Sunday 27 July 2008

Scot's arms under the hammer.

I bring to your attention two letters patent, one presently for sale and one recently sold on Ebay, both Victorian and both Scottish.

Presently for sale and with a required starting bid of £95 the letters patent of Alexander Dunsmure (1867) have, as I write, yet to attract a bidder with less than four days to go until the hammer drops. Would be bidders may already be aware that earlier this month, on the 11th July, the grant of arms to prominent politician Charles Cameron (1893) went to the highest bidder for £310. Both grants appear to be complete with their original tube.

The Cameron grant had three active bidders, the alias of the winner being "lynnthorpe" who seems to be a collector of such items having recently been successful in bidding for the Irish grant of arms to Humphrey Brooke Firman ($610 - approx. £307).

It is worth recording some of the details of these grants here, simply because Ebay does not retain its records of sales for long.

That of Alexander Dunsmure is said to be a Victorian Grant of arms dated 1867 complete with attached Scottish seal  in its original tin and black  "japanned" metal case. It is said, by the seller, to be a "fine heraldic illustration" stating that Alexander Dunsmure is living in Leith, the second son of James Dunsmure, Secretary to The Board of British Fishery. Complete with a blue "VR" stamp of 20th March 1867 and signed by George Burnett, Lyon. George Burnett, LLD, WS (1822–1890) was a long-serving Scottish officer of arms. He was the second son of John Burnett, Fifth Laird of Kemnay. He was appointed Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1866 and served in that post until his death in 1890. The Grant (Matriculation) is said to be in good condition having been rolled in its  original tin for years.

Matriculation - Dunsmure

Dunsmure Matriculation

Sold for £310 on the 11th July 2008 the grant of arms to Charles Cameron (1893); said to have a yellow stain on the bottom margin:

Grant of arms to Charles Cameron

Also sold to the same person who purchased the Cameron grant, the Irish grant which records that the petition was presented by Knox,  Lord Bishop of Down, Conner and Dromore, on behalf of a young man for which he was Guardian and Trustee - Humphrey Brooke Firman. This one was sold for $610 (approx. £306) on the 11th June 2008.

Brooke Firman Grant of Arms

Brooke Firman Grant of Arms


  1. The matriculation to Alexander Dunsmur fell under the eBay hammer (to the same buyer as the Irish grant) for £210 on 31st July 2008.

  2. [...] the 27th July I reported on the eBay sale of the matriculation document of the arms of Alexander Dunsmure and some days later I noticed that the same vendor was offering for sale more historical documents [...]


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