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Gorham Antique Sterling Silver Alms Dish, Providence, RI, c. 1905

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This large alms dish is a striking design and an extremely rare example of Gorham silver. Silver owned by religious institutions rarely appears on the open market, and we are fortunate to be able to offer this remarkable dish from St John's Memorial Chapel at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The interior of the deep bowl is a wonderful, cast plaque with the symbols of the Holy Trinity within a quatrefoil. Around the rim, it is engraved 'IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE' over a series of fine lines that decorate the background.  Engraved top and center, between two scenes of grapevines, is a cross patonce within a circle. The underside of the rim is engraved:

In memory of 
Born January 16th 1822
died June 20th 1904
Vestryman of St. Andrew's Church
27 years

This alms dish was presented by Mrs. Emley to St Andrew's Church in Philadelphia on March 11, 1906. (1)

Provenance: St Andrew's Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

St. Andrew's Church was the chapel of the Philadelphia Divinity School which merged with the Episcopal Theological School in 1974 to become the Episcopal Divinity School. In 2018, the school merged with the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the campus was acquired by Leslie University. For more history of the school, see here.

This rare alms dish is marked underneath with Gorham's trademark, 'STERLING/ 2256/ J.E. CALDWELL & CO'. It measures 15 inches in diameter by 2 inches high, weighs 47 troy ounces and is in excellent  antique condition.


  1. The Churchman, Churchman Co., volume 93, March 24, 1906, p. 456.