This ship remains a mystery to its owners


The original purpose of this pot has been a mystery to its owner. COURTESY PHOTO

Part of the joy of owning an antique is meditating on the mystery of the coin.

When was it made? That he has done? And how was it used?

Some things can remain a mystery.

“After following your columns for years, I finally suggest that you send a photo of a family heirloom that my husband and I have been trying to identify for 60 years,” writes Susan Mills of North Palm Beach.

The piece is certainly eye-catching.

“This is a beautiful, cobalt blue enamel vessel with a silver plaque around the top edge and above the handles,” Ms. Mills writes. “The cover has the same decoration around the rim, but the central ornament, an artichoke and leaves, seems to be in pewter. The nut holding the ornament is handmade. The interior shows a lot of cracklings over the years.

She anticipated my question – any notes?

“The only marking is a swirled 7/6 combo incised in the unglazed base,” she writes.

He has a family history.



“Family folklore says my husband’s grandmother brought it from England in 1884,” Ms. Mills writes.

But it has a way of evolving.

“Since she was only 2 years old, I doubt it. Maybe it was the great-grandmother. The young family arrived in New York, moved to Philadelphia and then to Boston in just a few years, ”she writes. “My husband’s grandmother grew up in Boston, worked in retail, and considered herself an upper middle class woman. My theory is that she bought the “jug” in Boston in the early 1900s.

The grandmother may well have acquired it at that time.

Either way, Ms Mills and her husband have likely owned the room for the better part of its existence.

“My husband and I have had this at our house since our marriage in 1963 and neither of us can remember how it happened to us,” she writes. “It was the topic of conversation in our house. “

They showed it to the antique dealers.

“No one can tell us what country he is from or what his purpose is,” she wrote. “Maybe one of your readers has seen something like this and can solve the mystery.

My first thought was that it was either meant to be used as a cookie jar or as a humidifier.

The piece measures 7 inches in diameter at the base and 6 inches in height to the edge. With the lid, it is 9 inches tall.

The cover itself is made of the same ceramic as the base of the coin and is coated with its silver trim – I don’t think it’s pewter.

The design of an artichoke suggests to me that it was made for storing food – and a longtime antique friend suggests it was a cookie jar – especially given its size. A humidifier, designed to hold tobacco, would also likely have a space at the top of the lid to hold a sponge to keep the tobacco moist; This is not the case.

It is European and probably dates from the fourth quarter of the 19th century. It is possible that he has identifying marks in the silverware that defy the naked eye. It’s attractive and has an air of mystery about it. Consider family ties and do you really need anything else?

Share your treasures!

Please send a clear photo or two to [email protected] and tell me how you acquired the piece and what makes it interesting or special. |

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