An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop o...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, November 20, 2017
Nice Try, But No Cigar, err, Heraldic Medallion
There was an auction on Saturday, November 18, of a bunch of movie props, artifacts, jewelry, and so on created by Joseff of Hollywood. I had gone and signed up to submit a proxy bid on one particular item:
It is a medallion worn by actor Vincent Price as "Prime Minister" Richelieu in the 1948 movie The Three Musketeers (starring Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Van Heflin, June Allyson, Frank Morgan, and Angela Lansbury, besides Mr. Price).
I was especially interested in it because of a confluence of three factors: heraldry, movie history, and genealogy.
First, it's not only heraldry, but it is historically correct heraldry used in a movie. The medallion is the arms of Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu and Fronsac, Argent three chevronels gules. (The coronet of sitting atop the shield is not accurate, being the coronet of a French count, not a duke. Still, they used the correct coat of arms in the movie!) So there's that.
Second, it's from an old movie, and more specifically, an old costume drama, and people who know me well know that I have an interest in such movies. Indeed, I have a regular monthly movie review, mostly of movies set before the 17th Century (which "definition" has been expanded to include, for example, the various incarnations and remakes of The Three Musketeers) and in pre-technological fantasy worlds (such as The Lord of the Rings, among others). You can find a new movie review each month on my website at http://www.appletonstudios.com/movies2.htm. So there's that.
And, finally, there is a familial link, in that it turns out that Vincent Price is my sixth cousin, twice removed. (Don't tell my children about this connection yet. I've written about our family connection to Mr. Price in their Christmas present for this year, Appleton Family Stories 2017. So, shhhh!)
So, naturally enough, with all three of these factors connecting to this one object, I was very interested in acquiring it if I could. I carefully considered my options, looked at what the auction house estimate was, reviewed my budget, and submitted a bid for a little over the high estimate.
Alas, I was informed by email on Saturday that I had been outbid for this medallion. Am I disappointed? Well, yeah, of course. I mean, I have a personal interest and familial connections to this medallion. Am I really upset to have lost out on it? No, because I had submitted the bid that I thought my budget would bear, and I wasn't going to pay so much that I would worry about next week's or next month's groceries. I can only hope that whoever won the bidding on it will put in somewhere in pride of place in his or her collection. I know that I would have.