Gorham Antique Sterling Silver 'Sample' Tea Service, Providence, RI, 1892,93

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This charming tea set features oval, plain bodies with applied, classical scene plaques. It is comprised of a coffee pot, creamer, covered sugar, and a waste bowl. Each piece has a different applied scene on both sides, and one side is engraved with an original 'R' initial. The upper edge of the bodies has an applied classical border of leaves, while the bottoms have horizontal lines with cast and applied bird talons. Cast and applied handles with leaf thumb pieces are applied to the creamer and covered sugar, and the pot has its original, carved wood handle. Housing the domed covers with umbrella-fluted finials are splendid galleries on the sugar and teapot.

Gorham exhibited an example of this service at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair or Colombian Exposition. Since this is the first service they made, it may have been this one.

This elegant service is marked with Gorham's trademark and 'STERLING.' Sample codes of '4617' and the 1892 date symbol, along with scratch marks of '2710' are also on the waste, sugar bowl, and teapot. The creamer is marked '2710' and with the date mark for 1893. There are scratch marks on the 1892 dated pieces that indicate a manufacturing cost for those three pieces totaling $120.00. The pot measures 9.5 inches across the handle and spout by 5 inches to the top of the handle. The combined weight for the set is 39.15 troy ounces.

Condition: The creamer and waste have varying wear to their original interior gilding, and the pot handle has an old restoration.

Gorham Archives image courtesy of the John Hay Library, Brown University.