Obadiah Rich (attr.) Sterling Silver Coffee Pot retailed by Lows, Ball & Co., Boston, 1840-41
Of tapering octagonal paneled form, this elegant coffee pot is an outstanding example of 1840's silver. On an applied stepped octagonal foot, the octagonal body rises to a molded neck. The stepped hinged lid, also of octagonal panels, features a dynamic 18th century inspired octagonal finial. Even the curved spout and scroll handle are similarly paneled.
Obadiah Rich was the most important silversmith working in Boston from 1830-50 and his work can be found in important museum collections. Unfortunately, Rich marked little of his work but sold most of it through other retailers. This rare piece was sold by Lows, Ball & Co., one of the predecessor firms to the venerable Boston jeweler Shreve, Crump & Low. Rich's most important commissions came from these firms.
This rare octagonal paneled form from the 1840's is one of our favorite styles of the 19th century. When unadorned, like this example, it is boldly classical and elegant. Referred to as the 'octagonal' style when made, it was the most expensive style available at the time due to the hard work involved in crafting the shaped body and parts. Also, sterling silver was more expensive than coin silver making his pot even more desirable.
This coffee pot is marked underneath 'Lows Ball & Co.' and 'Sterling Silver'. It is monogrammed on one side 'EHL' in a cursive style. This piece measures 9 inches high, weighs a hefty 32.75 troy ounces and is in very good antique condition. This is the third one of these Obadiah Rich coffee pots that we have had with ebony insulators and we now think they are original to the pieces. (Formerly, we thought they were replacements.)