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Two crests for one person



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The Kennedy family is well-documented and is quite memorable in terms of gaming counters because of a particularly distinctive crest of a dolphin naiant recorded for Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis and Marquess of  Ailsa, with the motto AVISE LA FIN (French: Consider the end).  Crests are not as strictly regulated and recorded as coats of arms and families were known to be rather liberal in their use, it is quite unusual for one person to use two crests at the same time.

Lieutenant  Colonel Alexander Kennedy Clark Kennedy of Knockgray, however, has two crests officially recorded: the dolphin and 'a soldier of the 1st Royal Dragoons, holding in his right hand a sword proper and in his left a French eagle with a tricoloured flag having thereon the number 105'.This rather wordy addition to the family crest (it was accompanied by a similar addititon to the actual coat of arms) was awarded to Colonel Alexander Kennedy "in commemoration of him having, when in command of the centre squadron of the Royal dragoons at the battle of Waterloo , captured the eagle and colours of the 105th regiment of French Infantry with his own hand".

Colonel Kennedy succeded to the estate of Knockgray in 1835 and he must have ordered this set of counters very soon afterwards.

This counter was an (expensive !) new addition to my collection. I was fortunate enough to find a small ivory box containing eight matching counters, suggesting that these were made (or adapted) as  a whist marker set. The counters were made circa 1840 and have a fretted border. Typically of counters made at that time (around the time of the Opium wars between China and England - in the shape of the East India Company fleet) mother-of-pearl may have been in short supply due to the blockade of Canton. The quality of mother-of-pearl (though not of the engraving) of three of the counters in the set of eight is not of the highest order. However fortunately the other five are! A further point of interest came in the form of a rare mistake by one of the workmen engraving the motto: he omitted the 'e' from 'avise' on one counter. This is a very unusual but not unique occurence. The two counters are illustrated.


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