Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria. To coincide with the OMRS Convention (19 September 2003)

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Date of Auction: 19th September 2003

Sold for £780

Estimate: £650 - £750

Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, K.G., G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.B., P.C., J.P., D.L., who raised The Liverpool Pal’s during The Great War

An important 1854 pattern Grenadier Guards officer’s sword, blade 84cm by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London (No 26458) etched with VR cypher, regimental device, battle honours within scrolls to Egypt 1882, owner’s family crest and initials ‘E.G.V.S.’, with its steel scabbard, blade discoloured, some wear to plating of hilt, scabbard with some rust pitting, otherwise generally good condition £650-750


See colour plate.

Sword sold by Wilkinson to E. G. V. Stanley, 22nd April 1885.

Edward George Villiers Stanley, was born in London on 4 April 1865, educated at Wellington College, and gazetted to the Grenadier Guards in 1865. After spending two years in Canada as ADC to his father, the Governor General, he returned to England and became Conservative MP for the West Houghton Division of Lancashire. In 1895 he became a Junior Lord of the Treasury. On the outbreak of the war in South Africa in 1899, he was appointed chief press censor in Cape Town, and later private secretary to the Commander in Chief, Lord Roberts. He was appointed CB in 1900, twice mentioned in despatches, and received the Queen’s medal with six clasps.

Returning to England he became Financial Secretary to the War Office. In 1903 he entered the Cabinet as Postmaster-General and was sworn as a Privy Councillor. In 1908 he succeeded to the Earldom. Always closely involved with Liverpool, he became Lord Mayor of the City in 1911, and received the freedom of the City in 1912. He was President of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Cotton Growing Association, Chancellor of Liverpool University, Chairman of the West Lancashire Territorial Association &c. On the outbreak of the Great War, he raised four battalions of the King’s Liverpool Regiment- The Pals- to each member of which he presented a solid silver badge representing the family crest of the Stanley Family, an Eagle and Child. On the death of Lord Kitchener in 1916, Derby became Under Secretary of State at the War Office, and, in April 1918, he was appointed Ambassador in Paris where he was immensely popular.

A noted racehorse breeder, his horses were as successful in France as they were in England. He won the St.Leger six times and the Derby twice. He was steward of the Jockey Club and often entertained king George V at Knowsley for the Grand National. Described by Randolph Churchill as the King of Lancashire, it was once observed that if the Royal Family were wiped out, then the people’s first choice for King would be Lord Derby! He died at Knows ley, the family home,on 4 February 1938.