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Boston coin silver cup of strong theatrical interest

Boston coin silver cup of strong theatrical interest
click for more pictures for item 2411

Edward Holland Hastings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 1, 1857.   This dramatic christening cup from the gentleman whom we presume to be his uncle, Edward M. Holland, presaged a distinguished career as owner and impresario.

After spending a year at Cambridge High School, he prepared for four years at Philip Academy in Exeter, NH.   Immensely popular with his schoolmates, he was elected class president  and entered Harvard upon graduation.   Illness prevented him from completing his freshman year, but he matriculated once again as a "special student" for the 1877-78 academic year.  He left Harvard before graduation to enter the banking and brokerage industries, but a real estate opportunity and a lifelong love of music led him to create and construct the Bijou Theater at 545 Washington St. in Boston.   The theater featured "a staircase of heavy glass under which flowed an illuminated waterfall."  Here, in the first American theater to be lighted by electricity (which was personally installed by Thomas Edison and his workers), he opened shop with the premier U.S. performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe," and followed this with many other light operas by the legendary English team.   At the recommendation of Sir Arthur Sullivan himself, Hastings was elected to the Royal Society of Analytical Critics, in London. 

Changing tastes among the public eventually led to the Bijou's demise.   Though the opulent stage and upper floors were razed, part of the facade still survives and is owned by Emerson College. 

Hastings subsequently worked for the Sprague Electric Motor Company of Philadelphia.   He died at his family's home in Walpole, NH of typhoid pneumonia on March 4, 1889.  His Harvard classmates remembered him in the 25th Anniversary Report of the Class of 1881 as a man of "frank and open disposition, generous and kindly, with a good humor and a trustfulness in human nature."

Height 8 3/8 inches, weight 12.85 Troy ounces, appears to have had a light buff which has revealed some fireskin but fine overall condition, engraved "Edward Holland Hastings from Edward M. Holland Feb'y 1st 1857", marked "pure silver coin," "Boston," and a trademark which we have yet to decipher as it is inside the base and extremely hard to see (fourth photo).

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