Gorham Special Order Sterling Masonic Presentation Beer Mug c. 1894 from the St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston Presented to William L. Richardson
This exceptional special order beer mug is an outstanding example of both the caster and chaser's art. Boasting an wonderfully cast handle and excellent repoussé work, this beer mug was special ordered from Gorham by the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew in Boston in 1894.
Using the Scottish theme of St. Andrew (the patron saint of Scotland), repousséd thistles flow around the top of the mug and form three wreaths, which are cartouches containing two seals of the Lodge of St. Andrew and a larger figure of St. Andrew holding his cross (see detail). The handle is extraordinary well cast continuing the thistle motif with a three dimensional thistle bloom as the thumb piece. The mug rests on a spreading ring foot with cast and chased classical acanthus decoration.
The base of this beer mug bears the inscription "Presented by Lodge of St. Andrew to Wor(shipful) Brother William L. Richardson, November 30, 1894."
A report by Sam Hough from Gorham's archival records indicates the beer mug was chased for 80 hours and the final factory (wholesale) price was set at $90.00, which indicates a retail price of $150-$200. Adjusted for inflation, this translates into $4,000-$6,000 in today's money.
The venerable Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew was one of the first Masonic Temples on this continent. It was officially granted its charter in 1756 when Massachusetts was the Bay Colony, not a state. Of its many important members, the patriot Paul Revere is the best known. Today, the lodge is still located on Boston Common.
Measuring 6 inches high and 4 inches in diameter (at the base), weighing approximately 16 troy ounces, it is in excellent condition except that it has been mechanically polished.