SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
American Sterling Silver Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  American Sterling Silver
tline3open  Gorham Presidential Silver Coffee and Tea

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Gorham Presidential Silver Coffee and Tea
Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-11-2007 03:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1533]

Brand new to this forum, I can’t find much at all about this Gorham set of “Lincoln silver” anywhere on the internet. A five piece 800 coin silver set by Gorham dating circa 1859 to 1863. Any ideas?

And here is a description from another friend:

quote:

IMPORTANT GORHAM c1859 MRS. ABRAHAM LINCOLN COIN SILVER TEA AND COFFEE SERVICE; GORHAM'S FAMOUS PATTERN NUMBER "30", ILLUSTRATED IN CARPENTER'S "GORHAM SILVER"; MATCHING SET ON DISPLAY IN THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION; ELABORATE SATIN CHASED LEAF AND VINE EMBELLISHED HANDLES AND SPOUTS; COVERED CREAM PITCHER; EXTENSIVE BEADED TRIM; 123 OUNCES

We are exceptionally pleased, near elated, to offer this important mid 19th century Gorham coin silver five piece coffee and tea service.

An identical set was presented to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. While she was First Lady of the United States. That set, which bears the Todd (her maiden name) coat of arms, is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution (See Carpenter page 44).

Each piece masterfully crafted in raised ovoid form.
Sharply tapering to thick, stepped, beaded circular base.
Most unique, banded and bead shoulder. Here, single beads placed at considerable distance from one another.
Raised beaded upper rim.
Richly ornamented handles and spout.
Subtle, intentional design variations among the pieces. Gives the set even more visual and collector appeal.

For example, the waste bowl with curled vine framed, spread satin chased leaf handles. In contrast, the sugar bowl displays similar, though more elaborate handles. Here the leaves are extended and softly curving downward. Terminating in "scroll and bar". Joined to elegant, panel engraved anthemion joins.

Tea and coffee pots with long, sweeping upward spouts. Both chased leaf cap and leaf "surround", curled backward at the tip. Followed by thick, beaded "collar". On quick glance, the design appears as a "barking dog"...or else I'm just listing too much silver and need a vacation.
Remainder of the spout with rough, pebble chased side panels and ruffled leaf mount.
The cream pitcher with covered spout. Quite rare. Equally as ornate, with chased leaf and vine cap and raised "clover" mount below.

Tall, high arched leaf and collar cap and embellished handles. Stylized "arrow head" lower join.
High domed, recessed circular covers. Well fit. Topped with unique bell cap, button and bead form finials. On raised urn pedestal base.

Monogrammed Gothic "CMT".

This rare, c1859 Mrs. Abraham Lincoln Gorham coin silver cream pitcher is 8 inches tall, 5 1/2 handle to spout 15 1/2 ounces.
Waste bowl 6 inches diameter, 5 1/2 tall, 16 1/2 ounces.
The sugar 9 1/2 inches tall, 7 diameter and 25 ounces. Yes, 25 ounces.
The teapot 9 3/4 inches tall, 9 1/2 handle to spout, 33 ounces.
The coffee pot is 10 1/4 inches tall, 9 1/4 handle to spout and weighs 33 ounces.
The entire set crafted of exceptionally thick, heavy guage coin silver. The set weighs 123 ounces. One of the heaviest, most substantial five piece mid 19th century American coin sets we have ever owned.

Each of the five pieces in the set is in excellent condition. Appears little, if ever used. Rich, lustreous silver patina throughout. The extensive leaf and vine embellished spouts and handles retain their original crisp, vibrant hand chased detail. Handles secure. Covers fit snugly. Few tiny pin head size indents. And couple of very shallow pinky size impressions. None of these at all distracting.

Each of the five pieces fully hallmarked under base as shown. Including Gorham's exceptionally early, and famous pattern number "30", "Gorham & Co.", trademark lion, anchor and Gothic "G", and "COIN". This precise hallmark is illustrated in Carpenter page 229, and indicates c1859 crafting.


IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-11-2007 03:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And sorry, I should have added, many thanks!

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-11-2007 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the forum.

Existing SSF members are reluctant to respond until you first do some sharing about yourself and your interests in silver and in particular the items posted. It would be best if you would start by reading Please Read Before You Post at the start of this page and then add the requested information to your posting

SSF is just a small group of people who enjoy discussing silver and it is good form to introduce yourself to the group. Please let us know a little more about your general interest in silver and your interest in learning more about your items.

Are they a part of your personal silver collection or are you researching in hopes of possibly selling it?

Please also post some nice clear photos of the silvers markings. Please don't post bare urls to photos. Please properly sized the images and post using the SSF image tags ( [img] [/img]). Be sure to follow the directions about How to Post Photos. Everything you need to know is explained in this link.

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In fact, if you look on page 56, figures 43-45 of Charles Carpenter's book on Gorham, you will see that a larger and much more elaborate version of this service was indeed presented to Mrs. Lincoln as a personal gift while she was first lady.

The description you posted sounds like a sales pitch, and what it misses (as do so many such descriptions on Ebay and elsewhere)is that the Lincoln set is very different from yours, except that it is the same form. The Lincoln set includes a coffee pot and a tea urn, as well as a tray (the rarest feature in solid silver in the 19th century generally).

Gorham, like all silversmiths of the time, offered a standard line of shapes, of which this was a popular example. Beyond that the sets or individual pieces could be customized according to the taste and pocketbook of the purchaser. Your set was probably the plainest version of the form, ornamented only with the monogram and no extra chasing or engraving beyond what the form itself demanded. The chasing on the Lincoln service would most likely have increased its purchase cost by as much as 75% over a handsome but plain version such as yours.

I hate to shatter the "Road Show" enthusiasm, but I think you need to understand that your service is not made more valuable by the fact that Mary Lincoln was given one of the same form. It is quite nifty to be able to point to the set at the Smithsonian (or in Carpenter's famous book) and say "look, that's the same form as mine," but they are really two entirely different things. Gorham probably made scores of these tea and coffee sets for well-to-do Americans all over the country in the 1850s and 60s. By the way, I am sure it could not be "800"--coin is 900, and the 800 standard was not (to my knowledge) used in this country.

All of this serves as an interesting reminder that Mary Lincoln was, after all, just a middle class housewife, who appreciated Gorham's stylish modern silver;
but she had richer friends.

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BY the way, check out the "Reed and Barton Grecian Tea Sets" below in this forum...you'll see a similar phenomenon by another major manufacturer of the exact same period.

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Mr. Dietz,

Many thanks for your valuable information. In my research, I did find this also about this Gorham set, pattern #30 which all makes sense I guess.

As for rarity, according to author and Silver Magazine contributing editor Samuel J. Hough, who organized the Gorham Archives and has been researching them professionally for twenty years, "Tea Sets and some other standard hollowware items such as pitchers were assigned numbers in a decimal sequence, so the earliest design of a tea set was assigned the number ten, the second twenty, and so forth. During the early years, from 1857 to about 1870, variations within those numbers were available to customers, so for example the #30 design tea set, first made in 1857 and a great success (called the 'Mary Todd Lincoln set' in Carpenter, p. 55, illustrated on p. 56-57), could be had in chased and engraved variants numbered 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35."

Considering that this set was popular, does that mean that such sets are relatively easy to find in the market? I've been searching the internet as best I can (slow ISP speeds here in Bali) and have not been able to find any set like it. Do you have any thoughts on that?

So, in America, if coin silver was 900 in purity as opposed to 800 in purity, then American coin silver is very close to sterling or 925 in purity? Is that correct?

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. Your help is much appreciated.

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nyoman,

My mailbox is filling with warnings from members that you are doing business research and trying get info to improve your sale. Since you have side stepped my earlier post.... here it is again.

quote:
Welcome to the forum.

Existing SSF members are reluctant to respond until you first do some sharing about yourself and your interests in silver and in particular the items posted. It would be best if you would start by reading Please Read Before You Post at the start of this page and then add the requested information to your posting

SSF is just a small group of people who enjoy discussing silver and it is good form to introduce yourself to the group. Please let us know a little more about your general interest in silver and your interest in learning more about your items.

Are they a part of your personal silver collection or are you researching in hopes of possibly selling it?

Please also post some nice clear photos of the silvers markings. Please don't post bare urls to photos. Please properly sized the images and post using the SSF image tags ( [img] [/img]). Be sure to follow the directions about How to Post Photos. Everything you need to know is explained in this link.


IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, but I was thinking of another question I had. You write, “Gorham probably made scores of these tea and coffee sets for well-to-do Americans all over the country in the 1850s and 60s.”

Do the actual production records for Gorham exist somewhere for research? In other words, is it possible to learn exactly how many sets like mine, (or any others for that matter) were made in any given year? And, should this sort of thing, American mid 19th century coin silver, be considered as mass produced or was more individual artistic production involved? I guess I’ll have to Google and find myself a copy of Carpenter’s book! Many thanks again!

As for my interest in early silver, where I live in Bali, and as a Balinese, we have our own long tradition of silver making, but in general most items were made for temple use, as with offering trays, kendi for holy water and such. Silver for personal use, beyond handles for kris or jewelry is very rare. I am often consulted by visiting westerners on aspects of Balinese culture and art, both visual and applied, so I do a fair amount of entertaining of westerners in my compound here in Ubud. As my education and interest is primarily with antique documentations of our culture, I simply was more attracted to older silver as opposed to what I can find shopping in Jakarta or Singapore. I was told I should explain that so my motives for posting on this forum are better understood.

Many thanks again and kind regards, Nyoman

Mr. Martin, my family does have a very well known gallery in Ubud, but I assure you that we do not sell western silver in any forms and my own interests here are purely from a collector’s or personal use interest.


IP: Logged

ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-13-2007 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing photos of your lovely tea and coffee set. Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president of the United States during the 19th century and certainly ranks in the top three of any U.S. President. It is the custom in the U.S. for manufacturing companies to present items to our president or their spouses to obtain notice with the public of their wares. Normally the items presented are attractive well designed items that the company hopes will sell well with the general public. Your tea and coffee set is certainly such an example and it is a real bonus that it is associated with the Lincoln time period.

In my opinion Gorham was always one of the best designers of silver in the United States and for certain periods of its existence rated at the top. But even the best must advertise and Gorham was no exception. Gorham's company also was very innovative in how to adapt products for the general public. Your tea and coffee set has an interesting story to tell.

I would love to see examples of silver made in Bali. I might also add that two of our favorite waiters at one of our local restaurants just returned to Bali. Bali is their homeland and I am happy for them, but do miss their charm and interesting stories.

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 04:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you “ahwt” for your very kind post. It was the most welcoming post I’ve read in response to my inquiry. For me to share examples of Balinese silver on this board, I think I will need the permission from Mr. Martin, as truthfully, such examples from our private collection would be like those that we offer for sale commercially in my family gallery here, and on the internet. I do not want to violate the rules.

Having being away from Bali for a few years at various times in my past, I can understand the longing those waiters felt to return home, and the joy they experienced once their feet hit Balinese soil, and their head breathed Balinese air. One of my closest cousins is now in Chicago on a full fellowship for his doctorate degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois. He writes me daily complaining how cold he is, and all I can say is the truth...“buy more coats and scarves Wayan, as the worst is yet to come.” He appreciates his opportunity very, very much, and he will never give up, even if he comes home as a frozen snow man! It is hard to be away from home, most especially when you are away from home as far as you could possibly be while still here on planet earth. But, he is young, strong, intellectual, exuberant, and unwilling to abdicate the gifts presented to him by the powers that all Balinese embrace.

I’m happy to read that these Balinese who you became able to know touched you and left you with a positive impression of our culture and life. Here in Bali, the Balinese love to share their culture and way of life with anyone who wishes to learn. But, for those few truly brave men and woman who venture out of Bali, and present themselves as envoys to other cultures, well, all I can say is that for them, I have the greatest respect and admiration.

It may surprise you, but even at the public school education level, American history is taught here, and comprehensively I might add. For Americans who don’t remember the cold war, or the Vietnam War, it was Indonesia that was America’s most staunch anti-communist ally in all of Asia, or SE Asia during that time. In earlier years, when it came time for us to be independent, right after the closing of WWII, it was America who supported us the most in the newly formed United Nations. We never seem to forget our past too much, and that might be because for our way of life, time is seemingly unmeasured, and bonds are honored and respected.

Two of the three greatest American Presidents...those who defined democracy, or defended it, are easy for me...Washington, and Lincoln. I am rusty on who should be the third, so help me out. I would guess that to be FDR, but please tell me if I am wrong.

Back to this coffee/tea service, I freely admit that its association to such a great defender of democracy, Abraham Lincoln, played an important role in my decision to buy this particular service as opposed to others available. Yes, I understand that Mary Todd Lincoln, who was likely raised in a similar humble environment as myself, did not personally chose, or pick out this service. None the less, there it was, in the White House, and perhaps used daily all the while her husband (and her) struggled to keep the fracturing, and still young democracy of the US together and intact. No doubt, every time I serve coffee or tea from this service to my guests, western or Asian, I will always have this thought in mind.

Various cultures have various unique responses to the artistic creations of otherwise disparate cultures. I personally think that is normal and to be expected. When language fails us as a venue of communication, it is always our artistic endeavors that create the initial bonds.

I sound like I am lecturing, and I apologize. Once again, my many humble thanks to all who have taken your time to respond. Kind regards, Nyoman

IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Nyoman and welcome to the forum.

I think what put most people off was the first impression that was made in the way you were describing your set. Your post is worded like a high pressure sales pitch rather than a simple request to talk with the good people on the forum about an interesting example of Gorham silver. This forum is not like most other forums - it is simply a place where people who enjoy looking at, discussing, and learning about old silver get together. Think of it as being invited into Scott and June's home for afternoon tea and crumpets and the topic of discussion is old silver. Things like not introducing yourself, appearing to be doing pre-sales research or seeking appraisals, and similar activities are not good form and they tend to put us off.

You sound as if you have some interesting silver in your personal collection and I am sure you must have some wonderful knowledge and expertise on silver from your part of the world that you can share with people here on the forum.

I hope we can start over and that you will be a regular visitor and contributor to the forum if discussing silver for the interest in silver is something you would find interesting. The people here really are very nice and helpful and include some of the most knowledgable experts in the world.

I think your set is very nice and I would like to see a closeup of the old Gorham markings if you could please post a photo or two.

As to your question as to whether it is mass produced, the answer is yes it was - but the way things were 'mass produced' in the 19th century is not the same as the 20th or 21st centuries. There was more handfinishing at that point. Also, for more costly things like silver coffee sets mass production does not mean that millions of them were made.

As to whether this set can be considered as having a direct link to the set that was given to Mrs. Lincoln the answer is not really - other than it is of the same general pattern. As AHWT described, giving gifts to a President and his wife has been a long-time practice in the US by companies that seek free advertising by being able to announce to the public that the President or his wife have the same thing. It is a practice still done today. What a company gives to a President or his wife is typically a highly ornate and embellished version of what the company is mass marketing to the public and most of the time the objects are never used in the White House since so many companies give so many things.

All of that aside, I think you have a very nice set made by a high quality manufacturer that anyone would be proud to own and use.

Kimo

IP: Logged

ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your comments and the explanation of some of the interesting history of your country. We came to the same conclusion as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were the presidents that I was thinking of. GW happens to be my favorite of the three, but that may simply be based on feelings formed while I was growing up going to George Washington birthday parties. I am really not that old to have gone to a real party for George, but it was very common in the 1940s and early 50s to simply celebrate his birthday with a community get-together. Stories would be told of his life and we all learned of his contribution to the formation of the United States.

Chicago is a great city to do antiquing for silver and most other items. I hope your cousin had the time and the inclination to explore that city, if not for antiques then for all the other exciting things that it has to offer. He or she will have many interesting and exciting stories to take home to remember and to tell to others.

Your cousin may also enjoy the movie Song Catchers as it tells the story of finding old English and Scottish ballads in the hills of the Appalachians that had been preserved for generations.

Enjoy telling your stories of your beautiful tea set.

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK Komo, now I understand. That first post was not my writing. See where I wrote, “And here is a description from another friend”: What follows that is the friend/dealer’s description of the set, not my writing, so I am very sorry for the confusion I caused. I feel terrible that it was taken as bad manners on my part. We Asians tend to take good manners very seriously and loss of face is humiliating. I just felt it was better to simply copy what that person had written about it, which is as you say, a sales presentation. By the way, this very same thing I also did on my post about the George III silver coffee pot.

I will try to post a photo of the Gorham markings on this set. I’ve read the instructions about how to do that, so I should be able to do it without a problem. I can tell you that it is identical to the marking illustrated on page 229 of Carpenter’s book, or so I was told, as I don’t have that book yet.

Many thanks for your explanation about the process of Presidential gifts. That makes a lot of sense. I am still wondering though if there are any actual production records for the Gorham firm. Does anyone know if such records exist?

Yes, I can post some Balinese silver pieces here. I will work on that and get some pieces posted as I can. I will only show pieces that were made for local use and not as commercial export commodity.

Ahwt, also many thanks to you for your additional insight. For most Indonesians it would be FDR who is the most popular as he led the war against Japan which occupied most of Indonesia from early in 1942 until the end of WWII. That was a very dark time for all the world. Bali was very important for the Japanese as a major source of rice for their troops. Most of our history from that time is not known and our elders are very reluctant to speak of any dark times as it brings back demons in their mind which then need to be purified by a priest and cast out again. For us, it is most important to maintain balance and harmony so we have a tendency to try to forget about bad things from the past. Even within myself I sometimes struggle with that aspect of my culture and the fear of by not remembering history, risking its repetition.

Many thanks again, and once again my humble apologies for the confusion I caused. Kind regards from Ubud where it is a beautiful Thursday morning with sunny sky and a nice breeze.


IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, and I hope this works, here are some additional photos, including one of the marks as they appear on all five pieces of this set, (on the underneath of the bottoms of course).

I will keep this image up on this site for future recall. That makes sense as well and possibly contributes to the informative aspect of this forum.

I’m am going to go and correct my errors on the George III coffee pot posting I made as well. I hope these additional photos are helpful, and my most pressing question is, how often has anyone come across this pattern number 30 set?

Many thanks again, and kind regards, Nyoman

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Adeu! I am really sorry Mr. Martin. I didn’t mean any extra work for you, but I followed the instructions and I tried my best! Sorry, ma’af!

IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Selamat pagi, Pak Nyoman!

It was just a simple confusion that is all too easy to do on the internet where people are not able to meet each other as in real life. I read a study done at the University of California that says communication is 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by nonverbal communication such as facial expression, hand gestures, and body language. It is a wonder that we are able to communicate at all on the internet where we have only words.

I do look forward to learning from you about Indonesian silver, and other silver from your part of the world. I have visited Jarkarta only a few times in my life and was never fortunate enough to have had the chance to see much locally made silver there or in other parts of the country.

Kimo

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-14-2007 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimo, I had a very good laugh reading your post, and that laugh was not at your expense, but was tied into exactly what you had just written about communication. You see, the fact is, I am a woman, Ibu Nyoman, and not Pak (or Mr. Nyoman). Nyoman is a generic and non gender name that only indicates the order of birth amongst the “normal” cast of Balinese. In my case, it’s third born. Before my birth order are the common names Wayan, (first) Made, (second, and pronounced Ma Day) and following me (Nyoman) is Ketut. The process of names follows the same order if a family has more than four children, meaning that the fifth child would again be Wayan, and so forth. Added to that is a myriad of what you may call “nick names” that for us makes it clear that Wayan number one is not Wayan number five. “Ibu” means that I am a mature woman, grown up, married, and with children. My husband is from New York, so that accounts for my use of terms like “getting rusty” or funny terms like that. English is only my third language, but I studied it well, and my husband is a very good writer, so I emulate his style and phrasing a lot.

For gender indications, these same names start with either Ni (female, and pronounced “knee”) or I (pronounced “ee”) for male. Our third name is given, usually by a close family member at our birth. For me, that is Eri, and so my complete name is Ni (woman, girl) Nyoman (third born) Eri (given me by my uncle). It gets far more confusing for higher caste names, but I don’t think this is the forum to discuss that. I understand the purpose and interest in this forum, which is silver, and I do want to follow the rules and not make mistakes, or upset anyone.

Please take no embarrassment with this confusion, and I assuredly will not either. There is already too much of that, for which I am responsible and remain very sorry.

What I need now is to lean how to post photographs here. Computer technology and access to the internet...the world for sure, is relatively new here in Bali. I am the only Balinese in my entire village with at home internet access, and that is because of my husband. For me personally, it offers an incredible and amazing connection to information, people, places...where to stop? For the West, and other more developed parts of Asia, (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore) this is normal and every day taken as for granted. For me, and for certain most all other Balinese, this is all new, and also, very exciting.

Very much I appreciate the patience shown to me here, and also the understanding that I am very new to forums, and regarding silver, I am a new born baby. Aside from my own cultural silver made items, I have no knowledge of what western silver is all about, how it was made, why it was made, or anything excepting what I can find on the internet. I only know that I find much of it to be artistic, pleasing to my eye, and indicative of other noble cultures. I am also very well aware that as precious metal, it has a world wide ready market, so there is always a bottom that is more than zero.

My husband gives me his advice, but he also insists that I be independent and learn in my own way, and on my own. He will never let me fall too far, he is always there for me, and I know I can always rely on him. For me, that is luck. It is my kharma.

Pak Martin, or Mr. Steve, who here we would actually call Pak Steve (our preferring the first name) is as I surmise, the “boss.” He is the “forum master.” It is up to him how things go for me on this forum. My intentions are to continue to purchase both American and English antique silver as I really enjoy this artistic expression and with each piece there is a history, or a story. For me, I would love to learn what collectors that are predominantly western have to say about particular pieces that I may well have an entirely different outlook.

I would love to learn much more about the “why” of the appeal of one piece over another. I understand much of this is subjective, beauty being in the eyes of the beholder, but there are reasons why certain pieces transcend nationalistic tastes and take on the appeal of global tastes. For me, I would love to explore these aspects too, but I fully understand that I am new, “unproven” and a “rookie.” I have no problem accepting that self admitted reality. But, what I really look forward to on this forum is good advice...good and heart felt advise, without pretense or hidden agenda that the regular experts here would share with a beginning collector, as that is what I am. Kind regards, Nyoman

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-15-2007 08:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nyoman,

It appears that your selected (not recommended) photo service provider villagephotos.com servers are not serving up the photos. At lest not yesterday nor this morning. The server is pingable and the routing can be successfully traced. Pinging and tracing is the first step to technically figure out why we can't see your photos. With some reading between the lines we can speculate that since the villagephotos.com servers are online and reachable then it is most likely a software issue which villagephotos.com has to first resolve.

Our advice is for you to use Photobucket. Once your photos are accessible we will be able to better provide you with more suggestions.

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-15-2007 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that your image host's server is back and serving up the images.....
You did the first image post correctly except for the last image tag should have looked like [/img] (you had [img] ). I corrected your post and deleted the extra image posting attempts.

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-15-2007 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Mr. Martin, it does seem to be working fine now. Now I'll check the George III coffee pot see if I can fix that.

Your help and patience with me is appreciated very much! Kind regards, Nyoman

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-18-2007 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that we seem to be working through the global cultural differences, I thought I might respond to a question that was raised by Nyoman...The US seems never to have adopted a lower silver standard such as 800...but to have held to the 900 Coin standard as its minimum purity for silver. That the US never went for an 800 standard probably has something to do with our strong cultural links to England and its centuries-old sterling standard. However, by the time the "Mary Lincoln" form is produced, coin is already going out of fashion in favor of English Sterling (i.e. 925) standard. Firms such as Gorham and Tiffany & Co. launched sterling as "the" standard through clever marketing in the 1850s. But coin (900) was a widely accepted standard and lingered, especially for middle-class consumers of silver, well into the sterling period.

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-18-2007 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Mr. Dietz,

Many thanks again for taking the time from your busy work to respond. I thought that the #30 design tea and coffee set was first introduced by Gorham in the year 1857 and that it was only the third set design in the sequence of the company’s history. I also read that it wasn’t until 1 May of 1868 that Gorham adopted the English sterling standard of .925%.

The famous Mary Todd Lincoln set was made of coin silver, so my confusion is that a Presidential set would be associated with middle class consumers of silver. American coin silver, (900/1,000) only had 2.8% less silver than sterling, (925/1,000), which seems almost insignificant.

I still continue to be frustrated in finding any other set like my set. I have spent hours researching, pouring over auction records, and writing letters. I received a reply from one person who wrote,

“This is a lovely set, but it is not rare, the mark on yours was used as late as 1865. Another Gorham & Company set identical to yours sold back in January at the Phoebus Auction Gallery for $X. So what you paid is very close to the low retail value for this set. That being said, a lot depends on the demand in your area for such an item.”
-edited by me to remove dollar figure.

I was able to find that set, and it was indeed sold as lot #24 in the January 1, 2007 sale as mentioned by this person. However, that set is not an identical set to mine, rather, it is the same exact set! The very same Gothic three letter monogram, “C M T” is present and clearly visible on the enlarged photo of one of the pots from the auctioneer’s web site.

So, I am back to where I started. It is difficult for me to imagine that if this Gorham set was so popular and therefore not rare, surely I would be able to find another identical example of this set somewhere, or at least I would think so.

There are a great number of experts on this forum with many years of experience and I am grateful to be able to participate on this forum. With this vast experience in my mind, I can only think to ask has anyone ever seen another set identical to our set? Or, could it be possible that the opinions I keep hearing that this set is not rare or not uncommon is more based on a perception derived from Carpenter’s book, where he maintains that this set was popular? I don’t know, I’m just speculating here.

For certain, I do not believe that my set is unique, but it is becoming increasingly evident to me that significant numbers of other examples of my set are not floating around out there in dealer’s inventories, nor have they been frequently sold by auction houses.

My intention is to continue to research this set only for my own education, and the pure enjoyment of doing research. I’m thinking that my next step will be to write to various US museums with good American decorative arts collections and see what I may find that way.

Mr. Dietz, my hopes are that you might have some excellent advice about this idea.

My husband was chuckling as he read my draft for this post and told me, “darling, tell them you’re actually from Missouri and that might help. It’s called the “show me” state." smile

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 05:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a quick follow-up to this string, I guess all I can say is “most interesting.” In discussions with the dealer who sold me this set, a collector for some 30 years, his response was, “the set is very rare, despite Carpenter's noting of it being off the shelf...Remember, so much silver was melted during the various wars and recessions. I have never seen this pattern before, or since.”

As this string continues on without a simple request to find just one other set identical to my set, what other conclusion should I logically embrace aside from that dealer?


IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 06:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In all truth and reality, if there was something I asked, or said in the past on this string that is worthy of repeating, it would be this:

"There are a great number of experts on this forum with many years of experience and I am grateful to be able to participate on this forum. With this vast experience in my mind, I can only think to ask has anyone ever seen another set identical to my set? Or, could it be possible that the opinions I keep hearing that this set is not rare or not uncommon is more based on a perception derived from Carpenter's book, where he maintains that this set was popular? I don't know, I'm just speculating here."

I'm sorry, but it seems clear to me that if indeed this set is common, or not rare, then it is only obvious that one just like it would be relatively easy to refer to. Wouldn't you think the same thing?


IP: Logged

FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part of the problem may be just that teasets were so often broken up. Perhaps through inheritance, with different pieces going to different heirs, or through a need or desire to get rid of less-used pieces (waste bowls are particularly commonly seen alone), or for other reasons perhaps. Today one sees regularly one or two pieces of a set, less often the full sets.

Then add in the silver market of the 1980s, in which teasets in particular fell prey to being sold off as scrap -- large, heavy, and for most people seldom used, they were an easy source of a good chunk of money. They were always susceptible to scrapping, but when the Hunt brothers drove the market crazy I believe many more were destroyed.

Personally, I can't tell you with certainty that I've seen a piece of this design before -- but I can't tell you I haven't, either. And I imagine many others are in the same boat.

IP: Logged

wev
Moderator

Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The apparent rarity of an item can be very deceptive, even to someone with a good deal of knowledge in a given field. As an example, I occasionally assist a well-respected antiquarian book dealer with research. He recently got with an early California family that is in all the standard references of important Californiana titles. He had never handled another copy, he found, using the web, no auction records for it, none offered for sale, and only one recorded copy in an institutional collection. He decided, based on that, that the copy was a very rare puppy, but asked me and another collector to see what we could discover. After a day of phone calls and emails, we came up with 6 other copies in public and institutional libraries (they were either misidentified, poorly cataloged, or simply had not been entered into any online database), 18 copies in private collections, and 3 copies for sale by dealers who did not have web-based sales. In the end, a book that appeared rare was not, rather just hard to find without the benefit of personal acquaintances.

Your set, by its nature, may be a good deal harder to suss out. It was not a made-to-order set; it was a stock design that could be bought complete or by the piece and apparently stayed in production for years. For a long time after that, it would not have appealed, quite frankly, to a collector -- again, it was a standard item of standard quality in a style that had fallen from fashion. As FWG points out, time may have taken its tole and such sets have been scattered -- I have seen a variety of odd pieces from this series over the years -- or scrapped altogether. Rarity of this nature does not denote importance, rather the opposite. Then again, there is an equally good chance that any number of these sets are sitting, proudly displayed in quiet anonymity, on the sideboard of a descendant. Short of going door to door, you'll never know.

All of which, of course, has nothing at all to do with the aesthetic appeal of the set in your eyes. That is purely a matter of personal taste; speaking for myself, I wouldn't give it a second glance.

IP: Logged

adelapt

Posts: 418
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for adelapt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an "outsider" (of the U.S.A.) I would have to say to WEV - "ouch!".

As someone who looks at and enjoys this sort of stuff generally, my impression is that it's a neat, complete (did it ever have a tray - one would suspect so) - and fine condition set. It's also apparent that to readily replace it would be a big ask.

So even allowing for a bit of "over egging of the pudding" by the vendor I'd say to the owner "It's fine, enjoy it".

IP: Logged

Nyoman

Posts: 69
Registered: Nov 2007

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nyoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FWG, you make a great deal of sense to me with your comments. Am I right that back when those brothers, the Hunts (from Texas?) tried to control the silver market, the bullion price per troy ounce got up to around $50 or so? I was very young back then, and I don’t remember that at all, but the points you make seems very reasonable.

I understand that we are not to discuss values and prices here on this forum, but I wonder what most of you think about current market values for a precious metal like silver and the effect that market has on antique silver. I hope that it is permissible to discuss that topic, if only in theoretical terms.

It’s quite alright wev that you wouldn’t give this set a “second glance.” To be honest, it was the simplicity of design and restraint of elaboration that attracted me the most to this set. Our own silver here in Bali tends to be very elaborate, so this set is for me a testament to how beautiful an object can be when viewed mainly as form and not decoration.

Adelapt, many thanks for your encouraging words. I have no idea if it ever had a silver tray, but I can see why this would be expected. We used it for the first time two nights ago to serve coffee to overnight guests from Australia, and we set it on a very old inlaid teak tray from Madura. The contrast of the silver on the dark wood patina of the tray was very pleasing and we received a lot of compliments. I suppose the lyrics to an old song, “you’ve got to please yourself” are most appropriate here, and my husband and I are indeed very pleased with this set.

Once again, my humble thanks to all of you who took the time to share your views on this topic. It’s almost ironic that I write that whilst my husband has our Thanksgiving turkey in the oven. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and trust me, you needn’t be an American to enjoy this wonderful holiday.

IP: Logged

jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Nyoman!

So pleased to have you on board. Can't wait for more info from you to expand my limited knowledge.

Buy what you love. That's why there are so many different collectors of period, style etc. I have gone from simplistic to ornate to aesthetic.....whatever moves me for the day, & pleases my heart.

Gas, Copper, Gold, Oil, Meat, Dairy etc. have risen over the past year.......why not silver. I Don't like it financially speaking, but if you want it you have to pay the piper if you can afford it, (whoever he/she) is.

Your husband seems to be a very wise man......as we say here "He's a keeper"!

My best to you & your family on this most wonderful of days......to give thanks to just having them around.

My turkey will be in the oven early tomorrow.....I look foward to next year when our family (hopefully) will welcome a new addition to the table, with special silver to feed him/her with.

Stay safe & enjoy the day!
Jersey

IP: Logged

wev
Moderator

Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 11:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:

That is purely a matter of personal taste; speaking for myself, I wouldn't give it a second glance.

adelapt, please read the above carefully. While I am fully capable of appreciating the set's form and place in the continuum of American design, my aesthetic senses are also quite prepared to yawn. To each their own.

IP: Logged

adelapt

Posts: 418
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-21-2007 11:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for adelapt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No argument with that at all WEV. Amen!

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-27-2007 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And here is part of a set by Gorham, dated by its mark to 1863-65 (pretty precise). Right in the middle of the Civil War, when, bizarrely, silver consumption in the US (the North anyway) TRIPLED. Anyway, neither COIN nor STERLING are used on this set, which we presume to be sterling. I have never seen this form elsewhere, and therefore it is "rare." Pretty spiffy, too, even to the point of over the top. Definitely nouveau riche Civil War money, to this curator's eye. This cannot have been the only one of these made (the L monogram was added in the 1940s by the self-made immigrant couple in NJ who bought it at an estate sale--another great story). Yet no one in the curatorial field I know has ever seen this model. This merely means that people in the years from 1900-1950 destroyed most of the extant versions. Some day that fact might make this "rare" coffee and tea set valuable. But for now, it is still among the most accessible (i.e. affordable) kinds of silver.



IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-28-2007 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Nyoman:
. . . Am I right that back when those brothers, the Hunts (from Texas?) tried to control the silver market, the bullion price per troy ounce got up to around $50 or so? . . .

I understand that we are not to discuss values and prices here on this forum, but I wonder what most of you think about current market values for a precious metal like silver and the effect that market has on antique silver. . . .


Bunker Hunt was a Texas oil billionaire who manipulated the price of silver through buying huge amounts of silver futures contracts, then suddenly demanding actual delivery of the silver they represented. Of course there was not enough raw silver in the marketplace to fill all of those futures contracts so the price climbed rapidly and peaked in January, 1980 at a bit over $50 an ounce. The U.S. government then stepped in and changed the rules of how the futures markets worked and instantly Mr. Hunt's attempt to corner the silver market fell apart and the price of silver dropped like a rock and bottomed out in the early 1990s at around $3.60 an ounce. When the price of silver was climbing to such record heights, some people - not all - started to sell some of their silverware as scrap metal to dealers since it became worth more as raw silver than as a collectable. Some of these things were melted down, but many of them were not. Most scrap silver dealers had arrangements with collectors and antique silver dealers for those experts to look through the things that were sold as scrap and these antiques dealers and collectors would pay the scrap dealers up to double the scrap metal price for the nicer or rarer objects. While some rare and beautiful objects were melted down in those days, I do not agree that all that many rare and beautiful silver objects were actually destroyed - the common ones and the damaged ones, yes, but not that many of the good ones.

Except for that one historical moment, the price of silver has not been very high and I tend to think of it more as a semi-precious metal rather than a precious metal. To my thinking precious metals are ones more along the lines of gold and platinum. I believe that the value of objects made of silver is not so much the metal content, but rather their artistic qualities since the majority of smiths over the centuries have used silver for their better quality but relatively affordable works.

As for the effect of the price of silver on the antique silver market I think that the connection is there but it is somewhat indirect and not entirely in sync. For example, with the increase in silver bullion prices in recent years, there seems to be a move by some people to buy very common flatware patterns or hard to sell holloware objects (tea and coffee sets are the hardest kinds of holloware to sell) for their going prices when those going prices are less than the scrap value of the silver. They then sell these things to scrap silver dealers for a profit and the objects are melted into ingots and sold on the raw silver market. My point is that the price of silver these days has now gone beyond what buyers are willing to pay for common or less desireable old silver. The prices of antiques made of silver and of silver bullion are not tightly tied. To the extent there is a link, it tends to be at the bottom end where the silver bullion and the price of the antique silver object approach unity - but even there it is not a lock step relationship.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 11-28-2007).]

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-28-2007 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, as a curator and a collector, I like to see silver bullion low low low. The desire to melt disappears for all but the worst stuff. In the Hunt frenzy, my sense is that a lot of fine, important stuff got melted. Certainly, however, a lot of previously ignored stuff also got put up at auction, to cash in on the record prices for bullion.

The recent skyrocketing prices for gold have me worried, because the temptation to melt gold objects will reappear.

IP: Logged

21Kimball

Posts: 34
Registered: Apr 2007

iconnumber posted 01-26-2008 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 21Kimball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nyoman,

A set sold recently on an online auction by a dealer in New Jersey USA as featured on that Big Online Auction Site. I'll forego noting the price except to say it was substantial. Because I'm interested in mid 19th century classical silver I've been downloading the pictures off that site for some time, assigning file numbers starting with the date so that the entire folder is in chronological order. Here's the picture of the set similar to yours:

According to Margaret Klapther in Official White House China: 1789 to the Present, Mary Lincoln's table setting expenditures during her husband's presidency were so lavish as to raise questions of fraud surrounding her purchase of a French china service in "Solferino" purple and gold. I'd have to consider her Gorham tea set as top of the line.

Lastly, the covered cream pitcher in your set may be for hot milk. I've seen other sets from this period with similar covered pitchers. This may represent a carryover from French cafe au lait services.

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a


1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.


| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2019 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices