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tline3open  A Teutonic Extravaganza

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Author Topic:   A Teutonic Extravaganza
cyberdober
unregistered
iconnumber posted 03-26-2002 12:57 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My brother, who haunts gun shows, found a formidible Gorham "trophy" or award piece, dated 1895, with stags or elks leaping out either side of the cup. On the bottom is the numeral 30, under that the Gorham silvermark, and under that Starr&Marcus. My German friends said the elegantly rendered German inscription on the side reads like the whacky product of an immaginative three-year-old non-German, and added that I'd better refrain from presenting it at The Antiques Roadshow, lest everybody double up with laughter. Undaunted, I present it to you. What does the 30 represent, how come the Starr&Marcus? Etc. Much appreciation for any information. Donna Martin

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-26-2002 01:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Donna. Well it sounds like your brother made a nice find! Perhaps I should start

I hope the following information helps:

Starr and Marcus retailed the piece. Based in New York City, they sold other manufacturers' silver from 1867 to 1877, according to Rainwater's 4th edition. So the 1895 inscription obviously postdates the piece's actual date of manufacture.

I would think a better piece like that would probably have a Gorham date mark, which Gorham began using in 1868 (so if the piece was made in 1867, there would be no mark). Look on the underside for a letter--A represents 1868, B = 1869, etc.

The "30" present on the piece is the model number. It is possible that a record exists in the Gorham Archives indicating how long it took to make, what processes went into making it, how much it cost to make, etc.

Again, it sounds like a really cool piece--we'd love to see pictures if possible.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 03-26-2002).]

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cyberdober@aol.com
unregistered
iconnumber posted 03-27-2002 04:19 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul, I have tried to email you re Teutonic Extravaganza but my emails keep coming back. Your response was terrific. We are trying to get a good digital picture of our "trophy" and will send it asap. In the meantime, many thanks! Donna Martin

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-27-2002 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Donna--I no longer use that email address (but I'm not sure if there's a way to update my profile here to show my new address). As a result, I can't receive messages in that account because of the several hundred spam items cluttering it up. Even after clearing out a bit, your messages didn't turn up. But if you email me at <lemieuxp@bc.edu>, I will attend to the photos right away.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 03-27-2002).]

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 01:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are the images Donna sent me of her brother's wonderful Gorham cup. It looks to date from the mid- to late 1860s.


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June Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 1223
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! What a fabulous trophy! It's enough to make you start thinking about checking out gun shows. That's the fun of it all. You never know where you will find your next treasure.

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A beautiful trophy both in the sense of its own time (richness) and of today's (simple lines at least for the main body.
I am puzzled though by your comment about its inscription "...reads like the whacky product of an immaginative three-year-old non-German...". It would be indeed puzzling if whoever funded this not at all cheap piece originally, let it be deprecated with a nonsensical inscription.

Could you please post the inscription to allow us to either redeem its originator(s) or to join your friends rolling on the floor laughing??

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Cyberdober
unregistered
iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 05:02 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your interest. The inscription is on one side and on declining lines. I'll put an "/" when the next line begins: "Ehrengabe/ des Independent/ Germania Schutzen/ Corps/ fur das Nationale Bundes/ Schutzenfest 1895"

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a small cup with the word "Schutzenfest" on it as well, and I did learn that it refers to a shooting tournament. So it must have been given as a prize in a shooting tournament in 1895. There must be an interesting story about how a fine 1860s Gorham cup came to be given as a marksmanship prize some 30 years later. I also wonder where the cup was given as a prize--in Germany, or in the states by perhaps a German organization.

Donna emailed me stating the cup is 10" high; she also had the following description of some additional marks:

quote:
The additional marks which are almost invisible are 704 19/7 A.T.I.A. BENEATH WHICH ARE TWO DELTAS (TRIANGLES) ON TOP OF EACH OTHER, UNDER THAT something that looks like WSA, UNDER THAT 6500.

I would bet that these marks are hand scratched and some of them probably refer to the piece's factory price; the "19/7" may be the weight--19 ounces, 7 dwt. Perhaps the marks also include the initials of whoever engraved the piece.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 04-01-2002).]

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that's a nice concise inscription. Nothing to laugh at - the language could be just as well mid-20th as late-19th century.
The inscription documents the donor and event - not the recipient and whatever it was awarded for.
I.e. the 'Ind. Germania ...Corps' donated it for THE 'federal' target shooting meet of 1895. As to Paul L.'s questions,
there is no doubt in my mind that the donor was a 'german' rifle club in some american city. (That was before the Kaiser and Adolf H. made 'german' a bad word in America!). And I expect it was a meet of an association of american based clubs: the simplicity of the language, no reference to 'reich' or the like; plus the cup is here!
As for the cup's age at the time it was donated, well they didn't have to worry about the winner finding out through the internet that the thing hadn't left the factory the week before.
Cyberdober: Have you checked whether the inscription might be replacing an earlier one at the same or other location?? These are fascinating objects!


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Cyberdober
unregistered
iconnumber posted 04-01-2002 10:42 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We also agree re donor and event. On closer inspection, there is no sign of previous inscriptions that my Carl Zeiss Jena can pick up. However, we did find some inconspicuous anomalies--small repeated dots on one ear, etc., that could conclusively prove ownership should that be necessary. The piece arrived, blackened, looking like it had been scoured with a brillo pad. I apologize for our photos. Much of the refined patterning isn't evident. The puzzle remains. How did such a lovely piece, many years later, become an award for what looks like a rather minor, obscure event??

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-02-2002 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi all,

To add a bit, "Ehrengabe" means roughly "Honorary Gift". I would agree with Arg(um)entum that the cup was an award for the National Schutzen Fest donated by some American-based club. Cyberdober is right, the language in very Americanized. Indpendent is not a German word, and a German would not use "Germania".

This is not the first piece of Gorham holloware from this time period that I have found with a German inscription. Perhaps Gorham targeted the German-American market?

As for the trophy, you can find silver trophies of high quality given for seemingly the most mundane events. I have a very fine Currier & Roby sterling trophy mug from a Country Club bowling tournament! It is also not uncommon to find pieces with later inscriptions. Some items were "recycled", with old engravings removed and replaced. Other pieces were "dead stock", remaining unsold for years. If this was the case, I bet the donors got a really good deal on this piece!

I hope this helps a bit!

Brent

[This message has been edited by Brent (edited 04-02-2002).]

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 04-02-2002 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"... minor and obscure" that's in the eye of today's beholder. Schuetzengesellscaften were important social institutions (not mere sport) in Germany and evidently reincarnated by immigrants here.
When you consider that at the turn of the century germans made up a substantial part of the population here, the annual national 'Schuetzenfest' was not a negligible event.

Brent is right that 'independent' is not a german word - it was that age's choice as approximation for the historically frequently used term 'Freischuetzen' or 'Freie' Schuetzenverein the use of which goes back to around the 17th century. 'Germania' as part of an organization's name has been common in Germany since at least the last third of the 19thC and is still used today .
What is americanized about this inscription is its simplicity.

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cyberdober@aol.com
unregistered
iconnumber posted 05-06-2002 01:44 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have had the extraordinary good fortune to get more news about my "cup" from the horse's mouth, which is to say, the Gorham Guru, aka The Owl, at Owlbridge (whose definitive book on Gorham is awaited, breathlessly, by silver mavens, worldwide). This "trophy", called in earlier days a "loving cup", began its life in 1863 as a "celery cup," which was a must-have item in any chic 1860's,1870's household. Gorham produced other celery cup models, some quite wonderful, but none so persuasive as model #30. More than thirty years passed before the cup and its grand stag adornments became an award in a national, German-American rifle competition. Since the merchandizers, Starr&Marcus, retailers of Gorham silver pieces, were based in New York, it is likely that the New York Landmark German-American Shooting Society, sponsors of 24 shooting companies, may well have been the donor of this piece. My great thanks and appreciation to Paul, June, Brent and Arg(um)entum, and The Owl, of course, for sharing their expertise with this somewhat tarnished neophyte. Donna Martin

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