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Obadiah Rich Coin Silver Figural Sauce Boat, Boston, MA, c. 1840

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This rare sauce or gravy boat is a magnificent example of Boston coin silver. The classic shape of the unadorned surface with decorated applied elements creates this stunning example of American classicism. The hand-raised body is decorated and enforced around its rim with simple applied banding. Engraved on both sides are monograms of successive owners. One side is engraved 'CA' and the other 'CTM. (These likely date to the 1850-70 period.)

An applied 'C'-scroll handle has a leaf-inspired thumbpiece. The three applied feet have nicely articulated shells where they are attached to the body and terminate in shell-formed pad feet.

Obadiah Rich was the most important silversmith working in Boston from 1830-50, and his work can be found in important museum collections. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has a pair of identical sauce boats in their collection; see here. Bostonians were very proud of their colonial heritage, and the continued use of this style, 70 years after it was popular, aptly demonstrates this. Boston silversmiths continued to use these colonial designs even later, as seen in this example by Vincent Laforme.

From the collection of Charles C. & Demmy Williams, Washington, D.C.

Identical sauce boats are discussed in Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000: American Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by Jeannine Falino, et al., pp. 288-89.

This magnificent sauce boat is marked 'O. RICH/ fine' and 'BOSTON' between two stars. It measures 7.5 inches long across the handle and spout by 5.25 inches high. It weighs 12.35 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.