Committee of Vigilance San Francisco Belt Buckle : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I've recently discovered I'm the owner of an old-looking belt buckle, seemingly made of bronze, that represents the Committee of Vigilance of San Francisco. It is headed by this title across the top and has a symbol in the middle of the buckle. The symbol has an eye in the center, and is surrounded by "Committee of Vigilance San Francisco", and is then surrounded on the outer part of the circle by the saying: "Fait Justitia Rautctlum, No Creed No Party No Sectional Issue". Below the symbol it says "Reorganized 15th May 1856". On either side of the symbol are shields with a star on them, with one saying "Action" below it and the other says "Power" below it. On the back it says "King! Fort Gunnybags 1856 Tiffany New York". My question is: Does anyone know if this could be a genuine article from that time period? Does anyone know where I could find more information about the buckle online? I read one small article that said a similarly described buckle was a fake, but the author of the article never said if there were any REAL ones on the market. I'd appreciate any info anyone could offer.

-- Susan Eckert (, June 10, 2000



Did you ever receive and answer? We have two of these buckles, same on the front, different on the back. We would think that one of them is original, but no one can answer the question.

-- Ken (, November 25, 2001.

I'm afraid I never really received any definite answer about this buckle. The only info I could ever find was that article I mentioned in my original post, which said the buckle was a fake. I have received a few emails inquiring further about whether the buckle might be real or not, since I'm apparently not the only one to come across one. My only suggestion to anyone wanting a reliable answer would be for them to go to the Antique Roadshow (or whatever it's called)...the one they broadcast on TV sometimes where people bring their antiques to be evaluated & priced. Or you could try just going to an antique shop...they might have an answer there. Just be warned, it might not be the answer you were hoping for. :)

-- Susan Eckert (, November 26, 2001.

I also have this belt buckle. I'd be interested to know if you ever get an answer.

-- Linda Beam (, December 11, 2001.

I also have the same buckle. For good information about this buckle, gothe the web site "". FInd the "ARTICLE SEARCH" box. Type the following into the search box, then press GO. Search on "popeye packs a punch" - this is not a joke - it will work. Click on the first article returned for this search (83%). On the same page as the popeye article is a short Q&A about this very buckle. I won't tell you what it says -- half the fun is in the search

-- John Cavalli (, January 25, 2002.

I also have the same buckle. On the back, there is a small imprint that appears to be the heads end of a coin. It then says D-36, with a raised emblem next to it. I purchased it at an antique store in Oklahoma.

-- Neel Patel (, February 17, 2002.

Hi belt buckle owners,

I also have one of these SF buckles. Alas, after much research we are the owners of well-made reproduction (fake?) buckles. I did read in my search that actual buckles were made, which say "KING" on the back, for a citizen who was killed in SF at the time. They were not made by "Tiffany".

I remember someone hawking an assortment of "old" Tiffany belt buckles at a Fiddler's Convention in VA in 1970. I purchased the SF one, but I remember distinctly several rather unpleasant buckles with disturbing scenes depicted, and the letters "KKK" prominantly displayed. I hope no one has any of these! There were also "Western Union" and others.

Check out this site for some information on the actual source.

Quite a scam! Well made buckles, though a little large for modern jeans.


-- Chuck Koehler (, July 11, 2002.

I have a brass buckle I puchased over 30 years ago in an upscale antique store. On the front is MOTHERS & FATHERS ITALIAN ASSOCIATION by taking the first letter spells MAFIA. On the back it says: "SIEDLUGSWESEN( faded) AMERICAN-GERMAN IMMIGRANT DEPT. CANSEVOORT MARKET Little 12th St. N.Y. ALSO HAMBURG-BREMAN TIFFANT & CO. LONDON ENGLAND MAKER Anyone know anything about this buckle? I would be interested in any knowledgable responce. Thanks

-- Leonardo (, December 16, 2002.

hi.I have recently cleaned out my drawer and came across and old belt buckle my mother gave me years ago..It has a Tiffany & Co. stamp and the back and on the front reads ,from top to bottom,Wells Fargo and Co. Since 1852 Alert and Faithful.In the middle of the belt 2 people are on a stagecoach w/4 horses pulling them.One of the guys has a wip.It is in mint condition and looks pretty old. Do you know where it came from by chance and is there any value to it

-- Andy Kovacich (, January 24, 2003.

I have the same Committee of Vigilance of San Francisco belt buckle that has been described previously, but the one I have does not say Tiffany or King Fort Gunnybags on the back. Instead mine has Bay State jewelry and Silversmiths with a patent number and serial number. I have done research on this organization but I cannot find any info on this item. I hope that since there are "fakes" there must be some "real" ones. If anyone has any info on this please e- mail me. Thank You

-- (, June 19, 2004.

Hi....I too have a Tiffany belt buckle. Mine says on back...SHOTGUN,United Brass Made in England...Broadway Pat#...Tiffany & Co,,front is Buffalo Bill Wild West Show Jubilee 1887...this one also appears to be brass....anyone know anything about this???

-- Carol R (, July 04, 2004.

Sorry folks, but you're holding fake buckles made by an unscrupulous British firm that cast them to deceive and flooded the market with them in the 60s and 70s. They are now into the secondary market with a new generation of buyers picking them up as authentic.

As bogus as they get. Worth about $10 apiece.



-- James English (, July 21, 2004.

My buckle made by Bay States Jewelry Silvesmiths represents a winning entry in a car show. The buckle is surrounded by white porcelein (it seems). The top says Mercedes Benz, the bottom says WM Murphy Co. Pasadena Cal. (WM Murphy had a MBZ showroom in Pasadena during the early 20th century.)

On the back are patent and serial numbers.

The picture in the center is of a MBZ roadster convertible. The buckle appears to represent "1st Place--modified body--USA" a second line says "2nd prize--Saoutchik-Italy" Below these are the dates 1935-1937.

Fake, or the real thing? Any significance?

Charles McKenney

-- Charles McKenney (, August 09, 2004.

I bought a similarly disturbing belt buckle at the Alameda flea mkk for $10. It depicts hooded klan members chopping down a tree labled ROME. Other weird sybolism: snakes, monks, vultures. It has Salem and a witch on a broomstick stamped on the back. I assume it is a reproduction but it is very detailed and strange. Any info is appreciated.

-- END (, October 25, 2004.

i have two simaler buckles by the same co. 1 is awarded for dancing non stop for 24 hours stamped on the back with the coca cola co. atlanta ga with a lady holding a glass of coke and a sun hat with the likeness of lillian nordica writen next to her on the front. the second one comes from england which was brought back to england in the late 1800, s by a wounded british soldier ,on the front it has two indian warriors one holding the other by the hair as if he is going to scalp him, the middle has a copper centre with the regiments insignia and on the bottom in two banners it says indian-- scout , apparently they were given to the indian scouts who were friendly to the british army during the french and british and american civil indian wars .i hope there is someone out there who may help me???? i was given this one by a very dear old friend from england who knew the soldiers son and grandson

-- david flint (, January 07, 2005.

I'm afraid to say this but Tiffany and Company NEVER made any brass or bronze buckles - they are all fakes made since the early 1960's. A web site has just gone up at: to stop the hoax about this buckles that just won't seem to go away.

-- BuckleGuy (, January 10, 2005.

I have this same buckle as described by Susan, and a few others. The only diferance I can find is that my buckle has a plate partially hidden on the back. The best I can tell it says the word(s) re- union, either with a hyphen or not. If anyone else has something similar, my email adress is below. I would also like to know if there were any REAL authentic buckles that resemble this buckle mentioned.

-- G. Smith (, January 20, 2005.

I am sorry to say the one you have is a fake. There is only 12 original buckles made. The back should only say Tiffany New York. The front is the same as you describe except for the inscription on the top should say Committe of Vigilance of San Franrisco. This is how they can tell the orignals from the copys. This goes back to Pancho Villa. We have had this for over 35 years.

-- (, February 21, 2005.

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