American Late Colonial or Early Federal teapot stand by Ephraim Brasher of New York City, c.1770 - 1790.
This wonderful teapot tray is 7 5/8" long, 95 3/8" wide, 7/8" tall and weighs 205 grams or 6.6 ozs. Troy.
It bears the EB mark of Brasher′s, stamped twice, and a later mark: Old Silver, likely applied by an early 20th Century silver dealer. Seymour Wyler was known to have marked his antique silver in such fashion. Not generally practiced by dealers in Antique Silver today, such a mark adds interest to this already special piece.
The center of the tray has a later monogram: MME. There are no removals and the scroll feet are in excellent condition.
Monogrammed as described above, the soft, warm, original finish is present, with no buffing or machine polishing.
The excellent original condition and clear detail, with no removals, repairs or alterations, make this an especially attractive offering.
This is truly a rare form from an iconic American Silversmith.
Ephraim Brasher (pronounced Bray-zher) lived just a few feet from President Washington in New York. Washington resided at 3 Cherry Street and Brasher lived next door at 1 Cherry Street. Some sources give the address of Brasher as 5 Cherry Street. Cherry Hill was a fashionable section of New York in the 18th century, located just north of the Manhattan side of the present day Brooklyn Bridge. His business address was 77 Queen Street, not too far north of his home.
Brasher was born in 1744 and lived to 1810, the entire 66 years a resident of New York City. He was married to Anne Gilbert on November 8, 1766. Ann was a sister of another New York silversmith, William Gilbert. Some sources state that Brasher did not have any children with Anne, or with his second wife, Mary Austin, whom he married in 1797, sometime after Anneâ€™s death. Other sources suggest that he did. Indeed, an article by Richard Bagg and Q. David Bowers in the February 1980 issue of The Numismatist, â€œEphraim Brasher, Originator of the Famous Brasher Doubloon,â€ mentions Ephraimâ€™s great-great-great granddaughter, Deborah. This alone would suggest that he did have children. Ephraim and Abraham Brasher both served their apprenticeship with a silversmith, whose name (or names) are not known today. Ephraim took his studies seriously, and today there is beautiful silverware that survives with his counterstamp. Little is known about Abraham or his work, but Ephraim did excellent work and many pieces of his craft are seen in New York and New England museums.
Brasher was also a respected member of the community. In his March 1987 Coinage article, â€œThe Brasher Bicentennial,â€ David T. Alexander noted: â€œIn the late 1700â€™s, silversmiths and goldsmiths were particularly respected members of the community, often acting as bankers, assayers, and authenticators of the Babel of gold and silver coins of the world which circulated in the bullion-starved colonies and the new republic.â€
Not only were Washington and Brasher neighbors, but Washington was also a customer of Brasher. He owned numerous silver pieces made by Brasher, including a number of silver skewers with a surviving receipt. It was certainly important for Washington to make a good impression at state dinners, which he did with the assistance of his Brasher silver.
Ephraim Brasher was a member of the New York Provincial Army in 1775 and 1776, serving the role of grenadier. He retired from the militia in 1796 with the rank of Major. Later, he served local politics in New York, almost like serving national posts at the time. New York was the leader of banking and foreign trade, and was also the new national capital. Brasher served on the New York Evacuation Committee in 1783, marking the departure of British troops from New York City. He also served as sanitary commissioner from 1784 to 1785, coroner from 1786 to 1791, assistant justice from 1794 to 1797, election inspector from 1796 to 1809, and commissioner of excise from 1806 to 1810. In addition to all of his service, and his private business affairs, Brasher served the United States Mint in the early 1790s. This is known from a Treasury Warrant in the amount of $27, paid to John Shield as â€œassignee of Ephraim Brasher.â€ This warrant was specifically identified as a payment for assaying work that Brasher performed in 1792 for the Mint, following instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury.
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