Tiffany & Co Antique Sterling Silver "Newport Citizens Cup" Yachting Trophy, NYC, NY, 1887

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The nautical design and execution of this trophy punch bowl are stunning. Four magnificent representations of dolphin heads peer outwards around the oval base, further embellished with applied rope and kelp amongst a textured background.

An oval, large body incorporates schooner beaks as handles with lion figureheads underneath. Hanging swags of kelp decorate the interior ends. Around the body hang impressive, twisting ropes that disappear into portholes. Cascading waves appear to crash over the side borders above oval grotto-esque rocaille formations, with one engraved:

Newport Citizens Cup
AUG. 16th, 1887

Thornton Niven Motley (12/28/1857 - 7/30/1928) was president of the Thornton N. Motley Company, which manufactured parts for railroads and steamships.

'Magic' was one of the most celebrated schooners of her time. In 1870, Magic was the first American defender during the 1870 Americas Cup. Franklin Osgood, one of many owners in her history, owned her in 1870. In 1879, Osgood sold her to Francis M. Weld of Boston. Two years later, she was sold to Thurston N. McKay and, after three years, was sold back to the Weld family and "was successively owned by Francis M. Weld Jr., B. Rodman Weld, and Charles G. Weld, the latter being in possession of her in 1885 and later." (1) We found the following notice in Field and Stream from 1887:
"CHANGES OF OWNERSHIP. Magic, schooner, has been sold by Chas. G. Weld, of Boston, to Thornton N. Motley, Larchmont Y.C., former owner of the sloop Vivid." (2)

This trophy is listed in Tiffany's archives as "Yacht Prize Citizens Newport Cup" and recorded on December 22, 1887, costing $450.00 to manufacture. (3)

Christie's, New York City, January 21, 1994, lot 74.
Sotheby's, New York City, January 19, 1996, lot 532.
Bonhams, London, January 22, 2003, lot 301.
Christie's, New York City, January 20, 2006, lot 141.
Collection of J.D. Parks.
Heritage Galleries, Dallas, November 11, 2020, lot 74031.
Private Collection.

This stunning yachting trophy is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ 9587 MAKERS 8472/ STERLING-SILVER/ 925-1000/ M/ 8QTS.' It measures 20.5 inches across the handles by 13.25 inches wide by 9.5 inches high and is in excellent antique condition with a couple of minor dings to the interior surface and handle ends. Due to most of the decoration being applied, it weighs an impressive 158.15 troy ounces (10.83 pounds).


  1. "Old Cup Defender Magic Is No More" in The Boston Globe, February 11, 1908, p. 4.
  2. "Changes of Ownership" in Field and Stream, Volume XXVIII, February, 1887 - July, 1887, p. 357.
  3. Sotheby's, New York City, January 19, 1996, lot 532.