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The Lefferts Family Gale, Wood & Hughes Coin Silver Water Pitcher, NY - 1845 Gale, Wood & Hughes Coin Silver Water Pitcher, NY 1845

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This coin silver water pitcher is a magnificent example of early classical American silver.   Die-rolled foliate banding decorates the wide opening and flaring spout while bold classical acanthus leaf banding adorns the midsection and flaring foot.  These decorative elements contrast nicely with the reflective surfaces of the main body and neck.  The front is engraved 'LL' and underneath is engraved 'Presented to Leffert Lefferts by Jane Robert April 1845'.

Jane Robert (1805- 1886) was a descendant of early Dutch settlers in Brooklyn who owned large amounts of important Brooklyn real estate along Fort Hamilton Avenue. (1)

Leffert Lefferts (1774-1847),  owned significant land and property in Bedford 'Four Corners', now the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY.  'The Judge' Leffert Lefferts graduated from Columbia College in 1794, then studied law and became an attorney in 1798.  At various times served as clerk of New York City, Commissioner in Chancery, and First Judge of Kings County.  He became the first president of the Long Island Bank in 1824. (2)  The Lefferts Historical House, today a museum in Prospect Park was built by Lefferts's father, Continental Army officer Lieutenant Pieter Lefferts. (3)

Of Dutch descent, the Lefferts family first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1660 and owned land in present-day Brooklyn by 1675 when New York formally became an English colony. (4)  Lefferts and his extended family owned large tracts of land in Kings County, New York.  Interestingly, the Lefferts family was one of the last to own slaves in New York5 and one of the first to sell land to free African Americans.6  While this might appear paradoxical today, perhaps it seemed like a sensible solution to a moral dilemma for a judge entrusted with upholding the laws of the land.

This stately coin silver pitcher is marked underneath 'G.W&H'.  It measures 9.25 inches high by 9.5 inches across the handle and spout and weighs 32.35 troy ounces.  Aside from a slight indentation at the base of the spout it is in very good antique condition.

Provenance:  Primarily by descent in the family.


  1. 'In The Real Estate Field' in The New York Times, 14 October 1897.  U.S. Census record, 1860.Teunis G. Bergen, Genealogy of the Lefferts Family 1650-1878, (Albany: Joel Munsel, 1878), pp. 94-95.
  2. Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Park website,
  3. Bergen, pp. 7-8.
  4. Federal Census Record, 1810 and 1820.
  5. Charles, Mario A "Bedford Stuyvesant" in Encyclopedia of New York City ed. Kenneth Jackson, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), p. 94.