Tait McKenzie Statute – 1st Version

Some of you may be aware that there are actually two versions of “The Ideal Scout”…


McKenzie made the first one in 1915 as a gift to the Philadelphia Council, who had 10- 18″ bronze copies made… these have never been copied.


In 1917, the council authorized National to distribute 17″ copies made of chalk (plaster), finished in green, bronze, or ivory… these, as you might guess, did not ship well and were discontinued– not sure exactly when, but sometime before 1934…


In 1937 McKenzie came back and made the full-size statue that we’re the most familiar with– however, he made some changes to reflect the changes in uniform and insignia over the years since the original — he also used a new model (actually four of them) for the scout. So this version appears slightly different than the original.


This one was first mass produced in the early ’40’s, finished in bronze or silver, and the statutes of this vintage are very close to the original as far as detail goes.. these were 8 1/2 statutes cast in ‘white’ metal. I have one of these, and there is a world of difference between them and the later 4″ statues as far as detail and workmanship– the 4″ ones from 1950, as well as the ones available today almost look like they took the original and melted it to blur the details! These latter copies are in bronze, oxidized copper, and oxidized silver.


Anyway.. .what all of this is leading up to is that in the past 7-10 days there have been two of the 17” chalk reproductions show up on ebay… these are pretty difficult to come by, as you might guess, especially in decent shape since they were cast in plaster… and having two at once on ebay is a bit unusual, to say the least… previously i think i’ve only seen two of these on ebay in the past 3-4 years, and neither in as good a shape as these two…


The first one came out on a ‘buy now or best offer’ at $485… it sold for $360


Rare Large – R. Tait McKenzie Boy Scout Statue c. 1917


The other one still has two days to go with no bids on a $360 opener…


Vintage 1915 R.Tait Mckenzie Scout 17in. Chalk


But check them out, and you’ll see what i mean by the excellent detail in these… and if you’re familiar with the 1937 model, you may see the differences in the two sculptures as well..


Both auctions have lots of pics, and you can see one of the two main distinguishing features between the 1917 version and the 1937 version– in the earlier version, there are two deer tracks, and McKenzie’s name on the base, which also has a couple of little ‘bumps’ in it… the second version has an almost flat base, no deer tracks, and no signature (at least not there– it was moved to the side of the lower base).


The other ‘tell’ sign of the later version is the prominent double bar patrol leader’s patch — which is almost gone on the later ‘melted’ versions of this sculpture…





I listed my Circa 1918 statue of R. Tait McKenzie’s “The Ideal Scout” on eBay. “The Ideal Scout” Bronze by R. Tait McKenzie Circa 1918 – Boy Scout Statue – 131174363063

By Alvin McCurley on April 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 pm

My grandfather was presented with one of these statues in the 1930’s or early 1940’s and I inherited it in 1967. May I email you photos of it to see if you can determine the age by examining the details? I believe it may be a very early casting, because of the sharpness of the fine details.
Thank you for your reply,
Randy Loftis

By Randy Loftis on June 1st, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I recently purchased an 8 1/2″ Copper Boy Scout statue with the creed stamped around the middle of the base and R. Tait McKenzie 1915 stamped. What would be the value since it has his name and date stamped on it? I’ve seen similar but without the creed, his name, the date and a 1″ high base. Any ideas?
Commander Willie

By Commander Willie on April 5th, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Selling my collection of scouting stuff (foot locker load) mainly from the 70-80’s.Some earlier and later dated stuff. Loads of CSP’s and OA flaps,belt buckles, neckerchiefs, etc. like to hear from you!

By John Twissgarrity on August 27th, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I realize this is an older article….is anyone still monitoring it? I am ‘cleaning house’ from my parents estate. Have an 8 1/2″ bronze colored metal with the R.Tail McKenzie 1915 stamped on the bottom outer rim base. Want to list it…don’t want to misrepresent it as anything other than the 1940 statue. Appreciate your reply. Thank you!

By Patty Meyer on March 25th, 2020 at 8:18 pm

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