English Silver Hunting Trophy
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:45)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Silver
Owner, Appraiser and Chief Auctioneer
GUEST: This was presented to one of my relatives in 1844. My parents went to England in the '70s, and this was given to them to bring back to the States. And apparently it's a silver tankard that was presented to my great-great-great-grandfather. He was a judge and a secretary of a coursing club just outside of London. And this was a token of the club's appreciation for his work as a judge and for the duties that he had with them.
APPRAISER: Now, you said a coursing club?
GUEST: It's a... basically the chasing of game, of small game, foxes and hares, with a pack of two dogs. It was a sport that was started way back and still going on today, but not with live game. There's been some changes, apparently, so...
APPRAISER: Yes, there was a law passed, wasn't there, in England that they couldn't use live game anymore?
GUEST: Yeah, I believe it was in 2005 they passed a law.
APPRAISER: English silver was always considered very valuable. And when somebody's estate was listed, they would give the number of ounces of plate they would call a solid silver plate. And it was often sold and traded. So this piece was actually made in London in 1752 by John Smith. And you can see his set of hallmarks on the bottom. It has the leopard's head for London, the lion, meaning that it's solid silver, and the date letter for the year 1752. So this piece of silver would have been very plain. It was probably engraved with a family coat of arms. And when it was sold, probably secondhand, in the 1840s, it then went to a silversmith from that period, who took the piece and embellished it, chased and engraved it with the various hunting scenes. And then the inscription was engraved on it to be presented to your ancestor. The inscription is quite interesting. You said it is 1844.
GUEST: Yes, March of 1844 it was presented to William Atwood.
APPRAISER: Now, did he participate in the game?
GUEST: I was told by my father that he was a sportsman, and he actually trained dogs. Yes, he was active in the sport himself.
APPRAISER: I feel that a retail price on this piece would be between $3,000 and $5,000.
GUEST: Wow. Is it safe to drink beer out of it?
GUEST: (laughing) Okay.
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