Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma and a compass

It was my birthday during July. Amongst the usual crop of chocolates, socks and underwear, I received an item which is of much interest to me. Earlier in the year, whilst we visited my sister-in-law, and her husband, we visited an antique store in Henley-on-Thames. We both saw, picked up, and inspected a beautiful hand held pocket compass, in the design of a pocket watch, and in a shiny brass gilt case, complete with its own, apparently age related leather pouch. I commented on how beautiful it was, and how I would love to own it.

Unbeknown to me, when we left for home, she returned to buy it for my future birthday present. I have since researched it, and it was made by T.Cooke of London (this is engraved into the outer case) and appears to be what is known as a military, or marching compass. This particular company is a well known and documented manufacturer of these instruments. They were popular in the 19th and early 20th century, and were used extensively by officers during the 1st world war. The Prince of Wales, owned one in 1886, as this was engraved into the lid on the one that sold at Christie's for $3000, Laurence of Arabia also used one to navigate across the Arabian wilderness. Mine has a much more down to earth auction estimate of £30-£50, unless someone can provide relevant provenance relating to the next piece of information.

On the case button, there is more miniature engraving, which when viewed through a jeweller's loop, reveals it to be the Great Seal of The State of Oklahoma 1907. This is a full size image of the seal, and this is what it depicts.

In  the centre shall be a five-pointed star, with one ray  directed
upward. The centre of the star shall contain the central device of  the seal of The Territory of Oklahoma including the words "Labor Omnia Vincit" (Labour conquers all), depicts a white man shaking hands with an Indian - symbolizing the merging of cultures. The upper left hand ray shall contain the symbol  of  the  ancient  seal of the Cherokee Nation, namely:  A seven-pointed star partially  surrounded by a wreath  of oak leaves. The ray directed  upward shall contain  the symbol of  the ancient seal of the Chickasaw Nation, namely:  An Indian warrior standing upright with bow and shield. The lower left-hand  ray shall  contain  the  symbol of  the  ancient  seal of the Creek Nation, namely a sheaf of wheat and a plough.  The upper right hand ray shall contain the symbol of  the ancient seal of the Choctaw Nation,  namely: A tomahawk, bow, and three crossed arrows. The right hand ray shall contain the symbol of the   ancient seal of  the Seminole Nation, namely:  A village with houses and a factory beside a lake upon which  an  Indian is paddling a canoe. Surrounding the central star and grouped between its rays, shall be forty-five small stars, divided into five clusters of nine stars each, representing  the  forty-five states of  the Union, to which  the forty-sixth is now added (1907). In a circular band surrounding the whole device shall be inscribed:  "GREAT SEAL OF T H E  STATE OF OKLAHOMA,  1907."

Unfortunately, as this cannot be proved to be the instrument's original case, does not confirm American origin, but, nonetheless, an interesting birthday gift. As readers of this blog might have already gathered, I like antique instruments and compasses.

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