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.