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Mystery Silver Thingy

Recent activity135091 of 180616Military Remembrance Bowl - Sterling Silver??  From 1964Drawings Of Robert E.Lee & NathanB.Forrest by Don Stivers
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Posted 4 years ago


(1 item)

Hello Everyone :o)
I have a small collection of items inherited from my ancestor.
He was an officer in the English Royal Navy, dying in Jamaica toward the end of the 1830s.
This one is a complete mystery to me.
It's a flat silver thingy, two inches long. There are grooves down the long sides and a small hole at the top (to hang it by I guess). There are two indentations on the photographed side, that get deeper to a small round pit in the middle. They're surrounded by what looks like a tree pattern and the inscription "Lima 1820". On the other side, there is a single indentation in the centre with his fore and surnames engraved above and below. The engraving is the same pattern, but with four flowers around the circle.
I really like it, because we have the same surname and it's a connection to the family past, and history in general. Makes me want to research his life and my family tree, which I was never interested in before!

I'd be really happy if anyone could tell me what it is - is it something that would be used on a regular basis?
I'm also curious about the pattern - whether it represents anything, or is typical of Peru at the time?
I started cleaning it a little, just by rubbing it between my fingers and keeping it in my pocket. Is this a good idea, or should I leave it black?

Thanks for looking at it!!


Unsolved Mystery

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  1. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Could you post a side view?
  2. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Added one. Hope that's the angle you wanted. Not sure if that groove is functional, or for decoration.
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    A very nice Mystery Object!

    Where's Hunter?
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Freedom Expedition of Perú?
    The date 1820 is before July 1821 when "the liberation troops entered Lima, declared Perú's independence, and San Martín was acclaimed as Protector of the new state, and Cochrane considered him (San Martín) relieved as Commander of the Expedition."
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Leave the object as it is. Nothing is gained from cleaning it. Would love to see the other side.
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I think the groove is decorative, as it's narrower at the ends than in the middle.
  7. Hunter Hunter, 4 years ago
    so curious! nothing opens or spins? And no holes cut entirely through the piece? Or is that one at the top fully punched, so as to allow it to hand on a chain or nail?
  8. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Just added a front view.

    That Freedom Expedition idea is very interesting - the dates match, don't they? Hadn't thought that it could be campaign memorabilia of some kind. I'll be in London sometime in the next few months, will have a go in the naval records archive, to see what I can find out.

    No, there's nothing that opens or moves. It's just a solid piece of metal with the decoration engraved, and those dents machined in on both sides. They're all the same: a tiny well in the bottom, with the two sloping levels of the circle going down to it. The little hole at the top does go all the way though, to hang it by probably.

    You're right - because it's not quite rectangular, the grooves wouldn't be much good to slide into anything, would they?
  9. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Would this be your ancestor?
    13 Jun
    All Saints, Poplar, Middlesex, England

    12 Apr
    Age: 35
    Montego Bay, Jamaica
  10. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Yes, that's him (it's not a common surname!). I'm not an expert in factfinding, but thought to look him up in the naval archives, see if I can find out how he ended up dying in Jamaica, or where else he was stationed. An internet search just got me the name of his ship and dates of birth and death.
  11. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I got a ship name as well what ship name did you get?
  12. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Have you tested this for silver content?
  13. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Think it was HMS Ariadne.
    No, I didn't test it - how do you do that?
  14. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I found him on ancestry & listed as a Lieutenant on HMS Ariadne (1816)
    There is a kit that you can but to test with, I've heard others mention them here on CW, but never used them myself.
  15. pops52 pops52, 4 years ago
    Before you invest in a silver testing kit try a magnet. Very interesting piece, I'm very curious to what it is. Good luck!
  16. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Good idea pops, start with the simple first.
  17. pops52 pops52, 4 years ago
    Can't hurt!
  18. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Well, the magnet certainly took a strong liking to it :o)
  19. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I wonder what the alloy is, as it shows no sign of rust.
  20. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Britannia perhaps?
  21. cattiva, 4 years ago
    could it be a medal that troops (an officer or soldier) would pin to their uniform. commemorating participation in that freedom exposition? Maybe the groove had a decorative band in it?
  22. dawne12, 4 years ago
    Does it look like anything could have been mounted in the holes originally?
  23. dawne12, 4 years ago
    It may have been a commemorative fob.
  24. dawne12, 4 years ago
    Here is an announcement of his death.
  25. Noemi, 4 years ago
    It is a ingot, still today these are done with a hole to hang as a medal and decorated with inscriptions and drawings to be easily recognized in case of theft.
    Maybe your ancestor was one of the pirates who stole the treasure of Lima!
  26. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    I figured (possibly wrongly) that it's an object to be used, also commemorating that time and place. Like something to do with a dice or card game, or a ridiculously tiny inkwell :o) Somehow it doesn't seem pretty enough to hang as an ornament, or just have as a keepsake.
    Fob would make sense, it's just the dents that make me think it's for something else, too. They could be decoration, but it just seems really odd - if they're not for something, why not just engrave the pattern? It would be much easier, and probably look nicer. But style and tastes change, maybe it was cool to have a little ingot with holes in it back then? The dents are a really specific shape as if something could fit in there nicely, no idea what...
    Hee, hee - the Treasure of Lima - that's cool! Maybe I should hold it and go in the moonlight, to see if there is a curse like on the Black Pearl?
  27. Roycroftbooksfromme1 Roycroftbooksfromme1, 4 years ago
    well this one is strange forsure.... frist thing I would do with hold it up to the light looking in to the side with the two round opening's ... and hopefully light coming in for the other side in to it will tell all....maybeeeeee
  28. antiquesnewbie, 4 years ago
    Awww, I'm all disappointed now. Thought there might be a map to the Lima Treasure hidden in there somehow! But, no, nothing happened - the light doesn't come through :(
    (The hole depth is probably only about half the thickness of the plate)

    Maybe the map only works in moonlight?
    (Ok, we've shifted from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Hobbit now!)
  29. Roycroftbooksfromme1 Roycroftbooksfromme1, 4 years ago
    well never read or watch a show on Hobbit 's..but I did watch a fella walk in to a pawn shop over threre in yhe uk and trying to sell 10 first editions of hobbit .1 st printing to the tenth printing.only wanted 55,000 thought it was a deal myself ... sooo i'm guessing just for grins and gigells you turned it around ant tryed the other way ...and does the bottom of the hole have a gap at all...? strong light or u looked out a window in to the sun ...?
  30. Roycroftbooksfromme1 Roycroftbooksfromme1, 4 years ago
  31. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    @Roy was there something specific on that link........smiling
  32. Roycroftbooksfromme1 Roycroftbooksfromme1, 4 years ago
    did u enjoy it ...smiling
  33. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    No, there are 1497 pages of content to read, I'll wait till I retire...........
  34. Roycroftbooksfromme1 Roycroftbooksfromme1, 4 years ago
    lol ...but a good ref,...on a rainy day
  35. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    My two cents, I think this is a souvenir, made by a metalsmith so sailors would have something to take home & prove were they had been. No practical purpose, just decorative. Seeing that a magnet sticks to it , it could be made from a tin-based alloy, of tin, antimony, and copper, all mined in Peru.
  36. Manikin Manikin, 4 years ago
    Well my 2 cents think maybe some type of death momento and it may have had stones in the holes to decorate it . I think it has something to do with his death . Maybe his urn ?

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