British Merchant Captains Gold Dress Cuff

VMI Digger

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British Merchant Captain's Gold Dress Cuff

Hey guys,

Following my last hunt with gheenoe78 at an old Revolutionary War battery 2 weeks ago, I posted what I initially believed to be a Revolutionary War gold officer's dress cuff. After some correspondence with the British National Maritime Museum, I can now confirm that the cuff actually belonged to a wealthy British Ship Merchant Captain and dates between 1757 and 1774. The maritime specialist stated with high certainty that it would have belonged to a merchant captain rather than a Royal Naval officer. This was determined because Royal Navy Officers used a "Double Tudor Rose Pattern" rather than the single 8 petal pattern depicted in my cuff. Additionally, silver rather than gold was used in the Royal Navy until 1778. Gold adornment fashioned with the Tudor Rose was exclusively used by rich ship captains to project wealth and power! Thanks for looking and for all of your help ID'ing this find.

gold2.jpg gold1.jpg
 
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Steve in PA

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That is a beautiful cufflink and great information regarding the tudor rose with respect to British Naval versus civilian style rose. From my own experience digging the octagonal versus oval cufflinks, I find that the octagonal seem to be common on sites dating from the 1750s to about 1780, thereafter I see the oval ones. Octagonal ones may occur earlier than 1750s, but my sites only go back to the French and Indian War.
 

patiodadio

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Thats an amazing find !
 

N.J.THer

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I'm a member of 'Battlefield Restoration and Archeological Volunteer Organization'. A member found one of these on the Monmouth Battlefield in NJ. You can check out a photo on www.bravodigs.org under the photo tab. First photo album.

Cool find...Congrats

NJ
 

Iron Patch

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I really don't see how your museum guy can suggest that because it's apples and oranges. The Royal Navy button has a tudor rose, 5 petals, and extremely different than what you have. It makes no sense to say it's similar in design to the Navy button therefore the ID for how it was used must be similar, so we'll call it a merchant captain and not a Royal Navy officer. I see no logic in this because Royal Navy is not the starting point, has nothing to do with it... the starting point is rose/flower with 8 petals. Unless you found it at a house site settled by a Merchant Captain I don't see how it can be attributed as such.

What I personally think, or at least my best guess is... it's a symbol of rebirth and regeneration, more like a dove was used for peace, and Britannia with an anchor represented hope. I think it's pretty obvious the person who owned it was a wealthy individual, but to say he was a Captain, see no reason to make that connection. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that person had a much higher position in society than a Captain to be wearing gold cufflinks. Imagine what else he had.


Here is a 8 petal rose used on a piece of early furniture. Suggesting the cufflink was worn by a Captain is really no different than saying this antique oak coffer was owned by a Captain.

Antique Oak Coffer, 17th Century - Adams Antiques
 

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J.Cache

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Thanks for the pics and info on that incredible button. Pretty sure this should have been up top on the banner...
 

Stef45

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So after some research I have pinpointed a wealthy "Charles Town" Merchant who owned the Chance a 30ton schooner built in 1757. Looks like he invested in other merchant ships with other wealthy merchants. The man's name was John McQueen. I have also located his will online and there is a paragraph I think is very substantial in which he "bequeath's" to his first born son a Cane, guns, watch and "Sleeve buttons". Hope this helps! I will keep on digging.
 
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VMI Digger

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So after some research I have pinpointed a wealthy "Charles Town" Merchant who owned the Chance a 30ton schooner built in 1757. Looks like he invested in other merchant ships with other wealthy merchants. The man's name was John McQueen. I have also located his will online and there is a paragraph I think is very substantial in which he "bequeath's" to his first born son a Cane, guns, watch and "Sleeve buttons". Hope this helps! I will keep on digging.

Great work on the research Stef, impossible to be certain but definitely makes you wonder who comissioned the cuff. As IP mentioned, provenance is all speculation but the National Maritime Museum did assess the date range and likely owner as an affluent ship merchant.
 

hbeaton

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Epic find VAP!

At risk of sounding stupid here, a couple questions. First, is there an extension piece of any sort on the reverse side showing where it was a cufflink? Just curious

Second, is it possible this is a "love token" octagonal gold piece? I understand that would place the date range well into the 19th century and I do not think the museum would have made a an error like that but just got me to thinking.

It's a lifetime find and I am glad this thread was revived as I had not seen it previously.

HH!
-H
 
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Epic find VAP!

At risk of sounding stupid here, a couple questions. First, is there an extension piece of any sort on the reverse side showing where it was a cufflink? Just curious

Second, is it possible this is a "love token" octagonal gold piece? I understand that would place the date range well into the 19th century and I do not think the museum would have made a an error like that but just got me to thinking.

It's a lifetime find and I am glad this thread was revived as I had not seen it previously.

HH!
-H

Hey hbeaton,

Not a dumb question at all, while Victorian love charms were a common creation in the late 19th century this is certainly a cuff link (due most notably the shank soder markings on the reverse). The only other dug example I have managed to track down was a fellow Tnet member Silver Tree Chaser. His thread is located at http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/t...ne-perfect-colonial-period-gold-cufflink.html.

Here are a few better pictures and thanks for your interest!

P1120079.JPG P1120080.JPG P1120081.JPG
 

hbeaton

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Excellent! Thanks so much for the updated photos. Now I can see the concavity as well as the shank solder area that I could not tell from the first pics. Cool cufflink!

Best,
-H
 

sutphin

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DANG THAT SURE IS BEAUTIFUL ..
 

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