Revolutionary War Plate of Some Kind

Lost Signal

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Okay, I'm not sure what this is. It was caked with clay/dirt. I could see a little bit of silver along one edge, so I put it in some lemon juice and water and brushed it with a soft brush. I couldn't believe it when I saw the lion. There was some Revolutionary War action in the region and I assumed it had to be British military, but there is no regiment number and no text, so now I'm doubting it. Although, Insignia of Independence does show some cartridge bag badges that do not have any numbers or letters.
The site had a few tombac buttons but also early 19th century stuff.
The piece is copper alloy with a thick silver plate. It's slightly convex and probably had at least four prongs on the back that seem to have been worked off. The measurements are
3 1/2" X 2 5/8"
Any ideas?
 

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mbcuce

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I was thinking it was post revolutionary war as well but it does seem odd because it definitely refers to something British, military on not and it doesn't seem like it would be common to have that in the US so soon after the war. It also seems so distinct that you would be able to track it down somehow.
 

JerV3

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Thats is one awesome relic there.

I'd display that one proudly.

Jeremy
 
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Lost Signal

Lost Signal

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Check it out, I found a decorative plate just like that! Same size and shape...just a different design/crest (but I have lion on mine also). Definitively colonial. I was thinkin rev war plate as well...but just dont know.

check thread here: https://www.treasurenet.com/threads/decorative-plate.411278/#post-3967188
Dang! That is very cool. I believe they are indeed the same thing - whatever that is.

First, I just looked at your pic and I thought it was a drum and that it was much earlier than my find. Then, I read the posts and realized that it was upside down and actually very similar to mine. Even the silver plating and engraving styles are alike.

I'm convinced that they are livery related. If coachmen wore livery buttons, maybe coaches were decorated with matching plates. But --- if that was a "thing" it seems like more would turn up. Yours is the only other that I've seen.

The site, that Cru pointed me to, has a backlog, so can't take anymore requests for identifying these kinds of heraldic arrangements. I did look at some links from his site and it's pretty interesting. I knew nothing about heraldry, but I can see now that the design, on my plate, is exactly the type of design that would be on a livery button.

Thanks for sharing your find! I think that together they make a clearer picture.
 
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Lost Signal

Lost Signal

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Awesome early handmade relic - congrats! I also respect you for not allowing yourself to believe that it might be something that it is not. Too often see people post finds that they are convinced it is something when there is no compelling evidence to prove their claim. Then they get all butt hurt when people try to tell them the truth.
Ha! Don't give me too much credit. I'm still secretly hoping that we'll discover that some wealthy military officers wore belt plates with their family's heraldic designs. But... seriously.... there's a lot of expertise on this site.
 
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Lost Signal

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I was thinking it was post revolutionary war as well but it does seem odd because it definitely refers to something British, military on not and it doesn't seem like it would be common to have that in the US so soon after the war. It also seems so distinct that you would be able to track it down somehow.
That's what puzzles me as well, but maybe that's our own bias. I think of everyone, including loyalists, transforming into 100 % American as soon as the war was over. Maybe this family was loyal to the crown and continued to celebrate its British heritage long after the Revolution.

Or, maybe the livery symbols were just a show of status and had more to do with showing off than any national allegiance.
 

RatherBeDigging

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That's so cool! Though I'd expect there to be a thistle on there somewhere if it had anything to do with Scotland
 
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Lost Signal

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When I was first trying to figure this thing out, I was looking at the symbols for clues of national origin, but after visiting the site that Cru shared (see below) I realized that the design is very typical for livery buttons. We just don't find them around here, so I had no idea.


Here's a screen-shot of a small sample from the website above...
 

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Red-Coat

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In my honest opinion, there’s a lot of ‘over-thinking’ going on here.

Just to re-cap, the emblems on the plate are:

- A demi-lion rampant (ie shown as the top half of the animal rearing up)

- A pennant flag on which there is a griffin passant. It has a beak, so it’s definitely a griffin, not a dragon. It has four legs, so it’s not a wyvern.

- A crown from which the lion is issuing. It’s a mural crown (ie modelled on the walls of a castle) and has no royal associations. Typically this kind of crown is seen on town/city/county arms and also widely used in the crests of notable families.

None of these emblems have any particular association that’s specific to England, Scotland or Wales. They don’t appear together on any regimental insignia (that I’m aware of), nor together on the arms of any town, city or county in Britain. As a family or livery crest, their use together is not unlikely and that also applies if this crest was created for prestige, or for pretentious reasons (whether as a fantasy or using some vestige of heraldic history). The same is true for the plate posted a while ago on another thread, which has a heraldic animal (possibly a boar’s head?) issuing from a ducal crown.

Dating back to mediaeval times, heraldic imagery was commonly used on horse bridle rosettes, harness plates and such. In those days, the heraldry related to the crests of noble or notable families. That kind of imagery continued all the way through to the 1900s, but progressively became swank and pretension. The emblems used were more often borrowed from the world of heraldry by those keen to impress rather than being a historical crest for a particular family name… although both rationales co-existed.

Here’s a c1900 horse brass with that kind of imagery, but it’s just heraldic guff that doesn’t relate to anything in particular. The lion with the flag was a common heraldic device; the lion issues from a heraldic torse (with knightly symbolism) rather than a crown; and the open left hand below was a common charge in the coats of arms for baronets.

Horse Brass.jpg

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a well-heeled family with an estate in America commissioned some small number of horse-related plates/rosettes with heraldic imagery of this kind as a show of prestige. Particularly if they had hereditary connection to Britain. Such emblems might actually have historical family usage but in the 1800s were often just put together as a kind of ‘pseudo-crest’ (either unique or generic) with borrowed elements of heraldry copied from book illustrations and such. One thing for sure is that, in this case, it’s a finely-crafted piece with beautiful engraving which suggests it was custom-made for someone who wasn’t short of money.

Whatever, it's a lovely find and unlikely to exist in anything other than very small numbers. It may even be the only one made.
 

Steve in PA

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In my honest opinion, there’s a lot of ‘over-thinking’ going on here.
You have definitely put a lot of thought into this piece (without overthinking), but that's why we love your detailed analysis of these enigmas we come across :thumbsup:
 

Charlie P. (NY)

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I think the Lion signifies Scotland....
Unicorn ('s true). The lion is usually England. Toss in the harp for Ireland and the dragon for Wales and you get the crest of Great Britain.

Your plate is kind of a variation on the Duke of Wellington's 33 Regiment of Foot. Which wasn't formed until 1793.
1021839_half.jpg
 
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Red-Coat

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Unicorn ('s true). The lion is usually England. Toss in the harp for Ireland and the dragon for Wales and you get the crest of Great Britain.

Your plate is kind of a variation on the Duke of Wellington's 33 Regiment of Foot. Which wasn't formed until 1793.
1021839_half.jpg

Yes, but as I said before, the heraldic elements used together don't have a specific association, unless they prove to be family or livery in origin. You will find these elements in various regimental insignia and in town/city/county arms, but not all three together as lion rampant, banner flag with griffin; mural crown.

The Duke of Wellington's badge has the lion holding a banner flag with the cross of St George (of England) and of course a ducal crown. What we have on the plate is not really a "variation" on that... but rather a combination of heraldic elements for which there is no obvious connection.
 
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Lost Signal

Lost Signal

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In my honest opinion, there’s a lot of ‘over-thinking’ going on here.

Just to re-cap, the emblems on the plate are:

- A demi-lion rampant (ie shown as the top half of the animal rearing up)

- A pennant flag on which there is a griffin passant. It has a beak, so it’s definitely a griffin, not a dragon. It has four legs, so it’s not a wyvern.

- A crown from which the lion is issuing. It’s a mural crown (ie modelled on the walls of a castle) and has no royal associations. Typically this kind of crown is seen on town/city/county arms and also widely used in the crests of notable families.

None of these emblems have any particular association that’s specific to England, Scotland or Wales. They don’t appear together on any regimental insignia (that I’m aware of), nor together on the arms of any town, city or county in Britain. As a family or livery crest, their use together is not unlikely and that also applies if this crest was created for prestige, or for pretentious reasons (whether as a fantasy or using some vestige of heraldic history). The same is true for the plate posted a while ago on another thread, which has a heraldic animal (possibly a boar’s head?) issuing from a ducal crown.

Dating back to mediaeval times, heraldic imagery was commonly used on horse bridle rosettes, harness plates and such. In those days, the heraldry related to the crests of noble or notable families. That kind of imagery continued all the way through to the 1900s, but progressively became swank and pretension. The emblems used were more often borrowed from the world of heraldry by those keen to impress rather than being a historical crest for a particular family name… although both rationales co-existed.

Here’s a c1900 horse brass with that kind of imagery, but it’s just heraldic guff that doesn’t relate to anything in particular. The lion with the flag was a common heraldic device; the lion issues from a heraldic torse (with knightly symbolism) rather than a crown; and the open left hand below was a common charge in the coats of arms for baronets.

View attachment 1988614

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a well-heeled family with an estate in America commissioned some small number of horse-related plates/rosettes with heraldic imagery of this kind as a show of prestige. Particularly if they had hereditary connection to Britain. Such emblems might actually have historical family usage but in the 1800s were often just put together as a kind of ‘pseudo-crest’ (either unique or generic) with borrowed elements of heraldry copied from book illustrations and such. One thing for sure is that, in this case, it’s a finely-crafted piece with beautiful engraving which suggests it was custom-made for someone who wasn’t short of money.

Whatever, it's a lovely find and unlikely to exist in anything other than very small numbers. It may even be the only one made.
Red-Coat, I arrived at the same conclusion a few posts back. It just took a while to get there. Your posts have shed the most light and I appreciate it, but I don't think it's fair to say we're "overthinking it."

Trying to understand the history of an object is the best part of metal detecting for many of us, so it would be hard to think too much.

But, more specifically with this piece, it's the context that's interesting. If the imagery is livery-related then I'm assuming it's 19th century, but in this country, between the Revolutionary war and the Civil War, I don't see a lot of metal detecting finds with European symbols on them, whether they are invented or not. Maybe they're out there, but I don't find them and don't see them posted. The U. S. was very deliberate about creating its own iconography with eagles, five-pointed stars, allegorical representations of liberty, etc.... And, deliberate about not using crowns, lions, griffons, etc...

After the Civil War, I'm sure there were northern industrialists, who fabricated heraldic symbols and tried to emulate the English aristocracy as a way to show off, but in the south, where I am, the economy was decimated, so you would not have seen that.

Of course, in the 21st century there are blazers for sale at Walmart, that have similar designs on the buttons. It's just that this was on a plantation in the first half of the 19th century.

So, in England a plate like this from the 1820's - 30's would be run of the mill, but in the southern U. S. it's at least curious.
 

ARC

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I will add this...

Beings the rampant lion is atop a castle this signifies to me ... at least as far as i have always known... it is a "city".

And this is a "coat of arms" for that city.

Now i just joined in here and saw Charlie's post... which i tried a quick search for "Wellington city"... and it;s coat of arms is a fish atop a castle... so...

Thats all i can add... the one Charlie posted is close looking.

Btw ... cool find... well done.
 

Red-Coat

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I will add this...

Beings the rampant lion is atop a castle this signifies to me ... at least as far as i have always known... it is a "city".

And this is a "coat of arms" for that city.

Now i just joined in here and saw Charlie's post... which i tried a quick search for "Wellington city"... and it;s coat of arms is a fish atop a castle... so...

Thats all i can add... the one Charlie posted is close looking.

Btw ... cool find... well done.

Yes… but "close looking" doesn't cut the mustard in the world of heraldry. Note that, as I already said, “Typically this kind of crown is seen on town/city/county arms and also widely used in the crests of notable families”.

Castle-like brickwork is a generic symbol for the walls of a conurbation and may be represented as an actual castle tower, or a crown fashioned in that manner (a mural crown) as is the case for the plate. In some European countries outside Britain, the number of ‘towers’ in the brickwork indicates the size/status of the conurbation, with four (as here) being used generically without that distinction. But British heraldry didn’t adopt those distinctions.

For notable families, the mural crown is more usual than an actual tower but it’s not a hard and fast rule. The intended symbolism is still for a city (or at least a place) and would usually relate to either the roots of the family (including in a stately home sense) or honorary titles given as a mark of respect by those places.

In the case of Arthur Wellesley (the Duke of Wellington), he also held the titles Prince of Waterloo, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Duke of Victoria, Marquess of Douro, Marquis of Torres Vedras, Count of Vimeiro and Baron Douro among others but had no geographical connection to any of these places. In fact he only visited the town of Wellington once… immediately after his victory at the battle of Waterloo, and that’s when they gave him the title.

In the case of this plate, we don’t actually have a coat of arms. What we have is a crest, which is only the top part of a full armorial and, as such, is either generic or something you would see on livery. It would be the other parts of the coat of arms (usually an armorial shield that may be emblazoned with charges and have other supporting elements) that would enable it to be interpreted to a particular place, titled individual or whatever. On livery, standalone crests are much more commonly used without a full armorial.
 
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ARC

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Yes… but "close looking" doesn't cut the mustard in the world of heraldry. Note that, as I already said, “Typically this kind of crown is seen on town/city/county arms and also widely used in the crests of notable families”.

Castle-like brickwork is a generic symbol for the walls of a conurbation and may be represented as an actual castle tower, or a crown fashioned in that manner (a mural crown) as is the case for the plate. In some European countries outside Britain, the number of ‘towers’ in the brickwork indicates the size/status of the conurbation, with four (as here) being used generically without that distinction. But British heraldry didn’t adopt those distinctions.

For notable families, the mural crown is more usual than an actual tower but it’s not a hard and fast rule. The intended symbolism is still for a city (or at least a place) and would usually relate to either the roots of the family (including in a stately home sense) or honorary titles given as a mark of respect by those places.

In the case of Arthur Wellesley (the Duke of Wellington), he also held the titles Prince of Waterloo, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Duke of Victoria, Marquess of Douro, Marquis of Torres Vedras, Count of Vimeiro and Baron Douro among others but had no geographical connection to any of these places. In fact he only visited the town of Wellington once… immediately after his victory at the battle of Waterloo, and that’s when they gave him the title.

In the case of this plate, we don’t actually have a coat of arms. What we have is a crest, which is only the top part of a full armorial and, as such, is either generic or something you would see on livery. It would be the other parts of the coat of arms (usually an armorial shield that may be emblazoned with charges and have other supporting elements) that would enable it to be interpreted to a particular place, titled individual or whatever. On livery, standalone crests are much more commonly used without a full armorial.

"In classical antiquity, it was an emblem of tutelary deities who watched over a city, and among the Romans a military decoration. Later the mural crown developed into a symbol of European heraldry, mostly for cities and towns, and in the 19th and 20th centuries was used in some republican heraldry."

And that castle... signifies one of them.

OR... then RC is correct and this is just some "generic" design..

I recommend any Fox-Davies book to the OP.
 
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