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Author Topic:   Little treasures
ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-04-2004 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have fond memories of this cup, not because I know much about the original owner, but because of an antique store in the central west end of St. Louis where we purchased it in the early 1970s. Scottie Draper, the owner of this shop, always welcomed us and our children, and many a diaper of our children were changed in her back room. Tom, her friend, would entertain our children (and the adults also) with a mechanical monkey making the whole day out a happy and enjoyable time even if we did not find some little treasure. We were very fortunate however, that Scottie usually had some little treasure to buy as she was an astute buyer. This cup, to me, is a little treasure as one can imagine the big smile “Auntie Bell” must have had when she gave this cup to her namesake. (The font size on “Auntie Bell” is slightly larger the other the engraving and I must believe that that also gave her considerable pleasure) At the time, I mistakenly thought that cups as attractive as this one, with thoughtful and caring inscriptions would be easy to find. In my experience little treasures of this type really are hard to locate. Dealers like Scottie, with a good eye and a willingness to share their knowledge, are also friends that should not be forgotten.

I do have two questions about the markings on the bottom of this cup. If the number 65 is a model number, could the 1857 be the year the cup was made or presented to Bell M. McGinnis? The number 5 in 65 and number 5 in 1857 appear to be identical. This leads me to believe that both were stamped at the same time, but I am not aware that Gorham ever dated their silver with an actual year mark.

The second question concerns the scratch marks between the Anchor mark and the word coin. I have seen these scratches on many Gorham pieces and wonder if this was done in the testing for silver content when coin was not a well known term. Every time I see Gorham pieces of this time period, I am reminded of the tumblers shown on page 24 of “Nineteenth Century Natchez Made Silver”. These had the Gorham mark with Emile Profilet’s mark and the author questioned whether or not they were made by Ezekiel, Profilet’s slave. Research has come a long way since 1970 and that is exactly what one should expect; each generation can and should add something of value to the work of the past and hopefully share it with others as Scottie did.


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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-21-2004 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did another search with Google and found a Minnie Bell McGinnis, born December 15, 1865 in Guyandotte, Cabell County West Virginia. Auntie Bell, it seems, had the cup engraved with her name first and just the letter M for Minnie. I wonder if Minnie was in the room when the cup was presented to Auntie Bell's namesake.

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wev
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Posts: 4084
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-21-2004 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here, I suspect, is your cup's family:

Belle Matteson McGinnis was born 2 Feb 1859 to John and Lydia Olivia (Matteson) McGinnis in Springfield IL. She married Henry Ellsworth Wood of Joliet on 1 Nov 1880. She died 22 Dec 1946 in St John, New Brunswick.

John McGinnis was born 20 May 1831 in New Jersey and died 11 Jun 1901 in New York City.

He married Lydia Olivia Matteson on 27 Nov 1856 in Springfield IL. She was born 1 Jan 1837 in Joliet IL and died 17 Mar 1898 in Paris, France. Her sister, Belle, was born 19 Mar 1849, also in Joliet.

If you are interested, I can give you their full tree.

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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-22-2004 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is great work and I thank you for finding the answer. Auntie Belle was not, as I had thought, an "Auntie Mame" character, but instead was a child of 10 years. It perhaps was her parents who thought of the unique inscription for their new granddaughter.

Thanks again.


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wev
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Posts: 4084
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-22-2004 11:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know that I would jump to the conclusion that Aunt Belle was 10 at the time. Gifts of this sort were given for a variety of occasions -- christening, confirmations, dowry chests, graduations, etc, to say nothing of the standard holidays and anniversaries. The closeness of age is a reasonable explanation for a favorite niece/favorite aunt relationship; my mother and her aunt were 8 years apart and always inseparable.

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