TRAGIC LOSSES

The loss of the crown by the first king of Israel and by Richard III of England have many counterparts in modern history although their losers did not wear their crowns on the battle field-likewise then they concealed their identity-although that mattered little in modern warfare. The loss of ancient plate has many times been bemoaned by collectors. John lost his crown during a rough crossing of the Wash in 1216-he was fond of pomp and took care that the insignia of his royal personality should be in his " suit case " or its ancient prototype. There are no modern incidents upon which we can base the value of a " King's ransom " at the present time. It would appear as if civilisation presents two different aspects-one a lapse into the brutality of barbaric times when it was thought the only way to rid the world of a tyrant was to take his life, and the other viewpoint a broad and even too generous one which gives greater tolerance to the miscreant and even allows the retention of jewels, plate and wealth although it is forfeited in the opinion of many.

One of the finest bronze statues in London is that of Richard Coeur de Lion who is represented wearing royal armour, with regal emblazonment, seated on his gaily caparisoned charger and rightly wearing his kingly crown. Can we imagine him in any other headgear ? It was for the payment of the ransom claimed for the release of this monarch that England gladly gave up royal plate, and churches and ecclesiastics lost their treasures to provide the money to ensure the speedy and safe return of their warlike king. Richard was ransomed and his people were glad notwithstanding the loss of their silver and gold.