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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Huge Handled Cup

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Author Topic:   Huge Handled Cup

Posts: 353
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 02-16-2004 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for labarbedor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a real oddity. I thought I would see if anyone has any information not available to me. I bought it over 20 years ago with a lot of New Orleans silver. It is huge 5.5 in. tall, 15+ troy oz. and holds 32 fluid oz. The handle looks 18th century in style and is solid. The bottom is soldered on, with no foot and the solder shows half melted on the inside. I have seen similar solder on pieces by A. Rasch, but usually even less melted. I presume it is some kind of a mug, but the size of the handle makes it rather uncomfortable if it is full. The mug is seamed not raised, and is unmarked. I always hoped I could find an example of the handle or some other characteristic that would suggest a maker, I have never seen anything like it. Have you?

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Bill H

Posts: 31
Registered: Jan 2002

iconnumber posted 02-16-2004 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first reaction is that your cup is Spanish Colonial, from the last half of the 18th century. I have several examples of cups in my collection that have similar construction (i.e. soldered in bottom with seam side under the handle). One is a very similar size and style and one has a cast handle very close in style to yours.

Published examples can be found in "Silberschatze aus Sudamerika" 1700-1900 #s 209, 215, 216 and 224. However, the handle does seem a bit small in relation to the height of the mug. A fine example none the less.

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Posts: 353
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 02-16-2004 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for labarbedor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. My copy of Spanish Colonial Silver shows cups mostly footed and flared. Could you post some pictures. I can't pronounce nor do I have the reference you mentioned.

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Posts: 353
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 02-17-2004 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for labarbedor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Bill is on the right track. There are a few things that are very similar in this piece that he pointed out to me. "Spanish Colonial was made by local craftsman, is rarely marked, is heavy in gauge, simple in workmanship, naive in execution and quite charming". I have had several pieces of Spanish colonial silver, but the shape of this cup has both similarities and differences from the ones I have had or seen. The handle's disproportionate size, and general shape are right as is the huge size of the piece. I always new the pieces pictured were heavy, but I had never realized they are large also. The main differences I see are that it does not have a foot, decoration, or a flared top. While straight (sometimes faceted) side are common, they don't seem to be vertical as on this one.

Of course if this is Spanish Colonial it would explain coming in with a lot of New Orleans silver.

One other question the comes up is:

    What in the world did they drink out of mugs this big?
You certainly don't think of Spanish (or French) as someone who would fill up a mug like this.

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Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-22-2004 07:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
could it have been used for dry ingredients? such as a measure? that way much less stress would be put on the handle.

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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 02-22-2004 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although the size of the handle does seem disproportionate to the body, the bracket at the top looks as if it provides a particularly secure attachment to bear the greater weight of the contents. Nonetheless, I suppose that, since the handle is cast, it is possible that it or the mold for it may have been the only one available to the silversmith at the time the cup was made, or it could have been added later to an original beaker. An interesting piece.

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