Peter Krider Antique Coin Silver Medallion Cruet Set, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1865
American silver cruet sets are very rare. This wonderful example was made by the important silversmith Peter Krider from Philadelphia. Beautifully designed, it is constructed with multiple castings assembled together to create this lovely cruet.
The platform base is supported with six flat-front pedestals with fluted sides. Above the six pedestals are repeating classical portrait medallions against a textured background. These are held in place with strapwork traveling up the central column and by being fastened through the base by posts and nuts, all original.
The bottles are impressive. They are period, hand-blown with polished pontils underneath and deeply cut with Gothic-styled panels and star bursts. The silver fittings on the bottles are silver plate so we are not sure if they are original to the frame. If they are not original, they are an excellent and hard to find match since the bottles look and fit so well.
Engraved around the outside of the ring handle is 'Aunt Klara to Louis & Pauline Levi'.
Louis S. Levi (1855-1920) was born in Cincinnati Ohio.(1) His father, Solomon, emigrated from Germany to the US in 1846 and started a distillery business which, by 1857, grew to be 'one of the most extensive in its line in the West'. 'The trade of S. Levi & Brothers comes from all parts of the country... and amounts to over $1,000,000.00 per year'. 'Solomon Levi... figured conspicuously in all charitable enterprises and institutions... and particularly in the various Hebrew associations and institutions of this city, in which he had a prominence shared by few'.(2)
Louis S. Levi worked in the family distilling business starting at the age of 15 and later was a member for 25 years of the board of directors of the German National Bank. He married Pauline Levi in 1877.(3)
Originally from Philadelphia, Peter Krider apprenticed with John Curry and R. & W. Wilson. He later was a journeyman for Obadiah Rich, Boston's leading silversmith. He returned to Philadelphia and started his own shop in the 1850's, ultimately becoming one of Philadelphia's most important silversmiths. His shop produced particularly fine castings and they were one of the largest medal making firms in the country, making award medals for the Centennial exhibition in Philadelphia and many other exhibitions (see The Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers, p. 186).
This rare and stunning cruet set is marked underneath with '*P.L.K*' and 'STANDARD' which denotes the coin silver standard. It measures 11.75 inches high by 7.5 inches wide and the frame weighs an impressive 27.40 troy ounces. It is in excellent antique condition.
Louis Levi, findagrave.com, online
A. N. Marquis, The Industries of Cincinnati, (Cincinnati: A.N. Marquis & Co, 1883), pp. 185-86
Charles Frederic Goss, Cincinnati, the Queen City, 1788-1912, (Cincinnati: S.J. Clark, 1912), p. 716-17
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