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Tiffany and Co Antique Sterling Silver and Other Metals Butterfly Salver, NYC, NY, c. 1880

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An exceptional example of Japanese-style silver produced by Tiffany & Co. circa 1880, this round salver with raised edge exhibits a beautiful overall hammered surface and rests on three feet.

Inset into the surface are three magnificent butterflies of varying species: two Nymphalidae (one of which features eyespots) and a swallowtail. (1) A Tiffany & Co. design drawing calls this a 'Round Waiter' and notes the inlaid metals are Green Gold, Yellow Metal & Fine Gold, Jap.[anese] Gold, Copper & Red Metal and Platinum. (2) Not only a technical tour-de-force, but this wonderful combination also creates a complex and subtly-hued masterpiece.

In Magnificent Tiffany Silver, former Tiffany design director John Loring speculates this butterfly design is a homage to artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler. (3)

This rare salver is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ 5767 M 1482/ STERLING-SILVER/ -AND-/ OTHER-METALS/ .955/ PATENT APPLIED FOR.' It measures 11 inches in diameter, weighs 25.65 troy ounces, and is in excellent antique condition.

Important American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art and Historical Prints, Christie's, January 26, 1991, lot 23A.
Private Collection.

A nearly identical example, owned by the Tiffany Archives, is illustrated and discussed in Magnificent Tiffany Silver byJohn Loring p.56. That tray is also discussed and illustrated in Collecting Inspiration: Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co., edited by Medill H. Harvey.


  1. John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, (New York: Harry M. Abrams, 2001), p. 56.
  2. Fine American Furniture, Folk Art, Folk Paintings and Silver, Sotheby's, New York, June 27 and 28, 1990, p. 91.
  3. Loring, p. 56