SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – An antique, wrought-iron table said to be a Russian czar’s gift to a 19th-century Savannah sea captain is going on the auction block nearly two centuries later.
The Savannah Morning News reported Sunday that bidding for the table will start at $2,500 at the auction next Saturday.
The double-pedestal table came to Georgia’s oldest city aboard the steamship S.S. Savannah when it returned from a voyage to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1819, said William Wade, of Old Savannah Estates, Antiques & Auctions, which is selling the table.
Wade said historic accounts show the table was a gift from Czar Alexander I to the captain of the Savannah, which had made history as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He said the czar hope to sway Capt. Moses Rogers into selling him the ship.
“Capt. Rogers turned him down, but Czar Alexander didn’t give up,” Wade said. “He showered the captain and the ship with gifts, including several pieces of wrought iron from his new foundry.”
When he returned to Savannah, Rogers gave the table and two other pieces of Russian furniture to Sheldon C. Dunning of the Savannah Steamship Co.
One piece was eventually lost. A bench was donated to the Georgia Historical Society. The table was loaned to local museums over the years, but was never donated.
Savannah attorney Richard Metz said no provision for the table was made in the will of its last living owner, so heirs opted to sell it at auction.
Information from: Savannah Morning News http://www.savannahnow.com
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