On March 19th… Vamberry, the Wine Merchant

“First Edition Wines” from 221B Cellars (photo courtesy Ashley Polasek)

“They are not all successes, Watson,” said he, “but there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife.” [MUSG]

In A Curious Collection of Dates, Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”), dedicate this day to Arminius Vamberry, born March 19, 1832 (possibly). They write:

“According to Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Arminius Vamberry (German: Hermann Bamberger) was a wine collector. But the Hungarian language professor, who may or may not have been born on this date in 1832, was so much more.”

Their concise account of his adventurous life (including the reason he is featured on the day that might not have been his actual birthday) ends with this interesting speculation:

“In 2005, the British National Archives released a collection of late 19th-century secret service documents. There were several revelations, one being that Vamberry had served for over a decade as a foreign agent, providing information about the Turkish government and its relations with Austria-Hungary and Russia. Records reveal that he frequently asked for cash and was known for being ‘alarmist.’ One has to wonder if it was in this capacity that he ended up as one of Holmes’s ‘pretty little problems,’ sent to 221B by way of the Diogenes Club and a particular minor government official.”

Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)
Posted by The Dynamic Duo Ron (JHWS Chips) and Beth (JHWS Selena)

4 Replies to “On March 19th… Vamberry, the Wine Merchant”

  1. Thank you Selena for this great post. You have done the column and myself proud by this suburb posting, Thanks again, Ron aka Chips

  2. Wow–is this ever interesting, Clips and Selena. There must be a covert story going on here which is why, of course, Watson never wrote up the case or wasn’t able to after the usual requisite time had passed. I wonder if the Vamberry Wine Merchants scion in Portland, Oregon know about this. Could I pass it on? One of the members of my club, the Sound of the Baskervilles, is also a member of the Vamberrys. Cheers, Daisy

    1. Sheila, Yes, please pass the information along. We are all doing trying to keep the Game Afoot. Thanks for the kind words. Selena did a fantastic job with this piece.

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