J030

Gorham President Grant Silver Medallion Sterling Dinner Forks, Providence, RI, 1868-77, priced individually

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President Ulysses S. Grant flatware: Medallion is a wonderful pattern featuring bold portrait profiles of a helmeted classical warrior on a textured background - highly apropos for the general who won the civil war. Classical motifs decorate the tops, and florets accentuate the midsection of the handles. The backs are engraved with a fancy Old English style "G" initial and the later engraved date of "1865."

Purchased from Bailey & Co. in Philadelphia, these forks date from 1868, when Gorham switched over to the sterling standard, to June of 1877, when the Grants left on a two-year world tour after his presidency.  They were almost certainly purchased during the earlier part of this period and used by the Grants in the White House. (Seriously, who buys table silver before leaving on a two-year world tour?)

Family history and visual examination suggest the later date was engraved during the early 20th century. It is engraved over a removal. We speculate the removal was of a  different date, whose significance had been lost by the time Fred & Ida Grant inherited these forks in 1902 after Julia Grant's death. The couple then engraved them with the date of Grant's victory in the Civil War. (1)

Provenance: President Ulysses S. & Mrs. Julia Grant
Fred & Ida Grant
Ulysses S. Grant, III & Edith Root Grant
Edith Grant Griffiths
living descendant

A tablespoon from this service has been gifted to the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.

These important forks are a rare opportunity to own a bit of history. They are marked with Gorham's trademark and "STERLING" and by the Philadelphia retailer 'BAILEY & CO.' They measure 7.5 inches long, weigh 1.60 troy ounces each, and are in very good antique condition with light wear from use and the later "1865" engraving, as discussed above. They are priced individually and you may order up to the number available.

These forks are priced individually at $495.00 each.

Endnote:

  1. Email correspondence with family member Ulysses Grant Dietz, October 2020.