Gorham Antique Coin Silver Figural Caster Stand with 6 Glasses, Providence, RI, 1867
This is a stunning and very rare example of Gorham coin silver. The base of the frame is oval and is decorated around its sides with hand-engraved archways, a design incorporated into the handle. Cast medallions with ribbons contain figures of putti on the front and back. These medallions are attached with nuts on the back. The ends of the frame feature fully cast female figures standing on rounded plinths. They are beautifully cast and also attached using nuts underneath which secure them to the frame.
The wells which hold the glasses are beautifully pierced and the outer rims have lovely rows of applied beading.
The handle is quite dramatic with its platform base, archway, tapered stem and handle which features cast and applied lion heads. One side of the stem is engraved 'Isabella Dickson June 14 1868'.
According to a report by Samuel Hough, an independent researcher who formerly worked with the Gorham Archives, the first example of the 601 Caster was completed May 29, 1867. The costing report does not mention glass and Mr. Hough concludes 'The lack of a cost figure for glass on any of the caster entries indicates that they were intended to hold bottles already owned by the buyer'.
In this case, 'buyer' meant retailer as Gorham had no retail store at this time. It is clear that the traditional role of the silversmith providing bottles is changing by the 1860's and it may be impossible to tell if bottles are 'original' if they are period.
The glasses in the frame are later and fit beautifully.
This exceptional frame set is marked underneath with Gorham's trademark, '601' and by the Boston firm of 'Shreve, Stanwood & Co'(1860-69) which later became the venerable Shreve, Crump & Low. It measures 11.5 inches long by 7.5 wide by 10 inches high, weighs 33 troy ounces and is in excellent condition.