The Samuel M. Felton 'Medallion' Coin Silver Water Pitcher with Figural Handle, Gorham & Co., c. 1865
Based on the classical form of an inverted helmet, this stunning pitcher features a boldly cast figural handle and extremely fine chased decoration on the neck and inside the spout. Four cast and applied neoclassical medallions adorn the neck and the foot spreads just below a die rolled band based on classical Vitruvian scrolls. The strong angular handle completes this ambitious design.
Handle detail of The Samuel M. Felton ‘Medallion’ Coin Silver Water Pitcher with Figural Handle, Gorham & Co., c. 1865 It is inscribed on the front:
Presented to Samuel M. Felton by his friends of the city of Philadelphia and its vicinity 1865.
According to a report by Samuel Hough derived from Gorham's costing records at the Gorham Archives, the wholesale price of this pitcher was $115.79, meaning a retail price of a bit over $200.00 - quite a sum in 1865. See the report and an image from the Gorham Archives below.
This pitcher was made with the same decoration as the accompanying goblet and was meant to be purchased together with a goblet (or many goblets).
It measures 11.5 inches high and weighs 40.9 troy ounces. It is marked with Gorham's coin silver 'lion, anchor, G' trademark and 'BAILEY & CO'.
Condition: Very good. The small drinking vessel above the hand of the female figure has been restored. See the image from the Gorham Archives below.
Sam Hough's Report on The Gorham 530 Pitcher:
The 530 Pitcher is entered in the sterling hollowware costing book (vol. 1, p. 84) for 3 November 1864.
The Pitcher contained 43 oz. of silver valued at $55.90. It was not spun, although there is a seventy-five-cent charge for turning and ten cents for stamping.
Casting is recorded at six hours for $1.75. Chasing the casting took probably ten hours and cost $3.00. (In a parallel column, eight and a half hours of chasing cost $2.50.) Making the pitcher- the silversmith's cost-was $16.20. Polishing stages were stone & bobbing, $1.25; green rouging, thirty-five cents; and burnishing, $1.25.
Direct silver and labor costs were $80.55. Overhead is 15%, $12.08, and profit of 25% was $23.16.
The net factory price was $115.79.
Here the price of the silver ($55.90) was deducted to derive the making cost, $59.89, to be added to the fluctuating silver price for future production.
Image from the original photograph in the Gorham Archives:
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