An Exceedingly Rare King George III Messenger's Badge
An Exceedingly Rare King George III Messenger's Badge; Silver gilt, oval badge surmounted by the Royal crown, duty mark of George III (created to indicate a tax on the item had been paid to the crown), hallmarked with the British lion and maker marked "W.P" (William Potter, London) on the reverse, illustrating a hand-painted Royal coat-of-arms shield in red, blue, black and gold paint under a crystal in the centre, the shield flanked by a rose on the left and a thistle on the right, Royal cypher "GRIII" above the shield, surrounded by a garter inscribed "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE" (Shame be to Him who thinks Evil of it), 55.5 mm x 111 mm, loop at the bottom suspending a 16.5 mm x 54.8 mm x 8.8 mm greyhound pendant, 147 mm in overall height inclusive of the greyhound pendant, light contact, extremely fine. Footnote: The King's Messengers Corps was founded by King Charles II (1630-1685). In early times, messengers had to be proficient in horsemanship and with a pistol and sword, in order to defend the King's despatches. It could be a dangerous job. The last Royal courier to lose his life went to look at his horses outside an Austrian inn during the Napoleonic wars and was never seen again. They could also carry warrants, issued by the Secretary of State, for the apprehension of persons accused of high treason and other grave offences against the State.