British Coins from the Collection formed by Major William Tapp, MC

British Coins from the Collection formed by Major William Tapp, MC

Major William Tapp, MC

William Henry Tapp (1884-1959) spent his early working life in the East Indies and Canada as a surveyor. The 1911 Census records him as a ‘retired cavalry officers’ insurance broker and surveyor, FRSA, FRGS’, living in Bromley, Kent, with his mother. At the outbreak of War a relative, Sir Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe, KCB, KCMG (1860-1957), commanding officer of the Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards), engineered a commission for Tapp as a Lieutenant in the special reserve of the regiment. As a temporary Captain, Tapp was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry near Loos on 2 October 1915, when he took his surveying equipment into the front line of trenches, the better to fix observation points and correct contours on Hill 70 (London Gazette, 29 October 1915). Advanced to Captain in September 1916 and later Major, he finished his War attached to the Admiralty. Tapp is best remembered for his works on English ceramics, especially that detailing the work of John and Robert Brewer, the early Derby artists, published in 1932; his interest probably stemmed from his mother, Olga Marie Henriette, born a British subject in Wächtersbach, Hesse, a centre of the ceramic industry since the 1830s. In 1952 he published an English translation of the Sunbury Charter, king Eadgar’s charter granting land at Sunbury to his kinsman Ælfheh in 962. Tapp’s interest in numismatics appears to have begun late in life, perhaps about 1947, and lasted for about 10 years; many years previously he had started a collection of United States philatelic covers addressed to Canada, France and the UK, which was sold in 215 lots by Robson Lowe in June 1952.