Dating old horseshoes

26-Aug-2016 12:42 by 8 Comments

Dating old horseshoes

Below; Three early "Bun" head types taken from the first NHBS publication, .

No-one knows for sure just how many different royalty commemoratives there are as a few, previously unrecorded types, still surface today.Hand-shaped shoes generally date to the early 1900s while machined shoes became popular after this time. So popular is this avenue of horse brass collecting that it has been covered twice by specialist publications from the NHBS since its formation in 1976.You might be able to identify the age of a horseshoe by its material or its shaping.A hand-shaped horseshoe will have edges that are less perfectly rounded than a machined shoe.Details of the most recent publication, Royalty Brasses can be seen on the link entitled, Trade Items, and is an excellent volume for the beginner or indeed the veteran collector with photographs of close to three-hundred types.

The first royalty brasses are still a matter for contention as is the early beginnings of horse brasses themselves.

Some argue that those brasses that feature the younger or "bun" head of Queen Victoria actually date back to her coronation in 1837 but to date, no proof positive has ever surfaced to support this theory.

Due to the untimely death of her beloved Prince Albert in in 1861, no brasses (arguably) were produced to celebrate her Silver Jubilee in 1862, but by the time of her Golden Jubilee in 1887, the Bristol, Birmingham and Walsall manufacturers were ready to take on the challenge of producing a range of brasses to help horsemen celebrate the event.

These brasses were usually manufactured the year before in readiness to commemorate the particular event that they depict, so in fact, no other type of brass can be dated quite so precisely.

During the Horse Brass era many different types of brasses adorned the decorated harness and ranking high amongst those most sought-after by modern collectors, are ones that are refered to as "Royalty" brasses.

Illustrated below however, are just three Jubilee types that typify the period. 1902-1911 After the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, a new series of brasses were made to celebrate the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902, which saw some marvellous examples from most of the large factories (see Walsall and Birmingham pattern books page) which include some of the patterns seen in the panel below.