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Thread: 60-pc Joseph Elliot traveling salesman display set

  1. #1
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    Default 60-pc Joseph Elliot traveling salesman display set

    Just received this from a dealer in the UK, a 60-piece Joseph Elliot traveling salesman display set.

    As you can see in the photos, they were originally three cases that are hinged in the middle to be closed with ten razors per side, twenty to the case, for sixty total. The previous owner had the cases set in frames which are sealed up from the backside so there is no way to get to the razors. Not that I would want to take them out to hone or use, it might be nice to coat the blades/scales in something to protect them but they've lasted this long so hopefully I have no problems in the future but I will of course keep an eye on them since they will be hanging on my wall, lol.

    The former owner lived in Sheffield and, while not a SR collector, he apparently liked that the razors were made there so he bought set and had them framed for display. The gentleman passed away and a local dealer bought the set. He didn't know much about SRs so he did the "Pawn Stars" thing and contacted his buddy, a fellow antiques dealer, who does deal in SRs. That gentleman took some photos, circulated them around, and soon I saw them. I collect Joseph Elliot razors specifically (also Joseph Rodgers) so I jumped all over it. I never even thought about such a set existing back in the heyday of SRs and certainly never would have believed that one still existed in such pristine condition to this day.

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    1) NW (Near Wedge), 7/8, "Universally Approved, Best Silver Steel", staghorn w/ silver inlay
    2) NW, 11/16, ivory scales
    3) NW, 11/16, ground spine, ivory scales
    4) NW, 11/16, ivory scales
    5) CG (Concave Grind), 11/16, ivory scales
    6) FF (Faux Frameback), 11/16, ivory scales
    7) NW, 11/16, "Silver Steel" gold etch, ivory scales w/ silver inlay
    8) NW, 6/8, "Gentlemans Razor", streaked horn scales (bug bites)
    9) NW, 6/8, "Gentlemans Razor", carved ivory scales w/ silver inlay
    10) NW, 6/8, "Old English Razor", ivory scales
    11) NW, 6/8, ivory scales w/ silver oval inlay
    12) NW, 6/8, Spanish point, ivory scales w/ silver shield inlay
    13) NW, 6/8, ivory scales w/ silver oval inlay
    14) NW, 6/8, "Joseph Elliot's Best Silver Steel", ivory scales, covered tang, silver inlay
    15) NW, 13/16, "Universally Approved, Best Silver Steel", carved ivory scales, silver inlay/pinwork
    16) NW, 6/8, segmented/carved MOP (mother of pearl) scales, silver inlay
    17) CG, 13/16, worked spine, carved ivory scales, silver inlay
    18) NW, 13/16, "Genuine Concave", worked spine, tortoiseshell scales
    19) NW, 13/16, worked spine, solid/carved MOP scales (crack)
    20) NW, 13/16, solid MOP scales

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    21) FB (Frameback), 13/16, bakelite
    22) FB, 13/16, brass spine?, bakelite
    23) FB, 6/8, "Joseph Elliots Fine India Steel Razor", bakelite
    24) FB, 6/8, solid brass?, "Brunswick Razor Very Thin For Close & Even Shaving", bakelite
    25) FB, 6/8, bakelite
    26) FB, 6/8, bakelite w/ MOP inlay
    27) FB, 7/8, brass spine?, bakelite
    28) FB, 13/16, solid brass?, bakelite
    29) FB, 13/16, bakelite
    30) FB, 13/16, bakelite
    31) QH (Quarter Hollow), 5/8, bakelite
    32) FF (Faux Frameback), 7/8, "Genuine Concave", bakelite
    33) NW (Near Wedge), 13/16, "Genuine Concave", bakelite w/ silver shield inlay
    34) CG (Concave Grind), 7/8, bakelite
    35) FF, 7/8, "Genuine Concave", bone scales
    36) NW, 6/8, "Genuine Concave", worked spine, bakelite w/ MOP inlay
    37) CG, 6/8, unusual tip, bakelite
    38) FF, 6/8, worked spine, bakelite
    39) CG, 7/8, "Genuine Concave", bakelite
    40) CG, 6/8, bakelite

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    41) NW, 7/8, stained horn w/ bullseye washers
    42) NW, 7/8, bakelite
    43) NW, 7/8, Masonic etch, bakelite
    44) NW, 6/8, bakelite
    45) NW, 7/8, stained horn scales w/ silver shield inlay
    46) NW, 7/8, bakelite, gold-ish sheen to blade?
    47) NW, 7/8, pressed honey horn scales, "Imperial Razor", rosette washers
    48) NW, 7/8, bakelite
    49) NW, 7/8, bone scales
    50) NW, 6/8, bakelite w/ silver ring inlay
    51) NW, 6/8, ground spine, stained horn scales w/ silver inlays
    52) NW, 13/16, pressed honey horn scales
    53) NW, 6/8, bakelite w/ rosette washers
    54) NW, 13/16, ivory scale w/ silver shield inlay
    55) NW, 13/16, bakelite
    56) NW, 7/8, honey horn scales
    57) NW, 13/16, bakelite w/ silver shield inlay
    58) NW, 13/16, bakelite, gold-ish sheen to blade?
    59) NW, 13/16, "Superior Razor", stained horn scales w/ silver inlay
    60) NW, 13/16, ground spine, bakelite

    The all-stars are obviously razors #16-20: the carved MOP, carved ivory, tortoiseshell, solid MOP, and even solid and carved MOP. I don't think I have ever seen a razor with solid MOP scales that were carved. Sadly, there does appear to be a crack straight across the scales at the wedge end but it seems stable and of course will never be handled so it should be okay. Some of the grind work on the spines of those razors are amazing, more intricate than anything else I have ever seen.

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    The big staghorn is also nice, only the second Elliot razor with staghorn scales I have seen. There are two razors, #24 and #28, which do appear to be solid brass framebacks but with some heavy patina on them. I had one already that appears to be older and I know of only a handful of others. Some of the concave grinds, like on #37, are just crazy, more unique than anything I have ever seen.

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    Razors #46 and #58 were something that surprised me, they have a gold-ish sheen to the blades. It looks similar to the patina on the brass framebacks but a bit more gold in color. I have no idea if this is some patina or oxidization that formed on just these two razors but I suspect it might be some finish done at the factory because it is so even and the blades are virtually identical for shape/grind/etc.

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    If you look at the full resolution photos in the album linked below, you can read two numbers written below each razor. I assume that the top number is a model number; they are just four digit numbers. The bottom number I am guessing is a price (wholesale? suggested retail?) listed in pounds and shillings maybe? The numbers do seem to be higher the more elaborate and intricate the work on the razors and the scarcity of the scales material. The solid/carved MOP razor is the highest at "250/", the solid/uncarved MOP is second at "120/", then the tortoiseshell at "100/", the carved/segment MOP and carved/pinwork ivory at "70/" and "76/", and on down. The razor with ivory scales and covered tang is higher than the other ivory scaled razors and even more than one of the carved (but not as elaborate) ivory razors. Most of the framebacks and concave grinds are in the 20's while all of the near wedges are in the single digits. It is amazing to me that the etchings on the blades, the inlays in the horn scales, pressed designs in the scales, didn't seem to make much difference in price.

    I've got a full album of photos uploaded to imgur so be sure to check it out for more/bigger photos.

    If you come to the Shaving Collectibles Meeting outside of Cincinnati October 10-11th I will most likely be there with this set on display.
    Last edited by goldragon; 01-26-2015 at 07:47 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Leatherstockiings's Avatar
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    Wow! Just wow!
    The images on imgur a worth taking a gander at.

  4. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Very, very fine instant collection, congratulations. Thank you for posting them.

    After listening to someone talk ever wonder who ties their shoe laces?

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    Captain ARAD. Voidmonster's Avatar
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    I saw these images when they were circulating, and I was terrified they'd be sold to someone who would break up the sets and sell the blades for profit.

    I am so grateful that you got them and want to keep them together and documented!

    I've got a busy day today, but later I'll try and post some pictures of the inventory system used on 1920's era Elliots in a much more modest sales kit. It didn't change much!

    My best guess is these kits were from the 1840's-1850's. I'm pretty sure those are all black horn, not bakelite.

    Most of the weird looking spines and seldom-seen blade patterns actually go all the way back to 1810, and are illustrated in Smith's Key. And I had never seen a physical example of them!
    -Zak Jarvis. Writer. Artist. Bon vivant.

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  7. #5
    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Now that is amazing, a beautiful collection and they all look brand new, never used!! That is astounding! Congratulations!!

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    Senior Member monkeypuzzlebeefeater's Avatar
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    That is simply stunning!

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    Senior Member wyobarbershop's Avatar
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    Congratulations! That is a beautiful piece of history and you're very lucky to have it.
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    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    Remarkable! Kudos for wanting to keep them together for the history of them.
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  11. #9
    It's bloodletting with style! - Jim KindestCutOfAll's Avatar
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    ... uh

    ... I mean, um...


    ... really those are amazing.
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    May your lather be moist and slick, the sweep of your razor sure, and your edge always keen!

  12. #10
    MJC is offline
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    Amazing - thank you for sharing.
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