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Gorham Antique Sterling Silver 'Sample' Punch Bowl from the Metcalf family, Providence, RI, 1908

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Exceptional chasing and wonderful etching create stunning, floral displays on this large, unique, and beautiful punch bowl. Bold, tyg-style handles delineate the three sections of the bowl. Each of the large reserves is engraved with the 25-year presentation: '1886', '1921' and with a lovely 'MBM' monogram.

The robust floral decorations surrounding these areas are all executed by hand-chasing and acid-etching. Further decoration adorns one level of the stepped pedestal base. Gorham called this style of chasing "ciscele" or chiseled, and their records indicate the chasing took 57 1/2 hours.

A "sample" order, this unique punch bowl was an internally generated special order. Also scratch marked with a production number, it may have become the prototype for a production line. It had a net factory cost of $160.00 and a retail price of about $200.00, about 1/4 the price of a car.

This magnificent bowl is marked with Gorham's trademark and 'STERLING' along with the sample codes 'N' over 'FM' and 'A7238' scratched underneath. It measures 13.5 inches across the handle and rim and 12.25 inches in diameter by 7 inches tall, weighs 62.20 troy ounces, and is in very good/ excellent antique condition with light scratching from use. It retains its original interior gilding.

Provenance: The monogram is for Manton Bradley Metcalf whose parents were Jesse Metcalf and Louisa Dexter Sharpe. Jesse Metcalf (1827-1899) was 'one of the commanding and vital figures of Rhode Island's industrial and commercial world.' (1) As a tribute to his late wife, Jesse donated the land and contributed the money to erect the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). (2) It has descended in the family.

"Manton Bradley Metcalf came to the city of New York and entered the employ of James T. Swift & Company, New York agents for the Wanskuck Company (incorporated in 1862 by his father) of Rhode Island, manufacturers of worsted for men's wear, that company having shipped the first case of worsted goods for men's wear ever made in the United States from their mill." He later became president of the company. (3)


  1. Rhode Island Reading Room, History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical, (NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920)
  2. Ibid.
  3. History of the Oranges to 1921, reviewing the rise, development, and progress of an influential community, MANTON BRADLEY METCALF,