Every ham has his ‘favourite’ key. Others have ones that have sentimental value. For me, it’s my GPO straight key.
I acquired this key about 45 years ago from my uncle who was a telegraphist in the South African Navy. It was one of the keys he used on board one of his ships. It sat on my shelf as an ornament for many years until I got my amateur radio licence in Australia and began operating. I used this lovely key for quite a few years until I decided to add another one to my fledgeling collection. This was mainly because, having brass contacts, every now and then it would miss-key. Try as I might, I could not keep the contacts clean enough to allow me to pound away for hours on end.
The wooden base has PAT 1056A stamped into it and the brass lever has WE8208 on it.
This key spends most of its time back on my shelf as an ornament, but I do connect it up from time to time for old time’s sake.