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Gorham Antique Coin Silver Figural Punch Bowl, Providence, RI, 1866-67

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This stunning bowl is one of the most elaborate pieces of Gorham coin silver we have ever seen. The large, demi-spherical body has a soft, matte finish and a raised horizontal band with applied medallions of cherubs. Superb classical engraving with partial gilding enhances this band.  Elevating the bowl are three figural supports. These magnificent sculptures feature smiling female figures raising horns of plenty, symbolic of good cheer and prosperity. Once again, the details of the castings along with the use of partial gilding, is quite sophisticated. The pedestals from which these figures emerge are covered with grapevines, musical instruments, and a male figure. The three-legged plinth is enhanced with parcel gilding on its stepped edge.

According to records at the Gorham Archive at the John Hay Library at Brown University, the number ‘50’ punch bowl had a factory cost of $508.00 (meaning a retail price of about $635.00), an enormous amount of money in 1866. These numbers do not include gilding which likely added another $50 or $60 to the price.

This exceptional bowl is marked with Gorham’s trademark and 50 underneath the bowl and base. The bowl diameter measures 12.5 inches. The height to the top of the figures is 10.5 inches high. It weighs an impressive 138.50 troy ounces, has never been monogrammed and is in excellent antique condition with wear to the original gilding.