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New Acquisition: Rare Service Plate From the President's USS Williamsburg

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

USS Williamsburg plate

A STUNNING AND RARE SERVICE PLATE FROM THE USS WILLIAMSBURG CHINA IS NOW PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a very rare – and exceptionally beautiful – service plate to augment his outstanding collection of Presidential and White House China. This lovely 10-1/2” plate was owned for decades by Capt. Jack Kevers, USN. Mr. Amyx acquired it from Capt. Kevers’ great-grandson, who noted his ancestor “rubbed shoulders with many of the historic figures of the day.”

Indeed he did. Those historic figures included Admiral Richard Byrd and Winston Churchill as well as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was FDR who figures in the provenance of this service plate. Capt. Kevers served in the White House as Assistant Naval Aide to President Roosevelt and was later named Commanding Officer of the first Presidential yacht, Potomac. The Potomac was often referred to as the “Floating White House.” When it was replaced by the USS Williamsburg, Capt. Kevers continued as CO.

Captain Jack Kevers

CAPTAIN JACK KEVERS AT THE HELM WITH F.D.R AS ONE OF HIS PASSENGERS.

Why is this plate so rare? It comes from a china service that was ordered from Lenox in 1944 for use on the USS Williamsburg. The yacht was considered a “vacation ship” to travel between Washington, DC and Florida. It included a formal dining room because passengers sometimes included important dignitaries such as Churchill. The china for this dining room had to be much finer than the everyday dishes used by the crew.

USS Williamsburg

THE PRESIDENTIAL YACHT - THE USS WILLIAMSBURG - SERVED AS THE HOME FOR THIS RARE CHINA COLLECTION UNTIL THE YACHT WAS DECOMMISSIONED AND ALL CHINA PIECES WERE MOVED TO CAMP DAVID.

For obvious reasons, the formal dining room aboard the yacht was far smaller than the formal dining room at the White House, capable of seating only about two dozen diners. It is not known exactly how many pieces were in the order, though only a small number of place settings and service pieces would have been needed. By contrast, FDR’s official White House China consisted of 220 pieces.

The elegantly simple design was chosen personally by FDR. It is entirely different from Roosevelt’s official White House China. The plate features the official federal eagle centered on a white ground. As was still the tradition at this time, the eagle is facing a quiver of arrows, not the olive branch clasped on his other side. The rim is decorated with a pair of dark blue and gold bands, separated by a wide buff band studded with 13 gold stars representing the original American colonies. (In 1947, Truman officially reversed the official motif so that the eagle would forever face the olive branch of peace.)

FDR White House China

LENOX PRODUCED THIS TIMELESS DESIGN FOR THE FRANKLIN AND ELENOR ROOSEVELT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA. THIS ELEGANT DINNER PLATE DISPLAYS THE HISTORIC ROOSEVELT FAMILY COAT OF ARMS - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

The Williamsburg plates were manufactured by Lenox and represent the same high-quality china as the White House China made for FDR and Truman. The service plates were by far the most beautiful pieces among this set – not unusual because it is these plates that are pre-set to visually welcome dinner guests to the table.

Franklin Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, without ever having a chance to enjoy his new china or even to see the final product. However, President Truman used the china onboard the yacht, the only president to do so. Later, when President Eisenhower decommissioned the USS Williamsburg, the china service was moved to Camp David. It remained in use there until President Ronald and Nancy Reagan “retired” the service in lieu of something new.

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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945)
OUR 32ND PRESIDENT (1933-1945)

For Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, acquiring this stunning piece is an exception in his lifetime of collecting important Presidential memorabilia. Normally, he notes, he isn’t interested in china from the yachts or from Air Force One, because these dishes are plentiful and, therefore, not particularly valuable to top-end collectors.

However, he admits, “If you’re a smart and serious collector, you have to have this plate because it’s more beautiful than many other pieces of White House China.”

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

 

Tags: USS Williamsburg

Ulysses S Grant: Cigars, Cocaine and Cancer

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

450px-Ulysses_Grant_1870-1880-resized-600.jpg

ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885)
OUR 18TH PRESIDENT (1869-1877)

With former President Jimmy Carter’s dramatic victory over cancer in the news, it makes one wonder how many other presidents have had a brush with cancer. As it turns out, several of them have experienced this disease first-hand, either while in office or afterward. But only Ulysses S. Grant actually perished from the disease.

President Grant died on July 23, 1885, from throat cancer. Grant was a notorious, lifelong cigar-lover. He not only smoked them but chewed them – as many as a dozen a day by his own admission. Historians report that once the public discovered his love of cigars, he received more than 20,000 as gifts. Grant was also a heavy drinker at times during his life.

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GENERAL GRANT'S HANDSOME MAHOGANY CIGAR CASE WITH A BRASS SHIELD MONOGRAMMED "USG-1862". THIS PROFOUND RELIC WAS PRESENTED TO RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX ABOUT A QUARTER-CENTURY AGO.

Grant’s wife Julia remembers her husband was eating peaches – a favorite of his – when he first noticed a problem with his throat. “He proceeded to eat the dainty morsel; then he started up as if in great pain and exclaimed, ‘Oh my. I think something has stung me from that peach.’” Unfortunately, he ignored that warning.

GRANT-W.H._CHINA_FULL_FRT._whc_grant_dessert.jpg

THE GRANT WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES 24 DIFFERENT FLOWERS REPRESENTING 24 DIFFERENT STATES. THIS ELEGANT 9.25" STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE COLLECTION OF ULYSSES AND JULIA GRANT IS STILL IN PRISTINE CONDITION AND PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

The victim of a shady investment scheme, Grant found himself broke later in life. Knowing he was dying of throat cancer, he accepted a lucrative offer from his longtime admirer Mark Twain to write and publish his memoirs. Despite Grant’s terrible pain and failing health, they worked together for five weeks in a cottage on the grounds of the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The house is now the Grant Cottage Historic Site, where several of his personal effects are on display.

Grant_Historical_Cottage.jpg

GRANT COTTAGE STATE HISTORICAL SITE ON THE SLOPE OF MOUNT McGREGOR IN WILTON, NEW YORK. THIS COZY COTTAGE IS WHERE GRANT COMPLETED HIS MEMOIRS BEFORE PASSING AWAY IN HIS BED ON JUNE 16, 1885. ORIGINAL FURNISHINGS, DECOR AND PERSONAL ITEMS ARE ON DISPLAY IN THE COTTAGE.

Perhaps the most interesting item is the glass of cocaine hydro chlorate solution, which Grant called his “cocaine water.” Swallowing small amounts of the liquid was the only treatment available to him. By the time Grant sought medical help for the pain and swelling in his mouth, the cancer was untreatable. But the cocaine solution helped alleviate the pain in his throat. Over time, the cocaine in the solution has settled to the bottom of the glass. Tim Welch, director of the Grant Historic Site, says, “Every year the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation measures this and makes sure that none of it is gone.”

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THIS CHINESE PORCELAIN FISH PLATE IS ONE OF ONLY 24 ORDERED FOR THE GRANT SERVICE, WHICH THEY SELECTED WHILE TOURING EUROPE. THIS UNIQUE PATTERNED PLATE IS IN REMARKABLE CONDITION AND PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

Ulysses Grant passed away just a few days after his memoirs were completed. His family reportedly received more than $450,000 from the sale of 300,000-plus copies of his memoirs, an inordinately huge sum of money for this period of history.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

 

Tags: Ulysses S. Grant

Abraham Lincoln: Pardoner of Turkeys, Lover of Cats

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Sun, Jan 03, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Abraham Lincoln 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865)
OUR 16TH PRESIDENT (1861-1865)  

This past Thanksgiving, the President of the United States once again pardoned a turkey, saving the bird forever from becoming part of our nation’s annual feast. Did you know that tradition started with President Abraham Lincoln?

As President, in 1863 Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” He received a turkey as a special dinner gift for this new holiday, but his son Tad stepped in to ask that his father spare the bird.

Obama pardoning a turkeyPRESIDENT OBAMA PERFORMING THE ANNUAL THANKSGIVING TRADITION OF PARDONING A TURKEY 

An historical anecdote relates that after shooting a turkey as a youth, Lincoln was so upset at what he had done he vowed never to hunt animals again. That was an exceptionally unusual decision, given that Lincoln grew up on the frontier. Nonetheless, Lincoln overtly loved all animals and believed they should be treated with the same care and compassion as people. “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights,” he said. “That is the way of a whole human being.”

Lincoln once backtracked a half-mile because he’d seen a pig stuck in a bog and wanted to help it out.

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A STUNNING 9.25" STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE COLLECTION OF ABRAHAM AND MARY TODD LINCOLN - STILL IN PRISTINE CONDITION. NOW IN THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX.

While practicing as a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln adopted a mutt as a pet – another unheard of practice on the frontier. He named the dog Fido, Latin for “fidelity,” and it went everywhere with him including to the dining table where Lincoln petted the dog and shared his meals with him. However, when it was time for the newly elected President and his family to move from Illinois to Washington, DC, they worried the long trip and confusion would upset their beloved Fido.

Instead they left the dog with a neighbor, extracting a long list of promises regarding the dog’s care and treatment. They even left behind Fido’s favorite horsehair sofa so he’d have a familiar place to sleep.

After settling in at the White House, the Lincolns acquired a new dog, named Jip. This dog also shared meals and cuddling at the table with his master. Besides the dog, the Lincoln White House included rabbits and two pet goats, Nanny and Nanko. Allowed to wander grounds and house, the goats were the bane of housekeeping staff, chewing flowers and furniture alike. But the President adored those goats. The Lincoln sons Tad and Willie also adored the goats, hitching them to carts or the kitchen chairs for a ride.

lincoln white house china

FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX: ONE OF ONLY FOUR SERVING PIECES IN LINCOLN'S ORIGINAL "BUFF" WHITE HOUSE CHINA ORDER, THIS RARE AND PRISTINE 10" WHITE SERVING DISH DISPLAYS CLASSIC GOLD AND BUFF ACCENTS.

But our sixteenth president was most devoted to cats, so much so that his wife once claimed cats were her husband’s hobby. Secretary of State William Seward bestowed two kittens on Lincoln as a White House gift. The President loved to spend hours petting the cats and talking to them. And, as he did with Jip, he fed his kitties at the table. One time he used a gold fork to do that, which was too much for Mrs. Lincoln. His response? “If a gold fork was good enough for former President Buchanan, it’s good enough for Tabby.”

lincoln old bob statue

A LIFE SIZE BRONZE STATUE OF LINCOLN AND HIS HORSE "OLD BOB" - CREATED BY IVAN SCHWARTZ AND FEATURED IN THE GARDENS OF LINCOLN'S COTTAGE IN WASHINGTON D.C.

As befitted a lifelong animal lover, Abraham Lincoln’s beloved horse Old Bob served as the rider-less horse in his master’s funeral following Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

 

Tags: Abraham Lincoln

FRANKLIN Pierce: THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

franklin pierce 

FRANKLIN PIERCE (1804-1869)
OUR 14TH PRESIDENT (1853-1857)  

For most Americans, when we think of President Franklin Pierce, we draw a blank. Pierce simply wasn’t that memorable, especially compared to our many high-profile leaders. Perhaps that is because our 14th President was most notable as a contrarian and for the tragic loss of his children.

Some historians consider Franklin Pierce the worst president the United States has ever had. He served just one term, from 1853 to 1857, yet he managed to accomplish two “firsts” with that. He was nominated as the first-ever presidential “dark horse” candidate in American history. Pierce was more or less a political unknown at the time and won the nomination only after Democratic Party representatives went through four dozen ballots unable to agree on anyone better known.

Pierce’s political failures while in office caused his fellow Democrats to turn their backs on him four years later. Although he wanted to serve a second term, they refused him another nomination. Franklin Pierce became the first sitting president to suffer that insult.

franklin pierce white house china

FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX: AN INTRICATE PLATE FROM THE FRANKLIN PIERCE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA - IMPORTED AND DECORATED BY HAUGHWOT & DAILY, NEW YORK. THIS WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN DECORATED CHINA SERVICE EVER PURCHASED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.

Born in New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce gained notoriety as a Northerner with a Southern attitude toward slavery. Pierce was an expansionist and dedicated considerable effort to adding territory. However, because of his stance in favor of slavery, many saw these efforts as a covert ploy to expand the practice. So instead of quietly maintaining the peace between pro- and anti-slavery factors – the nation’s expectation of his presidency – Pierce’s actions fanned the flames of controversy.

Pierce continued to argue in favor of slavery after he left office, and was an overt opponent of Abraham Lincoln.

He went against the grain in other ways, too. At his inauguration, he merely affirmed his oath of office by placing his hand on one of his law books rather than swearing on a Bible. Interestingly, he gave his entire inaugural speech – 3,319 words’ worth -- from memory. Pierce punctuated that by cancelling his inaugural ball.

first lady jane pierce

FORMER FIRST LADY JANE PIERCE (1806-1863) WITH THEIR ELDEST SON BENNIE WHO TRAGICALLY DIED IN A TRAIN WRECK AT AGE 11

Pierce’s wife Jane suffered from frail health and depression throughout her life, and the couple’s three sons all perished before the age of 12. Franklin, Jr. died just three days after his birth in 1836. Frank Robert was born in 1839 but died four years later during a typhoid epidemic. And Benjamin, known affectionately to his parents as “Bennie,” died horribly in a train wreck just two months before his father took office as President. Bennie, 11 years old at the time, was the only person to die in the accident.

For much of his life, Franklin Pierce vacillated between alcoholism and advocating temperance. His wife was devoutly religious, and it was through her he first became active in the temperance movement. But his dependence on alcohol during trying times became more prominent as he aged, and ultimately he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1869.

franklin pierce

FRANKLIN PIERCE BEGAN THE TRADITION OF DISPLAYING A CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

There was, however, one bright note in Pierce’s presidency: he was the first President to put up a Christmas tree in the White House.  

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|
RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

 

Tags: Franklin Pierce

James K. Polk: A Short Life Full of Major Accomplishments

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Dec 09, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

james k polk 

JAMES K. POLK (1795-1849)
OUR 11TH PRESIDENT (1845-1849)  

President James K. Polk is perhaps best remembered with the slogan, “54° 40’ or fight.” After all, if it wasn’t for Polk’s leadership and tenacity in promoting geographic expansion, Texas and the Pacific Northwest may never have become part of the United States. Nonetheless, our 11th president accomplished several other “firsts” and was unique in many lesser-known ways.

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A MAGNIFICENTLY PRESERVED 9" DESSERT PLATE PURCHASED AND USED BY PRESIDENT JAMES K. POLK - NOW IN THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

Polk was a one-term President, serving from 1845 to 1849. It may have been his personal toughness that enabled him to lead the country through this tumultuous period. When he was only 17, he had surgery to remove gallstones that had bedeviled him throughout his childhood. The surgery was performed without benefit of either sterilization or anesthesia, because neither existed at that time, though anesthesia was invented while Polk was President.

Home-schooled as a young boy, James Polk had no formal education until the age of 18. Nonetheless, he was accepted as a sophomore to the University of North Carolina in 1816. He graduated in just two years, earning top honors in the classics and mathematics.

james k polk

WELL EDUCATED FORMER FIRST LADY SARAH CHILDRESS         (1803-1891) 

Polk’s wife, the former Sarah Childress, was also very well educated, a rarity for women in those days. As the daughter of a wealthy Tennessee plantation owner and merchant, she was privileged to attend the Salem Female Academy in North Carolina. Throughout their time together she helped her husband write letters and speeches and served as his confidential political and intellectual sounding-board and advisor.

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A PRISTINE 9.5" SHALLOW SOUP BOWL FROM THE JAMES K. POLK WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - NOW IN THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

At the time he was elected, James K. Polk was the youngest person ever elected to the presidency – the first President under 50. He was also the youngest president to die, excluding assassinations. He was only 53 when he passed away, just three months after leaving office. That made him the only President to die before age 60, and the one to enjoy the shortest-ever presidential retirement. Some historians speculate Polk died of cholera, whereas others attribute his early death to lifelong frail health. As it turned out, he predeceased his own mother by three years.

james k polk

JAMES K. POLK INITIATED THE TRADITION OF PUTTING UP A CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE WHITE HOUSE  
 
James K. Polk was the first and only President who had previously served as Speaker in the House of Representatives. He was the first President to win an election without carrying either his home state or his state of residence. And he was the only president to use a law book instead of the Bible for his swearing-in ceremony. Polk was also the first President to put up a Christmas tree in the White House.
 
Overall, James K. Polk is highly regarded to this day for his achievements, especially his work to enlarge the territory of the United States. In a study jointly published in the year 2000 by the Wall Street Journal and the Federalist Society, James K. Polk was voted as one of the "near-great" Presidents of the United States. (There were only three Presidents listed in the "Great" category: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.)

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

 

Tags: james k. polk

CASTLETON CHINA: AN IVORY TOWER FOR FOREIGN CHINA MANUFACTURErS IN WWII

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Dec 03, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

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LYNDON B. JOHNSON AND LADY BIRD JOHNSON WERE THE SECOND PRESIDENTIAL COUPLE TO USE CASTLETON CHINA TO MANUFACTURE THEIR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA. THE EISENHOWERS WERE THE FIRST.

Castleton China is out of business now, but they were a highly respected pottery manufacturer during their heyday, even producing a set of Official Service Plates for President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Mamie, and a full White House China set for President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife Lady Bird.

The company was actually known by several names during its history. It started in 1901 as the New Castle China Company, located in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, the company acquired nearby Shenango Pottery and operated under that name for several years. Shenango produced several types of pottery, primarily dinnerware for hotels.

The Shenango name was taken from a Seneca tribe that had relocated in the Shenango Valley. Some of the company’s products in earlier years featured identification marks on the bottom that depicted Native American motifs, one of which showed an Indian decorating a piece of pottery. The company grew and became quite successful, but a tremendous flood in 1913 and, later, the economic hard times of the Great Depression caused significant fluctuations in the company’s fortunes.

Shenago_Pottery2.jpg

SHENANGO CHINA LOGO DEPICTING A NATIVE AMERICAN PAINTING A PIECE OF POTTERY - NEW CASTLE, PA.

Throughout the ups and downs, company leader James McMath Smith devoted consistent energy to finding and developing alternative sources for glaze materials, because coal and other traditional materials were expensive and in short supply. That brought him to the attention of William Haviland in Limoges, France.

Beginning in the mid-1930s, Haviland made a deal to partner with Smith, producing the world-renowned Haviland China in America at the New Castle production facility. Haviland had two goals: to protect his company from potential ruin in the event of a Nazi invasion of France, and to eliminate high American import duties by producing china domestically for the US market. This highly successful partnership lasted until 1958.

Meanwhile, the equally famous German china manufacturer Rosenthal also sought a partnership with Shenango, again out of fear that impending war would put them out of business. This arrangement was formalized under the name Castleton China. After World War II, Shenango bought out Rosenthal’s share of the partnership, continuing to produce china under the Castleton name.

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 INTRICATE SERVICE PLATE FROM THE  LYNDON B. JOHNSON WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - 1968 - MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON CHINA. THIS HANDSOME PLATE IS NOW IN THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX.

Thus it came that LBJ and Lady Bird were able to order a full service of Castleton China for their Official White House China. Interestingly, their dishes were actually designed by Tiffany’s. This was the only time Tiffany’s designed an entire presidential china service, although the company had been previously commissioned by Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower to design a set of 120 service plates to augment existing White House china.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

Tags: White House China

Andrew Jackson: A Life of Luck or Divine Providence?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

Andrew Jackson 

ANDREW JACKSON (1767-1845)
PRESIDENT (1829-1837)  

Andrew Jackson achieved notoriety as the first sitting American president to become the target of an assassination attempt. However, that historic event was not Jackson’s first escape from death.

Fatherless since infancy, 13-year-old Andrew Jackson joined the Continental Army, along with his older brothers Hugh and Robert, to fight the British. Because Andrew was too young to qualify for a combat role, he served as a courier. Nonetheless, he and Robert were captured by the British and held prisoner. During this time, young Andrew reportedly refused to polish the boots of a British officer, who promptly drew his sword and slashed at Jackson, hitting him in the head and hand. Jackson carried the scars the rest of his life.

While prisoners, Andrew and Robert both contracted smallpox. They were released, but Robert died shortly thereafter. Andrew managed to survive the dual ordeal of prison and life-threatening illness. To this day, he remains the only U.S. President ever to have been a prisoner of war.

Andrew Jackson

PRESIDENT JACKSON BECAME KNOWN AS A MILITARY HERO FOR THE LEADERSHIP ROLE HE PLAYED IN THE WAR OF 1812, WHICH LASTED TWO AND HALF YEARS

More than a half-century later, President Andrew Jackson traveled from the White House to the Capitol to attend a congressional funeral, on January 30, 1835. As he was leaving the House chamber afterward, a man pulled out a pistol and fired at Jackson. The pistol jammed, but the attempted shot angered the President, who took after the man with his cane. The man pulled out a second pistol and shot at Jackson again, and this pistol also jammed. Thankfully, at this point the prospective assassin was restrained and arrested. He was identified as Richard Lawrence, an unemployed painter.

Embroiled in a political battle over his refusal to back refunding of the Bank of the United States, the President believed Lawrence had been hired by his Whig opponents to kill him. Worried that he might be the next target, Vice President Martin Van Buren made a point of carrying two loaded pistols when visiting the Capitol.

Andrew Jackson

OUR NATION'S SEVENTH PRESIDENT HAS A CONSTANT PRESENCE IN OUR DAILY LIVES ON THE FACE OF THE AMERICAN TWENTY DOLLAR BILL 
Over the years, scholars have considered President Jackson’s Whig party conspiracy theory unfounded. And, in fact, Lawrence’s behavior before and during his trial was so bizarre that the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. Richard Lawrence spent the rest of his life in a mental institution.

President Jackson was indeed lucky to elude death twice in quick succession thanks to the misfiring pistols. The odds of that happening were 1 in 125,000. Smithsonian Institution researchers wondered what had happened, so a century after the assassination attempt occurred, they examined the two pistols. They found both guns to be in good working order, and the mystery of the malfunctions has never been solved.

In the end, Andrew Jackson believed he had been spared by divine providence.
RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

Tags: Andrew Jackson

Wedgwood: How Adding Blue "Broke the Mold" for this China manufacturer

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Nov 03, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

A fish plate from Theodore Roosevelt's White House china

STATELY PORCELAIN PLATE FROM THE THEODORE ROOSEVELT WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - 1903 - DISPLAYS ELEGANT WEDGWOOD HAND-CRAFTSMANSHIP - FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX  

When it comes to companies that manufacture luxury china, Wedgwood is certainly a household name. Yet there has been just one Presidential household that ordered Official White House China from Wedgwood – that of Teddy and Edith Roosevelt.

Rather than commissioning a custom pattern or designing one themselves, Mrs. Roosevelt reportedly picked her pattern from a group of samples -- a pattern that happened to be a Wedgwood design. Of course it became a uniquely-custom pattern when the Presidential Seal was added to the decoration.

Edith Roosevelt ordered the 1,320-piece service to correspond with a major expansion of the State Dining Room. They had hoped to “buy American,” but unfortunately at the time no U.S. manufacturer could produce the quantities or match the quality of European companies.

Wedgwood China

ORNATE SAMPLES FROM THE WEDGWOOD CHINA COLLECTION OF ENGLAND'S QUEEN CHARLOTTE - 1762

Although Wedgwood has never been a popular choice among American presidents, the company has been a favorite for centuries with British and foreign leaders, dating back to England’s Queen Charlotte. She was so taken by the cream-colored earthenware Josiah Wedgwood created for her in 1762, it became known as Queen’s Ware and he started calling himself “Potter to Her Majesty.” With her royal permission, naturally.

Every British monarch since Queen Charlotte has purchased china from Wedgwood. Beyond Britain, Russian Empress Catherine the Great ordered her own service of Queen’s Ware with hand-painted English countryside and garden scenes. More recent Russians have purchased Wedgwood for the Kremlin, at least one Pope chose the company to produce china for the Vatican and, of course, the Roosevelts ordered their 120-piece set of White House China in 1903.

Wedgwood China

THIS EXQUISITE JASPERWARE PLATE EXHIBITS THE ICONIC "WEDGWOOD BLUE" - ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR COLOR CHOICES IN WEDGWOOD CERAMICS 
But Wedgwood’s biggest claim to dinnerware fame comes from the entirely unique and highly distinctive colors of the pottery. While other manufacturers have stayed with traditional white or shades of cream as background colors – the native colors of the clay used, with the occasional minor addition such as bone – Wedgwood ceramics come in colors. “Wedgwood blue” is the most famous.

Josiah Wedgwood wasn’t simply a talented potter, he was an artist who dedicated his life to innovation in functional and decorative ceramics. His original Queen’s Ware is still produced today. In 1768, he introduced Black Basalt, another ceramic body that is still well-known, and in 1774, he unveiled Jasperware, considered the company’s most iconic product.

He loved to experiment with colorizing ingredients, creating unglazed vitreous fine stoneware (not porcelain) in black, white, green, yellow, lilac and the signature shade of light blue that bears his name. Frequently his ceramics combined several colors. He used these colors as a base, over which he applied raised patterns in white.

Wedgwood China

ENGLISH AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR, BEATRIX POTTER, BROUGHT HER BELOVED PETER RABBIT TO LIFE IN THIS UNIQUE WEDGWOOD CHINA COLLECTION.

Throughout its 250-year history, the company has worked with numerous famous artists-of-the-day to create exquisite specialty designs. Wedgwood even partnered with Beatrix Potter, using her much-loved watercolors on their Peter Rabbit collection.

To this day, the company maintains its tradition of hand-craftsmanship. Although modern technology is used in the manufacturing process, an extensive apprenticeship program ensures the ages-old skills of throwing, modelling and decorating are kept alive and brought to live in their collections. Some of Wedgwood’s apprentices must work 10 years before they can be called Master Craftsmen.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

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JOHN AND J. Q. ADAMS: the Original "Adams Family"

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

John Quincy Adams

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - 1767 - 1848  
PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.A. - 1825-1829

Only twice in our nation’s history have a father and son both been elected President. Very recently, George W. Bush served as our 43rd President shortly after his father, George H. W. Bush, served as the 41st President. We have to go back to our country’s beginnings to find the other pair – John Adams, our 2nd President, and his son John Quincy Adams, who was our 6th President.

Humorously, John Adams is quoted as having told his son, “No man who ever held the office of President would congratulate a friend on obtaining it."

In many ways, John Quincy Adams’ life and political career mirrored his father’s. Both were born in Braintree, Massachusetts, educated at Harvard College and studied at the post-graduate level at Harvard University. Both served just one term as President, losing their elections for a second term.

old Harvard college, where John Quincy Adams obtained his degree

THE ESTEEMED OLD HARVARD COLLEGE, WHERE BOTH ADAMS EARNED THEIR DEGREES

Perhaps it’s not surprising that John Quincy Adams followed in his father’s political footsteps. From an early age, he accompanied John Adams when the elder statesman traveled to Europe – appointed Commissioner to France in 1778, Minister to the Netherlands in 1780 and Minister to Great Britain in 1785. John Quincy himself later served as Minister to the Netherlands, appointed in 1794.

John Adams

JOHN ADAMS - 1735 - 1826  
PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.A. - 1797-1801

John Adams, of course, was one of our Founding Fathers, a member of the Continental Congress from 1774-1778. John Quincy Adams served as United States Senator from 1803-1808 and after losing his bid for a second presidential election, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1831 until 1848. Many historians claim John Quincy accomplished much more during his Congressional career than he did while President.

During his tenure in the White House, John Quincy Adams attempted to win legislative support for what would have been the first federally-funded infrastructure projects, building canals and roads. He also sought funding for a national bank and a national university. These proposals failed. Toward the end of his term, he approved what became known as the “Tariff of Abominations,” an effort to protect American manufacturers that ended up increasing the price of goods domestically. This is considered to be the primary reason he lost his second election.

the house in Braintree, Massachusetts where John Quincy Adams was born

THE BIRTHPLACE OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, LOCATED IN BRAINTREE, MASSACHUSETTS

His father also lost his second-term election due to unpopular legislation. In John Adams’ case, it was the four laws that formed The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which were so severe they were later repealed or allowed to lapse.

No doubt thanks to everything he learned at his father’s side and during his own ambassadorial service, John Quincy Adams was more successful in foreign affairs. He helped negotiate the end of the War of 1812, and created the policy that became known as the Monroe Doctrine. He tried to expand the U. S. diplomatic service, but Congress would not approve funds for that, either.

John Quincy Adams White House China

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - CIRCA 1800 - 1814 ELEGANT ONE-PIECE 3.25" X 6.25" CUSTARD CUP - A HIGHLIGHT OF
THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

When it came to presidential entertaining, Adams father and son had very different White House China. John and Abigail Adams brought their own cornflower-patterned dinnerware purchased in France to the White House. And although John Quincy and Louisa Adams purchased a lovely Meissen service in Germany, they reportedly used only the existing Monroe china for formal White House dinners.

 

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

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Pickard China: small town company with presidential ties

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Obama White House China, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx

THE UNIQUE OBAMA OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION  WAS MANUFACTURED IN ANTIOCH, ILLINOIS BY PICKARD CHINA IN 2015

In the last century, most new sets of White House china have been manufactured by well-known companies, both European and American – Wedgwood and Lenox, for example. However, President Barack and Michelle Obama selected Pickard China of Antioch, Illinois to hand-craft their official presidential china service. The Pickard name may not be as famous as other companies that produce fine quality dinnerware, but the company works to exacting standards and has developed a dedicated, upscale clientele.

 Unveiled to the public in April, the Obama Official White House China service includes pieces with an unusual blue-green color around the rim. It’s a shade chosen by First Lady Michelle Obama and dubbed “Kailua Blue” because it represents the color of the ocean in Hawaii, where President Obama grew up.

Pickard president Andrew Pickard Morgan noted, "It was an incredible honor to be selected as the manufacturing resource for the Obama White House china service. . . producing china for the White House was certainly something that was very special for everyone working at the company."

Obama White House China, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx

THIS ELEGANT CUP AND SAUCER FROM THE 2015 OBAMA COLLECTION DISPLAY THE EXCLUSIVE "KAILUA BLUE" ACCENT COLOR SELECTED BY FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO REPRESENT HAWAII, WHERE THE PRESIDENT GREW UP

The Obamas may have been the first President and First Lady to choose Pickard to design their official legacy White House China, but this was not the first time Pickard has been called upon to supply dinnerware for use by American officials. The company was chosen in 1977 to create an official china service for the U.S. Department of State, to be used at its diplomatic missions and embassies worldwide. This china features an embossed gold border with stars and stripes and an embossed version of the Great Seal of the United States.

 Pickard was also commissioned to design and manufacture dinnerware for Camp David, which is still in use today, as well as for Blair House, the official presidential guest house in Washington, DC. Pickard also created the dinnerware used on Air Force One. In 2008, the company collaborated with the Anna Weatherly line to help produce the Magnolia Residence China Service for President George W. Bush and his wife Laura. The less formal pattern was created to be used in private quarters.

George W. Bush, Magnolia White House China, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx

THE 2008 MAGNOLIA RESIDENCE CHINA SERVICE FROM THE SECOND GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION INCLUDES ORNATE CHARGERS WITH A LARGE ELEGANT MAGNOLIA IN THE CENTER

So who is Pickard China? Founded in 1893 in Wisconsin, the company originally produced one-of-a-kind hand-painted tea and dessert sets as well as art pieces. The company moved to Antioch in 1930 and began making china dinnerware in 1937. Pickard is still a small family-owned business, extremely unusual compared to its very large “corporate” competitors. Nonetheless, it is considered one of the world’s top producers of fine china.

 Aside from the Kailua Blue band on some of the pieces, Andrew Pickard Morgan says the Obama White House china service is unique in another way. "Two of the items, the dinner plate and individual soup tureen, are unique bas-relief shapes that had to be designed from scratch for this project,” he explains. “It took us more than a year and countless trial pieces to get the individual tureen bowl completed. It was really incredible to see the group of my employees tasked with developing this item coming in early to work because they just couldn't wait to see the latest trial piece coming off one of our kilns.”

Obama Soup Turenn, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, White house China

THE INDIVIDUAL SOUP TUREEN FROM THE 2015 OBAMA COLLECTION IS A UNIQUE SHAPE THAT HAD TO BE DESIGNED FROM SCRATCH

 

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS MAY BE AVAILABLE

Tags: White House China

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