Christie’s | Rarities and Rediscoveries | Silver | New York

The Good Ship Saint Andrew: An Important George V Silver-Gilt Nef, Omar Ramsden, London, 1928 (estimate: $100,000 – $150,000)


On May 21, Christie’s is pleased to present the sale of Important Silver, which includes 140 lots ranging from an Important French Gold and Enamel Mounted Rock-Crystal Cup for the Paris Exposition of 1867 by Charles Duron, to a rediscovered quart Cann by Paul Revere. The sale also includes a wide selection of silver by Buccellati and Tiffany & Co.

Among the sale’s top lots is The Good Ship Saint Andrew: An Important George V Silver-Gilt Nef by Omar Ramsden, London, 1928 (estimate: $100,000 – $150,000). Omar Ramsden (1873-1939), the most successful silversmith of the English Arts & Crafts movement, created only three nefs, (extravagant table-ornaments in the shape of a ship), in his prolific 40-year career. Considered the most important of his secular commissions, these spectacular objects took their inspiration from silver ship models used in medieval times as symbols of rank at the banqueting table. Ramsden’s Workshop Books, now in the library of Goldsmiths’ Hall, indicate that the first nef was commissioned by Henry Ford in 1922, and another in 1923. The present example is the last and ‘lost’ Ramsden nef, recently discovered, was commissioned by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later British Petroleum) in 1928.

The sale is led by an Important French Gold and Enamel Mounted Rock-Crystal Cup for the Paris Exposition Of 1867 by Charles Duron (estimate: $150,000-250,000) – pictured left. Charles Duron (1814- 1872), goldsmith-jeweler of Paris, won his greatest acclaim for the gold-mounted hardstone vessels he exhibited at the International Exposition in Paris in 1867. Five of his six extant examples from the 1867 fair are now in museum collections; the present cup is the sixth known.

Originally from the Collection of Baron Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild is a Rare Continental Silver-Gilt Mounted Jasper Cup from the second half 15th century (estimate: $70,000 – $100,000) – pictured right. Mounted hardstone vessels were an essential component of the princely schatzkammer, showcasing the natural beauty.

The highly-prized stones, as well as the skill of the lapidary and goldsmith. The present lot was part of Baron Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild’s extensive collection of mounted hardstone vessels, which was confiscated by German authorities and returned to his heirs by the city of Frankfurt in 1949.

Also among the sale’s highlights is a newly discovered American Silver Quart Cann by Paul Revere, Boston, 1787 (estimate: $60,000 – $90,000), which was found by the current owner in a trunk, wrapped in a fur coat that once belonged to his late Grandmother. This cann, whose whereabouts had been previously unknown, is the mate to a cann in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The pair of canns is recorded in Revere’s Daybooks in June 1787 for Thomas Lee of Cambridge, “English Thomas,” a leading merchant in Boston.

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