1897 Presentation Punch Bowl

Value (2004) | $10,000$15,000

This came down through your family. Am I correct?


And tell me a little about the gentleman who this was presented to originally.

William Barton Mallory, my grandfather, was first war captain of the Charlottesville, Virginia Monticello Guards. It was a military operation that was started in 1857. This was presented to him in 1897 as a thank-you for, uh, having served in that time. This was presented to him in Nashville at a reunion.

Okay, the punch bowl has traditionally been given as a presentation, as an item of honor, to your grandfather in this case. And it's a fabulous-looking punch bowl. First of all the bowl itself, by the way, is French. It was made in Limoges in France in the 1890s for presentation in 1897. All of the... what we call the reserves on this beautiful ground tell you something about its history. This reserve with the inscription in it tells you about your grandfather receiving it and where and when and so on. It's decorated with flags of the Confederacy-- the first and the second Confederate flag. It's decorated with this fabulous historic image, which is the symbol of Virginia. And there's a scene there of Confederate artillery, in fact, not infantry, charging through one of their battles, and the Confederate battle flag is on there, too. And inside are the names of all the battles that these guys fought in during the Civil War. They were pretty active, including, of course, the great Battle of Gettysburg. You can see the names of the battles there, and they did not do well at Gettysburg, as I understand it. I spoke to my colleague Chris Mitchell over at the Arms and Armor desk, and he was telling me that the majority of these guys were killed...

They were, in Pickett's Charge.

So the survivors had something very special to drink to in 1897. Now, the Civil War memorabilia of this quality is especially valuable. However, what's going to hold us back a little bit is that it's a veterans' piece. It was made over 40 years after the war, made for a reunion. It's still an extraordinary object, but veterans' items don't have the same cachet and the same value as something made, presented during the war or right immediately afterwards. My feeling is if it came up at auction, if two people really want it, we could see it bring $10,000 or $15,000.

Very nice.

Although I'm sure you're never going to sell it…

No, I don't think so.

…never in your life. It's a great thing.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2004)
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)

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