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Silver Handled Cup

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American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2786B
Date / Time :
March 01, 2015 10:00AM


Silver Handled Cup, Edward Winslow (1669-1753), Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1700, the cylindrical cup with maker's mark "EW" within a fleur-de-lis just below the flared rim, applied molded band at base, scrolled strap handle engraved "P/ER," the bottom engraved "John Robbinson," ht. 4 in., 8.5 troy oz.

Provenance: The true history of this cup is somewhat hard to figure. Family legend states that parts of the cup as currently constituted originally belonged to John Robinson, an early 17th century minister of the Pilgrims in Leyden, in Holland. Robinson reportedly gave his cup to Miles Standish, who brought it to Plymouth aboard the Mayflower. Sometime in the early 18th century, goes the legend, the family approached Edward Winslow, a prominent Boston silversmith, to have him make a new bowl, and to incorporate the handle and the bottom from the original John Robinson mug. In 1926, the cup was offered at auction at Anderson Galleries as "An American Historical Silver Relic of First Importance." The family legend, as related to Anderson Galleries by the consignor Thomas L. Page, is printed in the catalog. In 1987, in an attempt to confirm family legend, metal tests were performed at the Fogg Museum at Harvard. Samples were taken from the handle, bottom, and side of the cup, the hope being that the base and handle would have very different alloys than the side did. According to a letter written by Laurence Pizer, Director of the Pilgrim Society in Plymouth, the conclusion drawn by the Society from those tests was that indeed the side had a slightly different alloy from the base, and was therefore from a different time - supporting the long-held family belief, though not proving it.
Estimate $4,000-6,000

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


John Robinson, Edward Winslow, Massachusetts, early 17th century minister, century minister, Netherlands, Plymouth, Miles Standish, prominent silversmith, silversmith, Thomas L. Page, Fogg Museum, metal tests, Pilgrim Society in Plymouth, Laurence Pizer, Director