TROPHY NAPKIN RING FROM “THE FIRST REBEL SHIP CAPTURED BY US”

$399.00 ON HOLD
Originally $495.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 846-247

This hard rubber napkin ring, measuring about 1 by 2 inches, is decorated with border and center lines and with applied silver stars on either side of a small applied rectangular silver plaque. The stars have incised lines and the plaque has a border and interior floral bordered cartouche with room for initials or an inscription, but is blank.

With this is a great, period display card with a pencil inscription reading: “Rubber napkin ring with silver stars and plate. It was made on board the first rebel ship captured by us at the Revolution.” The use of “Revolution” might suggest a piece captured during the American Revolution by a British vessel from American patriots, a notion that would have appealed greatly to southerners in 1861, but hard rubber was only invented in the mid-1850s, when it became popular for all sorts of products, like napkin rings. (Woshner illustrates a box of them made by the Beacon Dam, Co., under Goodyear’s patent (p. 53.) They apparently came in different sizes and, likely, styles.) The style of the engraving on the plaque is also typically mid-1800s.

The display tag says it was made on board the captured vessel, which is likely true in part. The ring itself, and perhaps the plaque, was a commercial product, but the two stars certainly look like additions. The identity of the vessel, or its captor, is not stated, and it is a little ambiguous whether the “us” refers to United States forces or a particular ship’s crew, but it is exactly the sort of early war souvenir that would catch the eye of a member of a Yankee prize crew boarding an enemy vessel - an ornamental and useful souvenir for the folks back home. The quality certainly suggests it came from the nicely appointed dining cabin of a blockade runner or private vessel in Confederate service.

The ring is brown color, typical of hard rubber products, and the silver has a nice uncleaned patina that still shows off its detail. Alongside its note, it makes a very attractive display and would go well in a Navy or Confederate blockade running collection.  [sr] [ph:L]

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