Original British Victorian Era Shooting Prize of the Honourable Artillery Company - Dated 1865
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a silver plated lidded beer tankard bearing the complete regimental device of The Honourable Artillery Company. It has a glass bottom that was introduced in the 18th century so the drinker could see if a coin had been dropped in his beer.
Known as Taking the King's Shilling, recruiting sergeants were known to drop a shilling coin into a prospective recruit’s beer that only became apparent once the beer mug was emptied. The tale goes that having drunk the beer the poor slob had accepted the King's shilling and had therefore volunteered to serve in His Majesty's Army or Navy. Sadly the practice was legal and many landlubbers were pressed into service this way.
The Honourable Artillery Company is considered the oldest Regiment in Britain's history with roots going back to 1087. In 1537 Henry VIII chartered it as "The Guild of Artillery, of Longbows, of Cross Bows and Handgonnes". It became known as the Honourable Artillery Company under its’ captain General King Charles II in 1685 and was confirmed as such by Queen Victoria in 1860. To serve was an honor and reserved for the affluent. The HAC serves with distinction to this day as part of the Army Reserve, and has in recent times sent soldiers to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan (including one KIA), with several soldiers currently on operations around the world.
Our Prize tankard is engraved:
in a scratch match at Kilburn
between 18 members of the Regiment
Feb'y 7th. 1865.
Still fully serviceable, this tankard is ready to drink beer and allows you to view your companions through the glass bottom. An excellent piece to display with regimental honors.
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