Greg Ruby produces some wonderful posts in his blog on Sherlockian numismatics, The Fourth Garrideb. An item posted on July 10,
2015 asks about a medal designed by R. Tait McKenzie, but possible never struck. Can anyone help? Does an example of this medal exist
In early May, I was attending the annual meeting of the Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State, a BSI scion organized by fellow
Garrideb Terry Hunt that honors Christopher Morley. During the course of the three hours that we were enjoying lunch, I was approached by the editor
of The Baker Street Journal, Steven Rothman, who showed me the lapel pin that he was wearing on his coat. Rothman commented that the design
was based on a medal for Morley’s Three Hours for Lunch Club, and asked if I had ever seen it. When I replied that I had not, he mentioned that they
had one of the medals in the archives at the University of Pennsylvania.
Later that same evening, I was lucky enough to have my train trip from New York’ to my home of Baltimore delayed by four hours. To pass
the time, I started searching the internet to see if I could find any information on the medal that Rothman had mentioned. I came across
the September 8, 1928 issue of The Saturday Review of Literature and on page 101 was Morley’s column, The Bowling Green. The
column was titled Adventures In Hoboken and provided an update on the Three Hours For Lunch Club. In the middle of the page was a
picture of a medal with the caption – “THE SUN’S OVER THE FORE-YARD, Symbolic medal designed by R. Tait McKenzie for the Three Hours
for Lunch Club. The text of the column makes no reference to the pictured medal. The entire column can be read by clicking here.
Continuing to research this online, I discovered that the caption of the photo was slang used by naval officers to indicate that it was
time for a drink.
I also came across the online inventory of the R. Tait McKenzie archive at the University of Pennsylvania and perused what was available
in the 50 plus boxes of material available.
The following Saturday I was back in New York (no train issues this time!) to attend the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes Spring
Luncheon. During the luncheon, I was seated next to Burt Wolder, one half of the team that produces the I Hear of Sherlock
Everywhere podcasts. Wolder also makes the arrangements for his version of The Three Hours For Lunch Club to meet on the Thursday of
BSI weekend in January the last several years. Wolder was also the person who had ordered the lapel pin that Steven Rothman had shown me
the previous weekend. I mentioned that I was hoping to visit the Penn archives in the near future and Wolder mentioned that he would like
to join the trip. So, on a sunny Friday in June, the two of us met up on the Penn campus.
We had made arrangements prior to our visit to pull three boxes from the archives that seemed the best fit for our research. Our first
file produced multiple photographs of the medal. These photographs, to me, appear to be identical to the picture that appeared in the
Saturday Review of Literature.
Next, we reviewed some of McKenzie’s correspondence with people whose last names started with “M.” We were hoping to possibly find some
correspondence with Morley. No such luck.
The last item was a nearly four inch plaster galvano of the medal, pictured at the top of this post. Over the years, the plaster has
endured a few nicks and chips to it. Holding the plaster in your hand, it really is a striking design
OBVERSE: (Tait’s monogram) / FECIT / 1926 / (a flag showing three hourglasses, on a foreyard and the sun rising behind it) / TRES HORAS
NON / NUMERAMUS NISI / SERENAS
99 mm, Round, Epoxy coated plaster, 12 mm thick
Now, for some speculation on my part…
I don’t believe that this medal actually exists. I believe that it only exists in this plaster format. That said, I hope to be proven
wrong one day and an actual medal is found in copper, bronze, silver, gold or any other metal.
Great numismatic sleuthing! Sherlock would be pleased. Can anyone confirm the existence of an actual medal? Is this what was meant by
"symbolic medal"? - designed, but not struck?
Greg is organizing a meeting for devotees of the numismatics of Sherlock Holmes at next month's convention of the American Numismatic
Association in Chicago. Follow the blog or stay tuned here for more information. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Christopher Morley and The Three
Hours For Lunch Club Medal (http://fourthgarrideb.com/2015/07/christopher-morley-and-the-three-hours-for-lunch-club-medal/)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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