18th Century Silver By Thomas Gilpin

Though often mentioned in the same breath as Paul Storr and other famous silversmiths, little is known about Thomas Gilpin, who worked in the 1750s. He made some very large and extremely decorative silver items, some in collections at the Althorpe and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From cursory research online (often reliable … but not always), we find that he was likely born in County of Bedford circa 1703 and apprenticed, for a sum of 40 pounds, to John Wells, a silversmith and pawnbroker in 1720. He gained his
freedom about a decade later, according to an advertisement in 1730 noting “Goldsmith at ye Acorn in ye Strand.” One of his last addresses was as a “largeworker” (maker of tureens and larger items like candelabras) at Lincoln Inn’s Back Gate.

The Yin & Yang Of Artisan Silver

When an Illinois pawnbroker first sent us pictures of this colossal tureen, we were very excited and gave a sizable auction estimate. Upon arrival, we were dismayed to find evidence of VERY crude testing (if your jeweler scrapes, gouges, uses acid or other destructive actions on fine metals, please, get a new jeweler!) – but also a missing petal in the foliage on the handle.

Destructive testing wasn’t needed since the hallmark is clean and any seasoned jeweler would know that without damaging it.

While several similar tureens by Gilpin – the same size, but more decorative and in better condition – have achieved auction records of $5,000 to $10,000, we were forced due to the damage to set a more modest auction estimate
of $2,500 to $3,500.

Gilpin silver

Sterling Silver Soup Tureen Antique Collection

Please note that we are always buying silver. We will beat all offers on simple scrap and on fine expensive            silver as well.

Go ahead. Google us. Three former sothebyscom associates and two art historians on staff.                                              You read about us in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Fortune magazine.

Do you have expensive fine art for sale?                                                                                                                                  Contact us! We have sold the contents of museums and collections for USF.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Always buying rare and valuable items.

Cash or auction.

We make house calls statewide.

This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

Continue reading

Never miss an article

Share This Article