3041
3041
An American Silver Large Presentation Flask, Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, RI, 1888
Estimate
9,00012,000
JUMP TO LOT
3041
An American Silver Large Presentation Flask, Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, RI, 1888
Estimate
9,00012,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Iris Schwartz Collection of American Silver

|
New York

An American Silver Large Presentation Flask, Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, RI, 1888
of flattened asymmetrical form, one side engraved with profile of a the giver and etched with signature and presenation inscription, the opposite side engraved with view of the Batopilas copper mine in Chihuahua State, Mexico, the sides applied with cactus emerging from dessert foliage, hinged cover etched Batopilas
marked on base, and with special order number 167 and date symbol for 1888
length 7 3/4 in.
19.6cm
19oz 6dwt gross
600g
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Literature

Samuel Hough, "Report on Gorham Liquor Flask 167" Silver Magazine, March/April 1994, pp. 35-38.

Catalogue Note

The body is etched with the script signature Alex R. Shephard to A.H. Sawyer 1888.

Alexander Robey Shepherd (1835-1902) helped restore Washington D.C. after the Civil War as Chariman of the Board of Public Works, then as Governor 1873-74.  He was forced out in 1880, bankrupt and disgraced, and moved to Batopilas Mexico to run a silver mine in the Sierra Madres.  There, he struck it rich, and on his return to the States and to D.C. - the occasion for parades - he handed out these monumental, special-order Gorham flasks.

Sam Hough found the flasks in Gorham's special cost book, completed May 16, 1888; the total order was for 46 flasks.  Formerly in Gorham's design library was an 1885 volume with two large folding maps and 19 photographs of the Batopilas site, showing the genesis of the design.  Making the flasks required almost ten hours each, with more for casting.  The etching, though, required 40 hours of work for each flask.  The total price for each flask, including a bag to protect it, was $80.  Other examples of Shepherd's flasks are in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Museum of American history.

Below is the text of a Gorham label, which presumably originally accompanied each flask:
The silver from which the accompanying Flask was made is the product of the mines at Batopilas, Mexico, of which Governor Shepherd is the manager.

On one side is an etching of the Hacienda San Miguel constructed by him for the reduction of crude ores into bar silver, with the Sierra Madre mountains rising in the back ground.

The border is an application representing the Pitaya tree, a fruit bearing cactus.

On the reverse side is a portrait in profile which will be readily recognized.

    - Gorham Manufacturing Company, New York.

The Iris Schwartz Collection of American Silver

|
New York