The Clan McDuck
The heraldry

The McDuck Coat of Arms

The McDuck Coat of Arms as shown in A Letter From Home
or The Old Castle's Other Secret

When Don Rosa in 1991 included the McDuck Coat of Arms in part 1 of Lo$ - The Last of The Clan McDuck he did so without very much research around heraldry. So when he in 2003 did a new story which takes place in the McDuck castle (A Letter From Home or The Old Castle's Other Secret) he decided to handle this details with as mush care as he always handle other details. As a result he came up with a complete new design for the McDuck Coat of Arms including coloring instructions. Here are his personal comments about this:

"Are you interested in how much research and work I put into background details that you may not even notice, just because I'm having fun? Take for example the McDuck coat-of-arms that I recreated for this story. I had used one version in the first chapter of my "Life of $crooge" 14 years ago, but I thought I could do better than that, so I gave it more study. I used some of the same elements (duck heads, coins and a "bend") but I think I've improved on the design and meaning. Here's an explanation of the new design...

The square in the upper left is called a "canton" which holds a special family emblem called a "charge" such as a lion's head or dragon. This is where I repositioned the McDuck Duckhead "charge". The "ordinary" is the type of general geometric design employed, the style that I use being a diagonal stripe called a "bend" which represents "defense or protection". If it additionally employs the shapes of defensive crenels as seen atop a castle wall, it becomes an "embattled bend" denoting even fiercer protection of something. But of what? The large dots in the bend are called "roundels". If they are colored gold, they represent money or treasure and are called "bezants" after the medieval Byzantine gold coin.

Now to the other colors of the design, known as the "tincture": The red of the embattled bend represents "military fortitude". The background (the "fur") of the design is a tawny hue to represent "worthy ambition". So my McDuck coat-of-arms indicates that this is a worthy clan of brave and ambitious warriors who fiercely defend a great treasure. Sound appropriate?

The new design of he McDuck coat of arms is how I now see it. It would have been included even in future reprints of Lo$ part 1 "The Last of the Clan McDuck" if I had anything to do with it -- which I don't. I have virtually no influence over how my stories are reprinted. Maybe they will change it when they reprint it in something like that new HALL OF FAME book, but then again they'll probably just not care.

I. The old McDuck Coat of Arms

The old version of the heraldry of The Clan McDuck includes the coat of arms and the banner. These items are shown in chapter 1 of Lo$, The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991), where the young Scrooge enters the McDuck Castle and meets the ghost of Sir Quackly McDuck. However due to different coloring by different publishers, these symbols don't look exactly similar from one version to another.

Based on the scans provided in this page an expert on heraldry has stated that none of the scans shows a proper coloring, because "…in an arm there must be both colors (red, blue, green, black or purple) and metals (silver - shown as white, or gold - shown as yellow). But if we assume that the bend are shown correctly in the US-version of the scans, and that the blue background color shown in some of the Scandinavian versions of the scans is the correct background color the correct blazoning of this weapon will be: Azure semé with falling bezants, on a bend sinister argent three McDuck's heads sable.".

As the terminology of British heraldry is very much influenced by French a translation seems necessary: The description of the McDuck coat of arms is: A blue background with falling golden coins, on a silver ribbon from the top left to the bottom right there are black conventionalized silhouettes of three McDuck's heads facing right. (remember that the shields and the banner are shown inverted in the drawings - for a McDuck holding a shield in front of him with the heraldry pointing away from him, the description will be correct).

  Read more about the English heraldry terminology

Note: the observant reader would have noticed (as shown below) that the coloring is not consistent from place to place, and some may also notice that the 3D coins contradicts the heraldric laws. When asked about these things Don rosa said: "I don't really have an opinion. But I would probably opt to however Gladstone colored it since for *me* the American editions are naturally the "official" ones. As far that business of things on heraldic emblems not being in 3D, I don't know anything about it. But how could I show coins on an emblem unless they were 3D? Otherwise they'd look like polka dots and it would be pointless."

 The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)
a-d) McDuck Coat of Arms shown in The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991)

 The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)   The McDuck Coat of Arms (US)
e-h) McDuck Coat of Arms shown in The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991)

II. The McDuck Banner

Also the banner for the Clan McDuck, based upon the clan's coat of arms, is showed in the "castle" part of The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991).

 The McDuck Banner (US)   The McDuck Banner (Scandinavia)
i) The McDuck banner shown in The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991)
j) The McDuck banner shown in The Last of The Clan McDuck (1991)
 Scandinavian version

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