Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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Queen Victoria knitted scarf valued at $100,000

Queen Victoria knitted eight scarves as honours for British soldiers

A scarf knitted by Queen Victoria is expected to make around $100,000 in Heritage Auctions' Arms and Armor sale on December 10-11.

The remarkable item is one of eight she made for "the best all-round men taking part in the South African campaign" in 1900.

Queen scarf Heritage
Queen Victoria personally knitted this scarf

The recipients were voted for by their regiments, who chose them for their outstanding bravery. Four of the scarves were presented to British soldiers, four to colonial troops.

They are made from khaki wool and were worn across the body. While it was seen as a great honour, it was not viewed as equivalent to the Victoria Cross - which remains the highest award that can be given for bravery in the British army.

A note in the Royal Archives from 1956 explains: "In a certain sense the scarves may be regarded as a greater honour stitched as they were by the hands of The Queen herself, and strictly limited in number.

"But whatever their relative status, they can hardly be treated as the precise equivalent of the V.C. In the first place, they were not (so the Stationery Office informs us) gazetted.

"Secondly, they were awarded on a different basis from the V.C."

Six of the scarves have survived.

This is the only example in private hands (the others are all in museum collections).

It belonged to Sergeant William Colclough of the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment - although the circumstances surrounding his nomination are unknown.

The lot will include Sergeant Colclough's other medals, such as an 1895 India Medal and a Relief of Ladysmith.

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Images: Heritage Auctions

Last updated: 2 November 2016