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A hundred and one years ago, workmen demolishing Wakefield House in Cheapside, London swung a pickaxe into the cellar floor and heard it thump against a wooden box. Inside, they found almost 500 rings, broaches, gems, watches and other awesome examples of the jeweler’s art. They stuffed their hats, pockets and hankies and ran to everyone’s favorite local fence, Stoney Jack.

Fortunately for history, Stoney Jack wasn’t a thug, but a respectable antique dealer named G.F. Lawrence — also head of acquisitions for the brand new London Museum. Which, you’ll be astonished to learn, ended up with 99% of the collection.

Among the jewels was a broach engraved for the first Viscount Stafford, which neatly dates the collection after 1640 when he took the title but before the Great Fire of London in 1666. Why the hoard was buried and never retrieved, no one knows but, as a jeweler’s working stock, it proved priceless to historians. If you’re at all interested, do hit the links (especially the first one; that’s the best article I read).

The hoard is (finally!) going on display in the Museum of London this Friday. Why they didn’t have it ready for the 100th anniversary, I do not know.

That thing in the picture, by the way, is a tiny watch…inside a single enormous hollowed-out emerald. A Google image search is highly recommended.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 8, 2013, 10:17 pm

There’s a preview of the show on Vimeo. I haven’t watched it, but Vimeo always has the best arty stuff in high res.

Uncle B and I went to the Museum of London, just once. Outside, we found a lady’s purse. Without opening it, we called the cops. They took us in the back of a police van and inventoried the contents in our presence. One of the items was a woman’s upper plate.

I always felt a little let down that she never got in touch to thank us for saving HER FREAKING DENTURES.

Comment from Nina
Time: October 8, 2013, 11:31 pm

Ungrateful, that.

I wish I could go to London to see this, though.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: October 9, 2013, 12:29 am

Ya know…I grew up in Europe. I’m used to the idea of things being hundreds and even thousands of years old. But shit like that still takes your breath away, doesn’t it?!

Comment from Deborah
Time: October 9, 2013, 1:09 am

A bunny trail, slightly related: I found a man’s wallet during an annual festival in a large park. I DID look inside it for identification, to see if I recognized the name or knew the person (it was a small town). It belonged to a man whose name regularly showed up on the police blotter (I worked for the local newspaper). I gave it to a passing cop, working security for the event, and for the next two months the owner of the wallet got stopped for every kind of traffic violation on the books, which always included driving without a license. I felt a little sorry for him, but not enough to tip him off. In retrospect, the cop who I gave the wallet to was probably as crooked as the guy who lost it.

Comment from Oceania
Time: October 9, 2013, 12:46 pm


But in the USA Regime …. ‘Seniors Held at Gun Point in National Park!’ … illegals can protest …. while tourists get rounded up at Gun point!

I think I’m about to join Al Keyda!

PS: You did all check the Wiggers Birth Certificate Comrade Amerikans?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: October 9, 2013, 7:21 pm

That’s the kind of stuff I’d buy if I was crazy rich. I wouldn’t buy an island, I’d get amazing antiques like that. I can’t even conceive of how much it would go for in an auction.

Comment from Deborah
Time: October 10, 2013, 1:07 am

Yeah, I like Christopher’s idea. I love antique jewelry. I’d buy maps, too, if I were crazy rich, and a racing airplane. Reno, here I come.

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