*Doppelgänger Edition

The venerable Dick Stout, my doppelgänger detectorist friend from Texas not only looks like me, but we also think alike. He also keeps a blog. In his latest post, he says …

I was trying to come up with something interesting to post and wondered if it really mattered. I mean how many people read what I write and does anyone really give a rat’s ass? [I’m] sure John and I will continue to write and to bitch and complain. It’s in our DNA. 

Read the full post on Dick Stout’s blog. Although first written in 2016, the short extract I show above is still as relevant today.
From The Searcher magazine – yonks ago. © JW
Edward VII pencil topper. © UKDFD No. 19015

Validator Sandra Shaw described this artefact as, ‘most probably a novelty pencil top’ (?)
These hollow cast heads were popular in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods.
But, judging by the UKDFD and PAS databases the one of Edward is quite a rare find

Fred Archer Champion Jockey

Fred Archer is often described by race-goers as “the best all-round jockey that the turf has ever seen,” with nearly 3000 race wins including 21 Classic and 13 championship titles to his name. The bust of Fred Archer is the most common pencil topper found by metal detectorists.Perhaps they were thrown out with the night soil, and that’s why we find so many in fields- unless someone can come up with a better theory.

Fred Archer. Picture courtesy of the Hulton Archive

We think of jockeys as rather small people, but Archer was a giant at 5’ 10”. As a result he had to diet far more than others, which had an effect on his health. The loss of his wife during childbirth plus huge gambling debts, caused severe depression and at the age of only 29, he committed suicide by shooting himself.

Pencil topper depicting jockey Fred Archer. © UKDFD

The National Horseracing Museum displays a selection of Archer memorabilia, including the gun with which he shot himself – Fred was the most tragic of jockeys.



I laboured in the same job for over 40 years. During that time I wore a tie every day. I showed my individualism by wearing the most colourful, but always loosely about my neck, and often hand-painted. Some of my co-workers referred to them as ‘tasteless’.Each to his own!

i’ve put together a few examples of the sort of neckwear I used to wear, but my all-time favourite is the example shown on the right. The caricature shows my ‘brand’ and is recognised all over the world. In America [for example] detectorists are using it as their own and others have even had my caricature permanently tattooed on their skin. He is also with the by-line accompanying most of my scribbles.

The original was a drawn by daughter Jo when she was about 14 of 15, and the yellow tie was hand-painted by Mrs. John.

*doppelgänger – an apparition or double of a living person.

10 thoughts on “*Doppelgänger Edition

  1. Another good article John, just like yourself I wouldn’t be seen without a colourful tie I always dressed with a suit white shirt and tie my favourite ties were the paisley design

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the self deprecating humour John.. But mostly, I love the ties!!! I had an experience whilst working at the hospital as a technologist. The one hospital has a rather laissez Faire attitude re attire.. I was sent over to another hospital to set up some equipment and they had a far more restrictive attitude.. and insisted on wearing of ties.. I did not do that.. So when the department head said that I had to wear one or not work there, I said that I would finish my shift and leave..

    as I was getting ready to leave [early since I had finished my patient load], I was told’ see you tomorrow’ “Nope” I said.. ‘Why?’.. I said I do not wear ties.. ever.. [Something too restrictive for me]… “hold on……. Hold on”.. And thus a special dispensation was made for me.. I did not have to wear a tie..

    Thank you for the story my friend..

    And yeas… that is a more than passing resemblance to you


    You didn’t want to be TIE-D down?
    Thanks for the story, you renegade!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the shout John, appreciate it. Now I’m thinking I need to get a fancy tie and you my friend just might have a sideline business. Give Lynda a paint brush and tell her to get busy.
    What a good idea.
    Am I included in this venture?
    Could provide some old stock

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RANDY, forgive me. I removed your comment and can’t get it back
    Here’s the message you left on the CONTACT ME form.

    Hello John I am writing to let you know that your recent blog post *Doppelgänger Edition is no longer accessible and comes up as a error warning, I had access and left you a comment so I don’t know what has gone wrong. Regards Randy.

    All fixed now, I hope. I thank you for your continuing interest in my scribblings.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks John everything is working now, my comment was a reflection of how close your wearing brightly coloured ties was well associated of how I dressed as teenager and my younger years I only turned out wearing a suit with a white shirt and bright tie my favourite ties were the paisley pattern. My only deviation was in the early 1960’s when I turned out in velvet collared coat and drainpipe trousers and a yellow silk shirt with a black bootlace tie, my wardrobe still holds some of this stock but I am afraid that I won’t be wearing them again.

    Liked by 1 person

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