Gorham - The Samuel M. Felton 'Medallion' Coin Silver Presentation Goblet, retailed by Bailey & Co., c. 1865
This wonderful goblet features 2 cast medallions and a band of flat-chased floliate and floral decoration. The rim has a cast and applied band of stop-fluted decoration and the interior of the goblet retains its original gilding.
It measures 7.125 inches high and weighs 7.95 troy ounces. It is marked with Gorham's coin silver 'lion , anchor, "G"' trademark, 'BAILEY & CO.' and the model number 360.
On one side inscribed 'Presented to Samuel M. Felton by his friends of the city of Philadelphia and its vicinity 1865' and 'SMF 1865/ AMF 1889/ QB 1910 on the other, documenting the history of ownership by descent in the family.
Samuel Morse Felton (1809-1889), a civil engineer, left his post as Superintendent and Engineer of the Fitchburg Railroad to become President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad in 1851. Under his leadership, the technologically innovative PWBRR became the largest passenger railroad in the country, playing a highly important role in the Civil War by transporting Union troops and supplies. (In fact, Felton helped thwart a possible assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln as he rode on a PWBRR train to his inauguration in 1861.)
In 1865, Felton left the railroad to become President of the Pennsylvania Steel Company, a leader in developing the 'bessamer' process of production and the first US company to make steel rails commercially. The steel company was located in Harrisburg, PA, requiring Felton to leave Philadelphia.
When Felton moved from Philadelphia in 1865, it was clearly a big deal. Not only was he presented some exceptionally fine silver, but the 'Citizens of Philadelphia' created a resolution in his honor on April 17, 1865.
Felton continued an active interest in both the business of railroads and the civic life of the country. Serving as a director of many railroads, he was appointed by President Grant as a Commissioner to inspect the new Pacific Railroads in 1869. In 1876, he was a director of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Two generations of Felton family papers are kept at the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History's archives (where much of this information comes from).
Provenance: By descent in the family.
Condition: Very Good/Excellent. A couple very minor dings on the outside and some minor nicks in the interior. The medallions and chasing are very crisp, the surface is beautiful.