Miguel Daupias Alves from Portugal
It was February 28th, the day before the 2016 leap year extension of one day to Feb. 29th. Miguel was still planning treatment for lung cancer the following week — of which he had been battling ….. nine days later we lost him. He remained optimistic to the end.
Miguel not only was a world class student of antique whistles, but also adept at many types of antique restoration with which he made his living. Unfortunately the chemicals involved took their toll and in February he wrote “The problem is that with my 41/43% capacity of my lungs, sometimes I get small infections caused by dust, moisture or the weather. They cause mucus inside my lungs and I can't breathe, so I get very tired … “
How is one’s life measured ?? Many ways of course including accomplishments, family, heritage left behind. Let’s briefly look at his life and family and some of his thoughts and finally at his contribution to the whistle world.
Miguel passed away on March 6th 2016 and left behind three children; Rita his eldest daughter, Miguel Jr., and Ines., and two grandchildren – Alvaro Miguel, Marian Constanca, and in May will be Nuno Miguel.
He valued his family above all, writing in August of last year (2015) on the importance of staying close to home as follows “I'm glad you found another job even if it's far from your home… I think you have well done not moving (it's hard and I quite know that) it's better to live close to the rest of the family as I am now, I am living close to my "kids" and grand-son.”
Miguel started collecting whistles after his grandfather died and he brought home 3 of his whistles. Later losing his great aunt he also added 3 more whistles. With this early beginning Miguel then picked up a few at various auctions. He worked very hard at learning about and maintaining the original patinas while trying to restore them to original condition.
Originally Miguel would take before and after pictures and eventually building a collection of over 2,000 antique, vintage whistles, some very rare. Of course keeping a picture record would have to give way.
In November he wrote “I think you understand what I 'm feeling for to be barred since more than two years ago, for to see, touch and study all my collection (>2.000)…”
So, by this time Miguel had built a very large case to display his collection for reference, storage and of course a remarkable display of close to 2,600 beautiful rare, collectible whistles.
Miguel’s whistles were focused on metal and spanned from 1850s to present. Every category of hand whistles was covered along with bird calls, speaking tubes, some toys and other variety. He planned on categorizing and one day publishing before selling off in retirement.
Here are a few highlights..
Dowler Knoxall with ivory mouthpiece —
Yates solid plated brass with round knop circa 1870-80 along with round knop ( Hudson ? ) with ivory mouthpiece
In the mid-1800s a conical beaufort like whistle aimed at railway and police forces emerged. They were shorter and wider than standard beauforts.
Unfortunately we have had to ‘clip’ these pictures out of the collections pix and they are of course fuzzy !!!
Another fine whistle is this time German with long mouthpiece and toothgrip.
A very well made large round whistle looks to be a Hudson.
Along with a pewter or Britannia round with no hole in the knop, sometimes being very early this looks to be later.
Now, what looks to be a Hawksley beaufort on the larger size circa 1880s and next to it an unusual round whistle
Moving on to a very rare GSW which looks to be Yates from afar, however could be Russian military. Can’t tell the type of metal used.
Lastly a very rare ‘Stevens’ style mouthpiece made by Hudson that Miguel sent in one of his emails and a real treat for any avid student of whistles. As with his character to be very giving here is a parting gift.
As much of a loss as it is to lose anyone in death, we take note of a fellow collector, and student of rare and antique whistles. We look forward to the time when the last enemy death is brought to nothing. In the mean time we have a glimpse of a very special collector and collection…
“When I started my collection of metal whistles in 1988 my nick-name in the antiques markets was "whistles mad" in Portuguese "maluquinho dos apitos" and I never thought to find people with the same passion… The whistles are very mysterious objects of communication, each one with a story and they have so many beautiful designs, shapes and sounds that I fell in love…” — Miguel Daupias Alves
Posted April 5, 2016