In his Fourth Garrideb blog on the Numismatics of Sherlock Holmes on November 24, 2015, Greg Ruby discusses a medal produced by
Philadelphia group called the Sons of the Copper Beeches. -Editor
The Sons of the Copper Beeches, the noted Philadelphia area scion of the Baker Street Irregulars, has a rigorous process for membership in
their society. After attending three meetings, guests become “apprentices” who are eligible to advance to “journeyman” status by flawlessly reciting
the responses to the questions in the Musgrave Ritual. Journeymen are then eligible to advance to the rank of Master Copper-Beech-Smith by delivering
“a trifling monograph” on a Canonical topic at one of the semi-annual gatherings.
One of the traditions, now sadly no longer being performed, was that Master Copper-Beech-Smiths were awarded a blue ribboned badge
featuring an 1895 British penny and their name engraved on the top bar.
I reached out to our 46th Garrideb, Peter Mosiondz, Jr. aka Athelney Jones, for some background on these badges. His response:
Back in the mid-1990’s our scion group, The Sons of the Copper Beeches, was looking to replenish our supply of English pennies so as
to incorporate them in the badges that are presented to our members who attain the level of “Master Copper-Beech-Smith”. Our society, now
in its 68th year meets bi-annually in Center City Philadelphia and, is comprised of three levels of membership. “Apprentices” who have
attended three or fewer meetings are required to recite the Musgrave Ritual upon attending their third meeting, under the direction of
the Master of the Ritual, after which they are elevated to the rank of “Journeyman”.
The final level of attainment is that of “Master Copper-Beech-Smith”. This is achieved by presenting a “trifling monograph” followed
by election from those who have already reached that goal. To the best of my knowledge, in the quarter century that I have been a member,
the vote is always unanimous in favor of elevation. Our scion name, The Sons of the Copper Beeches, was drawn from The Adventure of
The Copper Beeches. In that adventure, Jephro Rucastle refers to his “daughter, Alice, who is now in Philadelphia.”
As I stated, our supply of pennies was virtually depleted. I volunteered to obtain more as I had connections with many coin dealers
who would be likely to have a fairly good supply. As luck would have it, I found a dealer in Florida who not only had several dozen but
all were of the cherished 1895 date. To Sherlockians it is always 1895.
In theory, there could be two varieties of these badges. If the Sons had made their badges with 1890 dated British pennies (as shown on
their club seal), there would only be one variety. However, by choosing 1895 British pennies, there are two possible designs involving the
The easiest way to differentiate between the two varieties is to look at the location of the trident in relation to the letter “P” in
penny. On the “Low Tide” variety, there will be more space between the two. On the “Normal Tide” variety, the space between these two items
will be much closer.
The author of this post is looking forward to the April 2016 meeting of the Sons, where he will hopefully recite the Musgrave Ritual
flawlessly to become a Journeyman and then deliver a “trifling monograph” at a future meeting.
I was as intrigued by the Normal and Low tide variety description as I was of the medals themselves. I'm not a collector of British
pennies, but it could be a fun series to assemble. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
SOCB’s Master Copper-Beech-Smith’s Badges
Wayne Homren, Editor
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