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Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln

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Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln

Lot 0256 Details

Description
Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln on His First Inauguration from His Washington Friends, sterling with gold wash, in Tiffany's #809 "Etruscan" pattern. The design includes neoclassical motifs, an angular handle with cast mask and Greek key borders along with neo-Grec engraved surfaces, typical of the middle and late 1860s. Marked Tiffany & Co/ 550 Broadway/ English Sterling 925-1000 with mark for J.C. Moore and Son, the ewer was likely the design of son Edward C. Moore. A similar ewer in the "Etruscan" pattern is pictured in Silver in American Life, by Barbara McLean and Gerald W.R. Ward, plate 182.

Engraved on the body under the spout is a depiction of the Great Seal of the United States, replete with 33 stars representing the states in the Union. The engraving was one star short of the actual number of states on March 4, 1861, since Kansas had become the 34th state, admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861. Apparently, the ewer was commissioned between the election of November 1860 and January 1861. Seven states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas—had already seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America by the time of the inauguration on March 4, 1861. In the weeks following Lincoln's inauguration, four more states seceded—Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and on April 12, 1861, a signal round was fired over Fort Sumter, South Carolina, initiating the first battle of the Civil War.

The inscription around the seal reads To the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln from his Washington Friends March 4, 1861.

Who were the "Washington Friends"? They remain undisclosed. Lincoln papers, those housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, show no acknowledgment of gratitude for such a gift, or mention of same. The White House inventories were not, at the time, keeping inventories of the President's personal gifts, so no record of the piece is with White House papers. Were these friends potential lobbyists, seeking favor from the new president? The question remains unanswered and part of the historical aura of the piece.

13.75" (35 cm) high, 55.56 ozt.

After its presentation, the whereabouts of the ewer were unknown until the early 20th century. A Mr. Bartlett, Boston attorney turn antiquarian, owned a shop called "Old Russia". Most of its inventory were pieces from the Russian Imperial Court, so it is not known how he obtained the ewer. During the depression, the shop closed. At his death, Mr. Bartlett willed the ewer to Annette Pitts, his nurse. Ultimately, it was purchased from a Boston dealer by a Midwestern family.

Exhibitions and Publications:

On loan to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1969-2006.

Special exhibition at the Smithsonian in connection with the January 1978 inauguration of President Jimmy Carter.

Charles H. Carpenter and Mary Grace Carpenter, Tiffany Silver, 1978: New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., pp 141-142.

Frederick Butzen, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lincoln Inauguration Ewer, Cover and pp 595, Feb. 8, 1980.

Included in the Tiffany & Co. website timeline for 1861: Tiffany & Co. is asked to design a presentation pitcher for the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln.

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Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln

Estimate $300,000 - $400,000
Jun 06, 2009
Starting Price $250,000
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item

0256: Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln

Sold for $210,000
0 Bids
Est. $300,000 - $400,000Starting Price $250,000
Summer Fine and Decorative Art
Sat, Jun 06, 2009 9:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 15%

Lot 0256 Details

Description
...
Tiffany Sterling Ewer Presented to Abraham Lincoln on His First Inauguration from His Washington Friends, sterling with gold wash, in Tiffany's #809 "Etruscan" pattern. The design includes neoclassical motifs, an angular handle with cast mask and Greek key borders along with neo-Grec engraved surfaces, typical of the middle and late 1860s. Marked Tiffany & Co/ 550 Broadway/ English Sterling 925-1000 with mark for J.C. Moore and Son, the ewer was likely the design of son Edward C. Moore. A similar ewer in the "Etruscan" pattern is pictured in Silver in American Life, by Barbara McLean and Gerald W.R. Ward, plate 182.

Engraved on the body under the spout is a depiction of the Great Seal of the United States, replete with 33 stars representing the states in the Union. The engraving was one star short of the actual number of states on March 4, 1861, since Kansas had become the 34th state, admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861. Apparently, the ewer was commissioned between the election of November 1860 and January 1861. Seven states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas—had already seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America by the time of the inauguration on March 4, 1861. In the weeks following Lincoln's inauguration, four more states seceded—Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and on April 12, 1861, a signal round was fired over Fort Sumter, South Carolina, initiating the first battle of the Civil War.

The inscription around the seal reads To the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln from his Washington Friends March 4, 1861.

Who were the "Washington Friends"? They remain undisclosed. Lincoln papers, those housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, show no acknowledgment of gratitude for such a gift, or mention of same. The White House inventories were not, at the time, keeping inventories of the President's personal gifts, so no record of the piece is with White House papers. Were these friends potential lobbyists, seeking favor from the new president? The question remains unanswered and part of the historical aura of the piece.

13.75" (35 cm) high, 55.56 ozt.

After its presentation, the whereabouts of the ewer were unknown until the early 20th century. A Mr. Bartlett, Boston attorney turn antiquarian, owned a shop called "Old Russia". Most of its inventory were pieces from the Russian Imperial Court, so it is not known how he obtained the ewer. During the depression, the shop closed. At his death, Mr. Bartlett willed the ewer to Annette Pitts, his nurse. Ultimately, it was purchased from a Boston dealer by a Midwestern family.

Exhibitions and Publications:

On loan to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1969-2006.

Special exhibition at the Smithsonian in connection with the January 1978 inauguration of President Jimmy Carter.

Charles H. Carpenter and Mary Grace Carpenter, Tiffany Silver, 1978: New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., pp 141-142.

Frederick Butzen, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lincoln Inauguration Ewer, Cover and pp 595, Feb. 8, 1980.

Included in the Tiffany & Co. website timeline for 1861: Tiffany & Co. is asked to design a presentation pitcher for the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln.

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