Mauser Manufacturing Company (attr.) President Grover Cleveland Antique American Sterling Silver Presentation Vase, New York City, c. 1895
Documented silver objects presented by Presidents of the United States for special occasions, achievements, acts of bravery etc are extremely rare.
This vase is stunning. It is impressive in its size and bold ornamentation. Thirteen stars representing our original colonies are applied around the top of the neck. The front of the neck is repousséd with a large wreath engraved with the following presentation:
OF THE UNITED STATES
Captain Amos Hawkett
BRITISH STEAMSHIP QUEENSMORE
IN RECOGNITION OF HIS HUMANE
SERVICES IN EFFECTING THE
RESCUE OF THE CREWS OF THE
MARION F. SPRAGUE
FEBRUARY 12TH AND 13TH
Fully cast American bald eagles, symbols of majestic beauty and strength, are perched on cast and applied shields representing the American Flag. The details to the eagles, with outstretched wings, are exquisite and their reflections on the neck are striking.Here the American shield is represented with thirteen stars and stripes.
Both sides of the vase are embellished with an upper area of repoussé scrollwork. While on the back the area beneath this decoration is undecorated, the front displays ships amongst turbulent seas. This repousséd rescue scene depicts two ships in treacherous seas during a violent storm. The repoussé work and chased details are very well executed.
From a contemporary account:
Captain Amos Hawkett is an Englishman and has been in service of the Johnston Line for sixteen years. During seven years of this time he was port captain at Baltimore... He has recently been master of the Queensmore, one of the larger boats in the company... During the late February blizzard he picked up at sea two crews, numbering, all told, fourteen men. They belonged to the dismasted ice-covered schooner Alma Cummings, of Boston, and the sunken schooner Marion F. Sprague. The crew of the latter were taken from a small boat after two had frozen to death. President Cleveland has announced the awarding of several gold medals to masters who made rescues in the blizzard.(1)
A mention of the presentation event was noted in a German language newspaper in Baltimore which translates to:
From Sea and Harbor Capt. Amos Hawkett, formerly residing in Baltimore, received from President Cleveland a luxurious vase in recognition for the rescue of the crew of two American ships, as he was commander of the steamship Queensmore.(2)
This magnificent presentation vase is marked underneath 'STERLING-SILVER./ 925 1000 FINE'. It also came with an applied plate underneath stamped with the same marks along with engraved identification of the Washington, DC retailer 'MOORE & LEDING'.
Numerous hours of research led us to believe that this set of marks was unique to The Mauser Manufacturing Company of New York City. We then found an article published in 1895 in The Jeweler's Circular with a picture of an identical vase titled 'A RESCUE AT SEA ILLUSTRATED IN SILVER'.
It states four of these 'cups' were made:
The fourth silver cup to be presented by President Cleveland to sea captains who have rescued American sailors from wrecks, was recently completed by the Mauser Mfg. Co, 14th E. 15th St., New York. This cup, here illustrated, was made for Moore & Leding, jewelers, Washington, D. C., from whom the State Department ordered it.(3)
The exceptional presentation vase measures 11 inches high by 9 inches across the eagles. It weighs 48.75 troy ounces and is in very good antique condition with some expected wear to the highlights and retains the original interior gilding.
'TRIBUTE TO TRUE VALOR' February 15, 1895 newspaper clipping which accompanies the vase, source unknown.
'From Sea to Harbor' in Der Deutsche Correspondent, Baltimore, MD, January 2, 1896, p. 6.
'A RESCUE AT SEA ILLUSTRATED IN SILVER' in The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review, December 4, 1895, p. 1.
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