• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2091

    Important American Silver

    17 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 133

    A PAIR OF SILVER ICE TONGS

    MARK OF GORHAM MFG. CO., PROVIDENCE, CIRCA 1870

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF SILVER ICE TONGS
    MARK OF GORHAM MFG. CO., PROVIDENCE, CIRCA 1870
    Formed as two harpoons entwined with rope, the spring surmounted by a polar bear, the spoon pierced with stylized leaves, later engraved with monogram EHD, marked on spoon, also marked 63
    12¼ in. long; 5 oz.


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    This pair of tongs was made to be paired with an ice bowl first introduced on April 15, 1870. The ice bowl proved very popular, and was sometimes accompanied by a serving spoon; the matching ice tongs are an even greater rarity. The iconography of these tongs relates to the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. Also at this time, the Bostonian, Frederic Tudor (1783-1864) developed the technology to harvest, market, and sell ice to an affluent audience. Ice was a luxury, and these ice tongs and bowls provided the perfect accessory to a status symbol. (See: Samuel J. Hough, "The Class of 1870: Gorham Sterling Ice Bowls," Silver Magazine, September-October 1989, pp. 30-33)

    A pair of tongs and an ice bowl were sold in these Rooms, January 15, 2004, lot 135.