One of the finest ladles we have ever seen, this punch ladle is of spectacular design and quality with an interesting presentation.
The long, shaped handle is decorated with four vertical rows of fine beading. In keeping with the nautical theme, this would be the mast, the details of the figure perched as a lookout are exceptional down to his textured clothing and hat.
Above the sailor is a textured sphere encased in strap work surmounted with a finial.
The unusual bowl is in the form of a boat. The hull has a series of eight incised horizontal lines defining wooden boards. An applied silver rail outlines the gunwale - the upper edge of a boat (the things I learn doing this!).
The pointed bow has a cast and applied classical female figurehead.
The attaching of the handle is quite intricate. The beaded handle transforms at the base into a dramatic spear attaching to the port side of the boat.
Crossed oars attach to the interior of the boat and up along the handle. They are ornamented with twisted rope. These lovely nautically inspired motifs contribute to the beauty and the theme while also acting as structural supports.
Steering this vessel from the stern is a beautifully cast seated winged cherub with legs crossed and one hand on the tiller, which controls the rudder.
The back of the bowl is engraved with the following presentation:
by his friends
the Directors of the
Bank North America
The Bank of North America was the nation's first central bank, chartered by Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1781, and became the nation's first IPO (initial public offering).(1)
Thomas Smith (1818-1883) became President of the Bank North America, located in Philadelphia, on August 9, 1860 and served as President 'longer than any one who has ever held the office'.(2) In 1870 Smith was elected as Director.(3)
This rare ladle is stamped on the edge of the boat with George Sharp's trademark and 'STERLING. It measures 14.25 inches long by just under 5 inches wide, weighs 9.40 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition. Accompanying the ladle is a fitted wooden stand.
'Bank of North America', Wikipedia.
The Banker's Magazine And Statistical Register, Vol. 63, Warren, Gorham & Lamont, 1901, p. 472.
The Banker's Magazine And Statistical Register, Vol. 24, Warren, Gorham & Lamont, 1869-70, p. 818.