Gorham Pair of Coin Silver Figural Master Salts, Providence, RI, c. 1865
These rare Egyptian Revival master salts are stunning. They are early examples of coin silver from Gorham and exhibit very high quality and imaginative design. The rims of the bowls have a band of Greek-key design and have three applied balls with swinging loop handles. The bodies are decorated with beautiful engine turning and have three circular reserves - one of which has been engraved 'Anna M Wood'. Each bowl rests on three sphinx feet.
Gorham's records indicate these master salts or 'salt stands' were first entered into Gorham's costing records on December 9, 1863. This date is very unusual and early for Egyptian Revival pieces from this era. Most Egyptian Revival designs from this period date to the late 1860's, not the early part of the decade.
The salts were quite expensive, mainly due to their heavy weight, with a net (wholesale) cost of $17.85 and a retail price of about $22.50. This was the approximately the same amount that one of the more skilled silversmiths who made them earned in a week.
These exceptional salts are marked with Gorham's trademark and 'COIN/ 410'. They measure 3.25 inches in diameter by just over 2.5 inches high, weigh a combined 10.25 troy ounces and are in excellent antique condition.