Tuesday, September 28, 2010

$5.9 Million for a Silver Bowl???

Here is a follow-up to the previous post about my distant cousin, Joshua Loring Jr. Apparently, a silver bowl that once belonged to Joshua's parents has just sold at auction through Sotheby's for $5.9 million! The bowl had been in the possession of the Loring family in England for several generations. Loring relatives later stored it in a London bank vault, where it was rediscovered last year. Here is some information about the bowl from Luxist.com:

"The price for a Colonial-era silver bowl at a Sotheby's New York sale of Important Americana has astounded antiques lovers. The bowl had an estimate of $400,000 to $800,000 but sold for a hammer price with buyer's premium of $5,906,500. The price was particularly amazing considering that no piece of early American of silver had previously sold for more than $1 million. The bidding was reportedly heated with bids over $3 million batted back and forth between two competitors an anonymous gentleman seated in the room and New York dealer S.J. Shrubsole. Eventually the anonymous bidder won setting a record for American silver and locking in the second highest price ever paid for silver at auction

What makes this bowl so special? Created around 1700-1710 it is probably the largest piece of early eighteenth century American silver currently in existence. It has quite a story behind it, the brandywine bowl descended with the Loyalist family of Commodore Joshua Loring since before the American Revolution and just came to light in England last year. Loring left his mansion in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston in 1774 and hid the large bowl in a well. Loring and his family moved to London in 1776. After the Revolutionary War, his son rescued the bowl and took it to England. It stayed in the family for all these years until the family decided to sell. This bowl was sold with two 19th century letters from members of the Loring family that reveal the bowl's history."

It appears that historians and antiques dealers/collectors are still trying to figure out why a silver bowl from the colonial period would fetch such a large sum!

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