Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)
J.R. Gaunt & Son
During the 1950s J.R. Gaunt & Sons Ltd donated to the Royal Military Museum at Sandhurst (from 1960 the National Army Museum) a large quantity of buttons and badges from its Birmingham works. It should be stressed that these items are distinct from the militaria collection formed by Alderman C.F. Gaunt, which remains the property of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The collection included approximately fifty ledgers containing examples of buttons made by companies which J.R. Gaunt absorbed during the 1920s, including the aforementioned Jennens & Co Ltd, Bent & Parker Ltd and Twigg & Co Ltd, the last-named originating with the button-making business started by Charles Twigg near St Paul's Square, Birmingham, in 1790.
The National Army Museum has retained the military buttons from these ledgers and, having failed to find another museum willing to take on the remainder, is now offering them for sale in the following 71 lots. The vast majority of the buttons offered in this sale are for livery worn by household servants of virtually all the nobility and most titled families of Great Britain and Ireland. Additionally, there are some early and extremely rare buttons of the Royal Navy, long-vanished hunts, shipping companies and those worn at Royal Court, which, taken together, form an interesting study of the social history of this country for the century from 1820-1920.