believed to hark back to Roman times and the days of the gladiators. The story goes that the emperor would decide whether a gladiator would live or die. A ‘thumbs up’ would meant he would live and a ‘thumbs down’ would mean death. Nice story, but I’d take it with a pinch of salt.
It was the outbreak of WWI that saw the popularity of the FUMSUP soar. This was also when the wooden head first appeared and he became a touch wood charm as well as a Fumsup one. Steve tells me that the head is usually oak, and when new would have had two bead eyes. Oak was the preferred structural building material in the superstitious medieval times. Apparently builders would looked for an oak tree that had been struck by lighting and use a piece of the tree in a house build as ‘lightning never strikes in the same place twice’. The FUMSUP with its acorn or oak nut head was derived from this. Notice that the arms are articulated so it can touch its own head. Touch wood.
Advertisements for the jeweller, J. C. Vickery, show a picture of a curious charm entitled, “Fumsup” together with a recommendation to send one, ‘to your friend on active service.’ See the one sold at Fellow’s Auctions in 2016.
I was wondering if any detectorist reading this had found a FUMSUP. If so, I’d love to see it and add to this blogpost. Also complements my earlier post on Joan the Wad.
A DELIGHTFUL STORY
Leigh Griffiths writes:
“After a few hours searching with a mate, I hadn’t much to show for my efforts. He headed up to the car for a bit of food, so I follwed him. On route I spotted a little Lego man and picked it up, gave him a kiss and popped him in my pocket.
When I showed him to my friend I said, “If I find nothing else today, I don’t care as I love this little man.” After eating we continued searching and the very next target was the gold coin the toy man is holding. 😊 Ever since that day LegoMan is in my finds pouch. He is my good luck charm …
New £1 coin:
What do you need to know about the end of the round pound?