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Title Brass-mounted ebony tipstaff
Nationality British
Period c 1790-1820

This splendid specimen has a crown which unscrews at the base to reveal a 4-inch long repository, perhaps for a warrant or for lead shot as required to give it extra gravitas! It's probably a London piece by virtue of the quality of construction, though, indeed, it is completely plain apart from some minor decorative engraving.

The piece measures 10.5 inches overall and would probably have been carried by someone like a magistrate or senior police officer, since tipstaves carried by the lesser functionaries were rather smaller and considerably plainer than this and tend to be mounted on native English wood. The purpose of the tipstaff was to effect an arrest in an illiterate age before the introduction of the warrant card in about 1890. The suspect was touched on the right shoulder by the arresting officer and, at that point, was 'within the King's peace' and had to come quietly.

The condition is excellent for its age, but there is minor abuse to the brass work with the possible loss of an orb and cross ornament on the head of the crown.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Militaria : Tipstaffs Truncheons : British : 19th Century]


The knot is here, it's very fine

M B, Germany, 08.10.2009

The cavalry sword arrived safely this morning, very pleased with it. Many thanks.

S G, UK, 20.01.2009