Page revised 18 January 2004




Thomas Culleton was among the early promoters of the new hobby of crest collectingin the 1860s. He was a seal engraver, the first of the artisans in the chain of production of crested stationery. It was the engravers and die sinkers who were responsible for production of the plates and dies which were used in the production of crests, a term encompassing arms, monograms and addresses, as well as crests. For Christmas 1863 Culleton was marketing a range of crests:

  • The crests used by the Army and Navy. The monograms and crowns of the Royal Family. Ditto, French Emperor and French Nobility. The arms of every Duke and Marquis. The crests and mottoes of the British commoners. The arms of every College in Oxford and Cambridge. The arms of all the Archbishops from 1070 to 1863. The above are all stamped in colours, price 1s per sheet, or 12 sheets for 9s. T Culleton, 25 Cranbourn St., WC.
  • There were several heraldic artists who established themselves as heraldic institutions, or Heraldic Offices as they chose to be known. In the early 1860s Culleton was offering to engrave seals, rings and steel dies for 6/-, book plates with arms for 10/- and livery button dies at 42s. By 1870 he was offering, under the style Culleton's Heraldic Office, genealogical research, Culleton's Book of Family Crests and Mottoes, The Manual of Heraldry and Culleton's patent lever embossing press. Culleton's office was flourishing in 1891 when the painting of arms, the striking of medals and the production of presentation addresses had been added to the list of services, and continued into the twentieth century.


    Henry Salt of 9 Great Turnstile, Holborn, also noted as an engraver in the 1860s, styled himself the Lincoln's Inn Heraldic Office, a business which by 1869 was being conducted by Pugh Brothers

    The Middlesex Heraldic Office was the prestigeous style chosen by T Moring, engraver and heraldic artist.

    There were of course other engravers who produced crests. Whilst most have probably passed into obscurity we do have details of a few. Ortner & Houle, noted at St. James's Street, London, in directories of 1873 to 1889, were heraldic seal, die and medal engravers to the Queen and the royal family. The examples of crests illustrated here are on a sheet watermarked 1871, probably a sample for prospective customers.






    Another engraver holding royal warrants was James Macmichael, noted in directories of 1873 to 1883. In December 1868 he was advertising in the Illustrated London News:

  • Eccentric monograms for albums by Macmichael. These monograms are superior to anything of the kind yet produced. One dozen post free for 20 stamps, or 4 dozen for 5s 4d. J Macmichael, Heraldic Stationer to Her Majesty, 207 Kings Road, London SW.

    He was engaged by Stanley Gibbons & Co., in 1876 or earlier, to engrave the crests for the frontispiece of their National album. The example illustrated here indicates that Gibbons was not exaggerating when he advertised:

  • The Frontispiece consists of a number of most artistic designs, by MACMICHAEL, the Queen’s Engraver, beautifully stamped in relief in some of his most brilliant recherché colours.
  • For more material by Macmichael see ALBUMS.

    JENNER & KNEWSTUB, heraldic stationers, engravers, die sinkers and engravers, known to have been in business between 1866 and 1889, were also under the patronage of the royal family as noted on the illustration given here. For further notices of Jenner & Knewstub see ALBUMS and ARTS.

    Gale & Polden were military stationers and appear to have had a very specialised involvement with crest collecting from the 1880s or 1890s. They produced sets of the official crests of the army and the navy, and published The British Army Crest Album.

    William and William Simpson Lincoln were probably the principal firms involved in the commercial side of crest collecting, Lincolns was founded in the late 1850s by William Lincoln. By the end of the century, under William Simpson Lincoln, they had established themselves as the leading album producer and their albums are by far the most commonly encountered at the present time. Lincolns issued a large number of sets of crests which are listed in the sales catalogue at the end of their albums.

    Above are a selection of crests of firms involved in the 'heraldic' trade, that of Oliver of Edinburgh beautifully designed and executed. It is probable that any competent printer could produce crested material, and we find sheets of crests being produced as souvenirs. In Cambridge J Boning, a general stationer produced a large sheet of the arms of the University and colleges of Cambridge, whilst in Portsea another stationer, Griffin & Co., produced ten small sheets, each of nine 'Illuminated Ships Crests', and at least six large sheets containing 40 coloured crests, without illumination, both types of sheets priced at one shilling each.

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