John Hull (c.1624-1683) and Robert Sanderson (c.1608-1693), the first working silversmiths in North America, became the Colonies' first mint masters when the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a mint in 1652. In that year, they established a partnership producing silver objects as well as coins, most notably the famous "Pine Tree" shilling. Trained in England, Sanderson moved to America for religious reasons, while Hull was brought to Massachusetts as a boy by his staunchly Puritan parents in 1635.
King Charles II resented the coining of colonial currency, and "in great wrath questioned" Sir Thomas Temple (d. 1674), the first agent of the legislature of the Massachusetts colony to London (Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors, 1917, p. 18). Sir Thomas also personally commissioned a silver dram cup from John Hull in 1673, at a cost of 8 shillings (John Hull's Ledger Books, Vol. I, p. 37V).
Only 30 surviving pieces of hollowware and six spoons have been recorded from their 31-year partnership; the recent discovery of this cup by a Massachusetts family, descendants of the original owners, adds a 31st object to this group. While five full-size caudle cups survive, there is only one other miniature or "toy" caudle cup by these makers (in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). With its wide band of flat-chased ornament framed by punched beading, this cup relates to two examples at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and to the Joanna Yorke cup given to the church in Quincy (sold Sotheby's, New York, 19 January 2001, lot 253). The twisted-wire handles appear to match those on a dram cup, circa 1670, also at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see Kathryn C. Buhler, American Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1972, figs. 4, 5, and 6).
For full biographies of Hull and Sanderson, see Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers, 1998, pp. 567-572 and 882-886.
IMAGE CAPTION: Pine Tree Shilling of 1652, by Hull and Sanderson, mint masters for the Massachusetts Bay Colony