1850 Khe Cheong Canton Regatta Silver Trophy
My husband's great-grandfather was in the China trade. They lived in Canton, and this was his. This is a first-place trophy from the Canton Sailing Regatta in 1859.
It's a wonderful example of what we would call China trade silver. If you can imagine the maritime trade as it would sail to Canton, once it arrived there, it was there for three months, six months. All those sailors needed things to do. So they golfed, they played polo, they played soccer, and they sailed. You said 1859, I see 1850.
That's very, very early for this sort of piece. Most of these were made for the Chinese market. What you would do is, you'd go into your Chinese retailer, the silversmith, and you'd pick out what you wanted, and then you would have it engraved for that particular occasion. Well, they happened to pick out a Chinese silver cup that was made for the Western market. Many of the ones made for the Chinese market have these embossed dragons and figures and villages all over them that represent Chinese life. This has more the acanthus leaves that you would find in a nice piece of English silver. Now, underneath here, we have the hallmark that looks English, but it's really a pseudo-English hallmark. And in the middle of that, you see the three letters that distinguish this as having been made by Khe Cheong, a very prominent silversmith in the mid-part of the 19th century for China. In a well-advertised auction, this should sell somewhere in the range of between $5,000 and $8,000.
I think it's great.
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