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John C. Moore Antique Coin Silver Ewer, NYC, NY, c. 1850

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Although it can be used for a myriad of liquids, the apropos decoration of grapevines begs for this ewer to be filled with wine. A magnificent, naturalistic vine handle with three-dimensional grapes and leaves originates at the back of the top rim and terminates with spreading vine tendrils encircling the bottom of the neck. A nice touch is a large display of two leaves and a bunch of grapes hanging from the back of the handle and attaching to the urn-shaped body.

Brilliant repoussé and chasing techniques display lovely scenes of spreading vines with bold depictions of leaves and clusters of grapes. The reserve on the front has an engraved crest of an eagle. The domed pedestal base is similarly decorated along with a border of twisting vines.

This style of decoration made John C. Moore and his son Edward famous. Shipping magnate Edward K. Collins commissioned Ball, Black & Co. to create a gold tea service in this style, which John C. Moore supplied. It was shown at the 1851 London Crystal Palace exhibition to worldwide acclaim.

Charles Tiffany was so impressed he hired Moore, whose son Edward was starting to run the business, to work exclusively for Tiffany & Co. - the rest is history. Interestingly, it was exhibiting at the international fairs that brought Tiffany and Moore worldwide fame and made "Tiffany" a household word.

A nearly identical ewer is pictured and discussed in Magnificent Tiffany Silver.(1)

This stately ewer is marked underneath 'J.C.M./ 9'  along with the NYC retailer 'BALL, TOMPKINS & BLACK.' It measures 16 inches tall, weighs 44.25 troy ounces, and is in very good/ excellent antique condition. There is some discoloration above the crest due to the lacquer finish we removed; it is not as bad as it appears in the last photo. It will lessen with time and polishing.


  1. John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, (New York: Harry M. Abrams, 2001), pp. 14-15.