Royal Silver

Royal Silver

05/13/2024     Silver, General

NEW YORK, NY -- As a Silver Specialist, I love handling silver that tells a story, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to find pieces that speak to usnot literally of courseI am no silver whispererbut some silver actually has part of its history spelled out for all to see. That’s the case with some wonderful silver with connections to Royalty in the May 22 auction of English & Continental Silver.

Silver has been used for presentations since the times of the Ancient Greeks and through the centuries, Royal families across the world have given gifts of silver as tokens of thanks and appreciation or to mark important milestones and anniversaries. Let’s take a look at some of Doyle’s Royal presentation silver in the upcoming sale:

The Collection of the John Deere family (themselves American royalty) offers several lots of silver from famed English silversmith Paul Storr’s magnificent dinner service created for the Duke of Hamilton on his appointment as Ambassador to the Court of Empress Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg (Lots 142-145). Each piece is engraved with the Royal arms for King George III of Great Britain and also those of the Duke. The Duke was expected to entertain lavishly to represent his King in this most prestigious of posts and, as an expression of gratitude when his time in Russia finished, the Duke could keep the silver—all 652 pounds of it! Though scattered across the globe, much of this service still exists today with the largest part in the White House in Washington, D.C.

From the European Continental are a number of pieces by the French silversmiths to the Court of Napoleon Bonaparte, Biennais, made in the French Empire style (Lots 113-114). This silver serves a double dose of Royalty because the later engraved arms on each piece are those of the King of Hanover, George III’s brother King William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide. These silver wine coolers, jardinieres and plates would have been the height of Napoleonic style when made and clearly were still appreciated a generation later when they enteted the King’s household silver.

Jumping ahead a century, a charming cigarette case applied with the cipher of Queen Victoria and presented to Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, the Master of the Queen’s Household, would have been a very intimate gift (Lot 158). A cigarette case was used among friends and family, and everyone would have recognized the Royal arms emblazoned on the cover and thus understood the owner’s close association to the Monarch. The beautiful presentation engraved to replicate the Queen’s own handwriting confirms this.

And a final piece in our Royal group is a Persian silver table cigarette box with the Imperial Persian Crown given as a gift from Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last Emperor of Iran (Lot 100). Again intended to express appreciation, this piece is still in its original box, showing that it has been a prized possession of the recipient and their family for almost half a century after it was made.

I invite you to come to our exhibition and examine these pieces of history yourself and imagine the generations of hands they have passed through over their long and storied histories—the next hands could be yours!

English & Continental Silver

Auction Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 10am
Exhibition May 18 - 20, Noon - 5pm

View Sale

Todd Sell

Todd Sell

SVP / Appraiser, Silver, Furniture & Decorative Arts