[ANSTHRLD] Odd question I'm unable to find the answer to.

Etienne de St. Amaranth st.amaranth at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 15 15:21:35 PDT 2011

Two separate issues.

First issue, they are your arms.  If I own the arms, I can, modernly, mostly do with them whatever I want.  If I put my arms on a garment and then put that on my son, that's my choice (but not really heraldically correct).  If I let a merchant display the arms in their tent, that's my choice.  

I've seen at least one merchant who produces work, furniture and banners and such, that incorporate heraldic arms.  They display examples of what they produce and by it's nature that includes arms.  But they are also careful to advertise that they produce goods with heraldic arms so you know almost all examples in their shop include arms that are not theirs.

If you craft arms in some form for the owner and that owner gives them to a merchant to display (or has you make them and ship to the merchant on their behalf) that is between the owner of the arms and the merchant.

Second issue, they are your arms.  In most cases, the display of your arms indicates that you are present or that the displayer is legally you and entitled (or claiming to be) to your lands, livestock, money, property, to sign contracts or enter tournaments as you, and possibly has rights to your spouse.  I would never give someone my arms to display on their own in my absence.

I did say in most cases.  I would argue that in the shop of an artist making heraldic banners, I should expect to see banners in various states and hanging or laid out on display.  But that is not the same as displaying them.  In a scribe's shop, I would expect to see examples of charters or letters patent involving arms for people not present.  

But that does not sound like what this merchant is doing.  From your description, it sounds like the merchant just displays customers' arms as decorations.  That gives me pause.

There are things that you can buy today that show the achievement of arms of the Queen of England.  And somewhere around that it will say something like "by appointment of Her Majesty purveyors of fine <insert the good or commodity> to the Crown".  I would be surprised if those crafters did not have a letter or charter from the Crown with the arms displayed stating that appointment hanging in their shop or office.  And they get to place the arms on the products they produce to advertise that fact.  I do not know when that practice started.  Master Robin or Mistress Serena may be able to cite when that started.  The right to display the arms on produced goods with the appointment may or may not be period.  If the merchant is trying to visually present a resume of customers who purchase their goods or who commission work, that would make modern sense, and might be period.  But I am unsure that the practice would include freely displaying the arms in the shop aside from the letter of appointment.

They are your arms.  They legally represent you.  I'd be cautious about granting others the right to display you to whoever comes by.  If nothing else, some kindly old lady who later feels the merchant swindled her may have seen your arms displayed and will now associate you with fraud, etc.

Sent from my iPhone,


On Apr 15, 2011, at 1:22 PM, Emily Minier <adalia.nyx at gmail.com> wrote:

> Since we register specific arms to specific people, is there permission
> necessary for someone OTHER THAN the registree to cause those arms to be
> displayed?  If so, what permission is necessary and how is that permission
> documented.
> Let me give some background.
> There is a merchant at a war who will (for no fee) gladly accept and display
> the registered arms of any member of the SCA.  He has specific size rules
> and such on his acceptances, but that is neither here nor there.  Some
> members of the populace have asked that their arms be crafted in a form that
> complies with his rules so they can be displayed.  Do I need to have some
> form of written permission from the owner of the arms before I create and
> deliver said arms unto the vendor?
> -- 
> HL Adalia VonderBerg
> There are two ways to be creative.  One can sing and dance.  OR one can
> create an environment where singers and dancers flourish - Warren Bennis
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