Circa 1858 Gorham "Lion Head" Coin Silver Open Master Salt
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One of Gorham's earliest coin silver master salts, this is also an exceptionally fine example of the form.
Model number "18," as identified on the underside, along with the rare "left lion" version of Gorham's hallmark, the word "Coin," and the name of the retailer, "W.H. Talbot & Co.," Indianapolis. Interestingly, most sources cite Talbott for spelling of this firm, with the exception of Kovel's which cites Hiatt "The Silversmiths of Kentucky" as its source and uses a single "T."
This is large, measuring 3" by 2 1/4" by 1 5/8" high. It is robust weight at just over 2.4 T. oz.
These dimensions are all consistent with those offered in Tompkins' benchmark "Handbook of Gorham Open Salt Dishes." That source dates this circa 1858, as might as well otherwise be surmised by its mark, style, and dates of the retailer.
Oval in shape, it stands on four, cast, lion's head with paw feet, legs. Either end is heavily chased in a floral burst design, while lesser portions of the long walls are also chased as well as engraved. It has two reserve areas that are not monogrammed.
The upper edge of the body has an applied rim and the interior is finished in an intact, bright, gold wash.
The condition is as close to perfect as any estate piece approximately 160 years old could be. It sits evenly. The body is free of dents. The castings remain precisely articulated and are free of polishing wear, as is the body. Lastly, the overall finish has a bright, even, patina.