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A Fortunate Find: Clinton’s Oval Office China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

Bill Clinton oval office

THE OVAL OFFICE DURING PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON'S TERM

Being one of the nation’s most prominent collectors of Official White House China can have its advantages. Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has his ear to the ground, so to speak, and has developed connections that can lead to amazing acquisitions. People come to him offering to sell examples of Presidential porcelain that have come into their possession one way or another.

Sometimes the pieces are of interest, sometimes not, but occasionally there is something entirely unexpected. A fortunate find, you might say. And so it happened that, toward the end of 2016, Mr. Amyx was able to acquire a select treasure – a service plate from President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office China Collection.
But wait . . . what is Oval Office China?

bill clinton in oval office

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON
43RD PRESIDENT - 1993 TO 2001

Most Americans have no idea that the President has a choice of official dining rooms in which to eat during his long and busy days. We know the First Family has a private dining room in their own quarters. And we know there is a State Dining Room for hosting foreign dignitaries and other official guests on formal occasions.

New2 Clinton service plate gold

BILL CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE - THE NORTH FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE IS FEATURED IN THE CENTER OF THE PLATE TO CELEBRATE THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WHITE HOUSE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLELCTION
SEE MORE WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE

However, sometimes the President just wants to eat alone for a few moments of peace and quiet, or to hold a working breakfast or lunch with a few Cabinet members, key staff, or Congressional leaders. For those occasions, there is a more intimate space called the Oval Office Dining Room. The room is also known as the President’s West Wing study, because many chief executives have used the space to study notes, work on speeches, or watch the news on TV. And like many of us with over-booked schedules, they find themselves eating and working at the same time.

Clinton 1 dessert plate solo page

ELEGANT CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATE WITH THE WHITE HOUSE IN THE 12 O'CLOCK POSITION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The china used to serve meals here is not the same as that used for official State dinners. Nonetheless, it qualifies as Official White House China, because it is used by the sitting President, in the White House.

Mr. Amyx explains that sometime in the 1980s or 90s, the “powers that be” decided to have special china just for the Oval Office Dining Room. This private space seats just a few people -- no more than 8 or 12 with the table fully expanded – so it is easy to believe that the china service used here is produced in very small quantities, although there is no official information available about this.

Clinton OVAL OFFICE CHINA

STUNNING BILL CLINTON OVAL OFFICE CHINA PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The Clinton service plate looks like White House China from the Reagan administration, with a wide lattice border inside a gold rim and a gold Presidential insignia in the center. However, the Clinton plate features a Presidential blue color instead of the red favored by the Reagans. It is 12” in diameter, with verso markings that include the Lenox hallmark, President Clinton’s initials (W.J.C.), and the words “1998 Oval Office.”

REAGAN CUP   R.W.R. reagan cup

REAGAN CUP FEATURING THE "R.W.R." - A SIMILAR VERSO WOULD APPEAR ON THE CLINTON OVAL OFFICE CHINA (WITH A THIN BLUE LINE INSTEAD OF RED) WITH "W.J.C." AND "1998 OVAL OFFICE"  -  THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

“You could postulate that the Reagan service plate would have looked like Clinton’s,” suggests Mr. Amyx, “but with the initials R.W.R. on the back.”

ronald-reagan-white-house-china-1-2

GORGEOUS RONALD REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA STATE DINNER SERVICE PLATE FEATURES THE SAME GOLD PRESIDENTIAL EMBLEM IN THE CENTER OF THE PLATE AND A LOVELY GOLD LATTICE BORDER WITH A RED ACCENT INSTEAD OF BLUE

Mr. Amyx also owns Oval Office coffee cups from both the Reagan and Clinton collections. These are informal mugs rather than cups with saucers. The cups are decorated to match the service plates, with a gold rim and thin colored line (blue for Clinton, red for Reagan). The Presidential insignia appears on the side in gold. Both cups carry the same verso markings: the Lenox hallmark and the President’s initials.

Just as private individuals want to sell special pieces to Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, other collectors sometimes want to purchase an item from his famous collection. In the case of his Clinton Oval Office service plate, Mr. Amyx reveals he has been offered far more than he paid for the piece, but he holds out. It’s not the money, he explains. He simply prefers not to sell pieces unless he has another one in his collection. “It is too hard to find something that important and beautiful in the first place.”

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China

Where is China Stored in the White House?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

White House China room

The White House China Room in 1992

America’s Executive Mansion houses two types of Official White House China – historical pieces dating back to our country’s earliest days, and more modern collections still used to serve honored guests at formal state dinners.

Historic pieces are displayed in the China Room on the ground floor of the White House, where they can be viewed by members of the public who tour the White House. Few pieces remain of the earliest Presidential porcelain. Initial orders were small, and over time, dishes were either damaged or sold or given away as new Presidents took office and introduced their own china. Not until the 20th century was this practice of disposing of “extra” china prohibited by Congress. Since then, Official Presidential China should, ideally, either remain in the White House or be destroyed.

ColonelBingham

COLONEL THEODORE BINGHAM CIRCA 1900

Colonel Theodore Bingham is credited with establishing efforts to inventory and protect Presidential china collections. In 1897, he was appointed as the first officer in charge of public buildings and grounds, which included the White House and its publicly-owned contents. Having served as a military aide at American embassies in Europe, he knew that other countries took great care of their official artifacts. He was appalled to find no such practice here in the US, and he set about changing that.

Abby-Gunn-Baker

ABBY GUNN BAKER  - JOURNALIST AND AMATEUR HISTORIAN WHO WAS DEEPLY INVOLVED IN THE ACQUISITION AND PRESERVATION OF WHITE HOUSE CHINA

Col. Bingham reportedly told author Abby Gunn Baker (who later published an extensive book about White House China) that “if somebody does not [preserve historical china] pretty soon, there won’t be any left to preserve.”

eleanor-roosevelt-portrait-photo-1

FIRST LADY ELEANOR ROOSEVELT OFFICIALLY CREATED A WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THESE GREAT HISTORICAL AMERICAN ARTIFACTS

Eleanor Roosevelt took up the cause when she became First Lady. She had two cabinets specially made to display past examples of Presidential china, so that visitors could view the pieces. The cabinets were installed on the east side of the White House, at the end of a ground floor corridor. Prior to Mrs. Roosevelt’s effort, White House china not in use was stored in a basement crypt.

The White House does not reveal where present-day china is stored. There is a warehouse in Maryland where White House furnishings are stored. However, given its fragility and the fact that it is needed from time to time, it seems unlikely the porcelain is stored offsite.

woodrow-wilson-white-house-china-1

HANDSOME WOODROW WILSON 1918 STATE SERVICE PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

According to the White House, Presidential china still in use includes:

Woodrow Wilson - 120 settings
Franklin D. Roosevelt - 120 settings
Harry Truman - 120 settings
Lyndon Johnson - 216 settings
Ronald Reagan - 220 settings
Bill Clinton - 300 settings
George W. Bush - 320 settings,
plus an informal service with 75 settings
Barack Obama - 320 place settings

bush white house china

THE TIMELESS GEORGE W. BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HAS A VERSATILE PATTERN FIT FOR ALL SEASONS

Looking at the numbers of place settings reminds us that only in the most recent decades have Presidents and their First Ladies ordered very large collections of china. Our early Presidents lived in simpler, less populous times, and even something as special as a dinner honoring a foreign head of state was a far more intimate gathering than such an event might be today.

ObamaTHE OBAMAS CHOSE KAILUA BLUE AS THE LEAD COLOR FOR THEIR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

The reigning First Lady is responsible for planning and overseeing state dinners. Sometimes she has been known to mix and match patterns from various Presidential collections, either to augment a particular collection or, perhaps, to provide a more broadly historical overall setting. First Lady Michelle Obama actually cited this need for coordination when she talked about how she and her husband arrived at the color and pattern for their own Official White House China.

For her first official state dinner (honoring French President Emmanuel Macron), First Lady Melania Trump chose to use a combination of White House China from the Clinton and Bush collections.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China

The Mysterious Location of the Rare Lincoln Egg Cup

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, May 29, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Abraham lincoln white house china

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA EGG CUP. THE LINCOLN'S ONLY ORDERED 24 EGG CUPS OF WHICH ONLY A FEW ARE KNOWN TO STILL EXIST - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The story couldn’t be better if it had been imagined by a famous mystery writer. And, yet, it’s true. It’s the story of how Raleigh DeGeer Amyx came to own an exquisite little egg cup – one once owned and used by President Abraham Lincoln and his First Lady when they lived in the White House. Yes, the egg cup was part of the Lincoln's Official White House China service.

The egg cup is a dainty little example of the finest French porcelain, measuring just 2 1/2" X 3 5/8". It came to America in 1861 as part of a 190-piece dinner service imported by New York’s E.V. Haughwort and Company at the behest of Mary Todd Lincoln. In New York, the porcelain was hand-painted by the company’s own artists, including Mr. Haughwort himself. The design features an eagle and the distinctive Solferino purple color that is the hallmark of the Lincoln White House China collection.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATTER

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DOUBLE HANDLED PLATTER  - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

So how did Raleigh DeGeer Amyx come by this little beauty? By accident. Or maybe it was fate. A gentleman contacted Mr. Amyx in June of 2015, asking if he was interested in an egg cup he had found. The man was not a collector himself. In fact, at first he had no idea he even owned the egg cup. He had purchased two porcelain vases from an antiques shop in the Palm Beach area. The vases were part of a wealthy couple’s estate.

But when he got the vases home, he discovered one was stuffed with old newspapers. Very old newspapers. As he removed them, he found even older newspaper at the bottom of the vase, and wrapped inside was a pristine porcelain item. What was it?

abraham-lincoln-white-house-china-1

ELEGANT 1861 LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

He was stunned. The newspaper in which the cup was wrapped was dated around 1900-1910, he later told Mr. Amyx. The gentleman didn’t know what the object was, but it looked expensive. And with the eagle and its exceptional surrounding decoration, he figured it might have something to do with a past President. So he did some research, and that lead him to Raleigh DeGeer Amyx’s website. Was Mr. Amyx interested? You bet!

Abraham lincoln white house china

GRACEFUL LINCOLN 1865 OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVING PIECE - ONE OF ONLY FOUR BUFF CHINA SERVING PIECES ORDERED IN LINCOLN'S SECOND TERM -  PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

But the story gets even better. “In all of the millions of people who live in the United States,” says Mr. Amyx, “it turns out this fellow lived just 23 miles away from me.” They arranged a personal visit so Mr. Amyx could personally examine the egg cup, and the entire transaction was completed quickly. The fellow was shocked that he had literally uncovered something so valuable, especially since he had paid nothing for it. He was happy to sell, though, and that’s how the Lincoln egg cup became part of the renowned Amyx Collection of Official White House China.

Abraham lincoln white house china

OTHER EXAMPLES OF STUNNING LINCOLN WHITE HOUSE CHINA 

What’s the rest of the story? How did the Lincoln egg cup come to be wrapped and placed in that vase? Was it hidden on purpose? Simply packed efficiently and very carefully for a household move? Most likely we will never know. If only the little egg cup could talk.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China, Abraham Lincoln

My Favorite Piece of White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

raleigh-degeer-amyx white house china

THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION IS THE LARGEST PRIVATE COLLECTION OF WHITE HOUSE CHINA IN THE WORLD

When you collect something as extraordinary as Official White House China, you can’t help but love every single item in your collection. Each piece of porcelain is lovely – in some cases even the word “stunning” seems an inadequate description. In older Presidential china, each piece is truly unique. It may look like the other plates or bowls or serving pieces in the service, but its decoration was individually painted by hand. Each piece a work of art in its own right.

Nonetheless, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx admits to having a few favorites in his collection of Official White House China. Let’s have a look.

“TOP OF THE HEAP”
Surely no one except Mr. Amyx himself would dare use a term such as “heap” to describe his exceptional collection, even in jest! Since it’s impossible for him to pick just one favorite, here are My Amyx’s “top of the heap” picks:

ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATTER

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DOUBLE HANDLED PLATTER  - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S 1861 SMALL OVAL SERVING PLATTER
Serving pieces are far more rare because they are fewer produced than plates and other dining pieces. This double-handled serving piece is unusually rare because of its petite size, just 8.5” x 12” – there couldn’t have been more than three or four originally produced, perhaps fewer. This platter is a favorite for its rarity but also for its originality, because it features an unusual color selected by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, called Solferino purple.

george-washington-small-oval-platter white house china

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1786 GEORGE WASHINGTON OVAL SERVING PLATE IN NEAR PRISTINE CONDITION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S 1786 SMALL OVAL SERVING PLATTER
This porcelain is not only rare but unusual in that it qualifies as Official White House China even though it predates the White House. The platter belonged to George and Martha Washington, who had to provide their own porcelain for use at state dinners and other occasions.

abraham-lincoln-egg-cup white house china

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA EGG CUP. THE LINCOLN'S ONLY ORDERED 24 EGG CUPS OF WHICH ONLY A FEW ARE KNOWN TO STILL EXIST - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1861 EGG CUP
One of only 24 ever produced, this tiny specimen was discovered after lying hidden in the bottom of an antique porcelain vase, wrapped in newspapers, for 100 years. How could a piece with a story like that not be a favorite?!

james-madison-china-lozenge-serving-plate-white house china

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1806 JAMES MADISON LOZENGE SERVING DISH - ONLY 30 ORIGINAL PIECES OF MADISON WHITE HOUSE CHINA REMAIN, OF WHICH 5 PIECES ARE PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

JAMES MADISON'S 1806 LOZENGE SERVING DISHES
These gilt-trimmed serving dishes easily stand out among other examples of Official White House China because of their almost X-shaped design. It is this tremendous originality that makes them especially appealing to Mr. Amyx.

Hayes white house china

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1879 RUTHERFORD B. HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE FEATURING A LOVELY HAND-PAINTED COLORADO ROCKY MOUNTAIN MULE DEER, DESSERT PLATE FEATURING A BALTIMORE ORIOLE, AND A SOUP BOWL FEATURING A BEACHSIDE CAMPING SCENE - ALL PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES 1879 TRIO
Unlike other Presidential china, the Hayes collection features unusually-shaped pieces and incredibly detailed, colorful renditions of American wildlife, all painted entirely by hand. The trio of examples in The Amyx Collection include:

  • An elegant, comma-shaped dessert plate featuring a Baltimore oriole
  • A 10” round dinner plate featuring a Colorado Rocky Mountain mule deer
  • A 9” decagon (10-sided) soup bowl featuring a beachside camping scene

Beautiful as they are, these pieces rank as favorites for Mr. Amyx primarily for their rarity and originality.

Eisenhower leather jacket

GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER’S WWII LEATHER JACKET - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

MORE THAN CHINA
Anyone who knows anything about Raleigh DeGeer Amyx knows he became renowned for his collection of Presidential memorabilia well before he began to specialize in Official White House China. Not surprisingly, then, he has a couple of personal favorites that are not porcelain but Presidential personal artifacts. His top three?

“There are other top elite relics,” he says, but the list of “favorites” has to stop somewhere. At least for now.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China

The Rarest Piece of Lincoln White House China Finds a New Home

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATTER

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DOUBLE HANDLED PLATTER  - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has added a rare new platter to his renowned collection of Official White House China. In a collection where every piece of porcelain can easily be described as special, this diminutive oval serving platter is truly remarkable. It is small – just 8-1/2” by 12” – with handles at each end. It is exquisitely beautiful. And it is extraordinarily rare.

The platter was designed and manufactured in 1861 as part of the Official White House China service commissioned by President Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Mr. Amyx says there couldn’t have been more than three or four of these small platters in the original china service, perhaps even fewer. That, along with its Presidential and White House provenance, explains why the platter is so rare.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA EGG CUP

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA EGG CUP. THE LINCOLN'S ONLY ORDERED 24 EGG CUPS OF WHICH ONLY A FEW ARE KNOWN TO STILL EXIST - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

But it has another feature that, while not unique, adds historical interest. The bottom is flat and unglazed, whereas most serving platters have a slightly concave shape and are glazed on the underside. In the days when President Lincoln was entertaining state guests at dinner in the White House, there was no such thing as tableside warmers, such as we have nowadays. The Lincoln platter’s flat, unglazed verso allowed it to be set directly on top of a hot wood stove, in order to keep food warm.

Raleigh DeGeer Amyx recently acquired this platter from a private party, not from an auction house. That isn’t unusual, given his reputation as a respected collector of Official White House China. “Pieces gravitate toward me,” he acknowledges, “due to my experience and good fortune.” Mr. Amyx has worked hard to fuel his good fortune by establishing personal relationships with individuals who have information and referrals to owners of White House China they might like to sell.

RUTHERFORD B HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SOUP BOWL

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1879 RUTHERFORD B. HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SOUP BOWL FEATURES AN IMPRESSIVE HAND-PAINTED AMERICAN CAMPFIRE SCENE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

But it was Mr. Amyx’s reputation as a collector of White House China that earned him this particular contact. He was approached via email, by a woman who said she had two plates that had been part of the Presidential China service when Rutherford B. Hayes was in office. Might Mr. Amyx be interested in purchasing them? (He was!) And, by the way, she noted, she also had a small platter from the 1861 Lincoln service. Might he be interested in that as well? Raleigh DeGeer Amyx couldn’t believe his good fortune!

Over time, advanced collectors who are passionate develop finely-tuned instincts. So, when something comes along that might be of interest, those instincts kick in. When Mr. Amyx learns of a potential “find,” he wants to know five things about that porcelain: its history, rarity, value, condition, and the quantity originally manufactured.

RUTHERFORD B HAYES WHITE HOUSE CHINA ELK PLATE

EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1879 RUTHERFORD B. HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE FEATURES A LOVELY HAND-PAINTED COLORADO ROCKY MOUNTAIN MULE DEER - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

“I had never seen a Lincoln platter anywhere,” Mr.Amyx says. Sight-unseen, though, he still knew something important about the piece – it was definitely rare. And given the platter’s size and purpose, it was one of very few ever made. However, he says the only way to judge all five criteria of a potential acquisition is to talk to the owner. In this case, she emailed him a picture of the platter. “It was a crummy photo,” Mr. Amyx recalls, “but I could still tell it was really something.”

He was surprised she hadn’t chosen to sell her Presidential porcelain through an auction house such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s. But he was quite pleased she had decided to contact him directly instead. It pays to be well-known and well-trusted in your field! After some discussion, the owner agreed to send all three pieces – the two Hayes plates and the Lincoln platter – to Mr. Amyx so he could evaluate them up close. And the rest, as they say, is history, and the three stunning examples of Official White House china now reside in The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: Abraham Lincoln

Why Do Presidents Wait So Long to Select Their White House China?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 10:24 AM

Clinton gold plate

BILL CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE  - COMMISSIONED FOR THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WHITE HOUSE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

One could easily agree that serving as President of the United States is the toughest job in the world. The decisions that must be made are mind-boggling. The ramifications affect millions here at home and around the globe. The stress is tremendous. It seems as if every President who enters office with dark hair emerges from their one or two terms with gray.

The factors that contribute to any given President’s gray hair are the same factors that contribute to his legacy. These factors are determined by events as they unfold. But there is one Presidential legacy each Chief Executive can control: their Official White House China. So why do they wait until the end of their term to purchase a collection of porcelain that they may use only once or a few times (or not at all) before they leave office?

It wasn’t always that way. Our nation’s first Presidents had to supply all of their own furnishings, dinnerware included, for whatever home served as the official residence at the time. It wasn’t until the British burned down the White House and most of its contents in 1814 that Congress formally appropriated funds to be used to furnish the Executive Mansion. So James Monroe became the first President to commission porcelain specifically for official use, rather than having to use his own china.

Monroe plate red backgroud

ELEGANT 1820 JAMES MONROE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

From Monroe’s time forward, Presidents and their First Ladies continued to commission exceptionally lovely porcelain, as new china was needed to replace broken or damaged pieces. Each of these collections of Official White House China was painstakingly designed and produced to reflect the First Couple’s personal taste as well as the status of the Presidency itself and the increasingly important status of the United States in the world. However, the collections were meant to be entirely practical. China was ordered because dishes were required to serve food at formal state dinners.

barack-obama-white-house-china-1

EXQUISITE BARACK OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE WITH AN IMPOSING EAGLE MOTIF THAT SETS OFF THE BOLD WIDE GOLD BORDER

So, back to our initial question, if china is a necessity, why have modern-day Presidents waited so long to order new services?

Compared to early White House China, modern-day orders include about 10 times the number of place settings, along with related serving pieces. Losses occur over time, but incoming Presidents no longer need to order new china merely to ensure there is enough to serve state guests. But personally-chosen china collections remain a Presidential legacy – a permanent gift to future generations.

Nancy reagan white house china

FIRST LADY NANCY REAGAN PERSONALLY APPROVED EACH AND EVERY SKETCH OF THE STUNNING REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

Official White House China expert Raleigh DeGeer Amyx believes the timing change can be traced back to Nancy Reagan. She ordered a new set of porcelain in 1981, rather early in her husband’s term as President. The china was very expensive, and the press lit into her. They complained about financial priorities, and some were personally unkind in their writings.

In truth, the Reagan White House China was not paid for by taxpayers. It was a gift to the White House and the nation in the Reagans’ name, paid for by their friends and political associates via donations to the White House Historical Fund.

bush white house china

THE TIMELESS GEORGE W. BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PATTERN WAS DERIVED FROM THE PERSONAL FAMILY CHINA OF THE JAMES MADISON FAMILY

Since then, Presidents and their First Ladies have waited until they were close to leaving the White House to unveil new china. Mr. Amyx believes self-preservation is at work here, as no one wants to bring on themselves the kind of negative publicity Nancy Reagan received. Once a President-elect has been chosen, notes Mr. Amyx, all the attention focuses on them. The outgoing couple is less likely to be scrutinized as closely as before, offering a “friendlier” environment in which to show off new White House China.

The Clintons, George W. and Laura Bush, and the Obamas all waited until there were just a few weeks left in their term before unveiling their new legacy china. Newly-commissioned Official White House China continues to be tremendously expensive, but it also continues to be paid for by friends and associates of the outgoing administration, not taxpayers.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

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How It All Started: My First Piece of White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATES RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX COLLECTION

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX WITH A SMALL PORTION OF HIS AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM IN 1987

Little did Raleigh DeGeer Amyx know it would be the start of something beautiful. Literally beautiful, as well as fascinating. Since he was a child, Mr. Amyx had been a collector and a student of American history. As the years passed, he amassed a very nice collection of Presidential memorabilia. Then a piece of Official White House China caught his eye.

The year was 1980. Raleigh DeGeer Amyx found himself seated in the modest home of a women who had served as a Maid for 20+ years in the White House, which included 12 years during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's tenure in the White House. Mr. Amyx had learned through experience that former White House behind-the-scenes employees were often an excellent source of memorabilia. The woman he was visiting on this day had been referred to him by another retired White House Maid.

“In her dining room cabinet, I spotted two identical Franklin Roosevelt White House China plates,” he says. Because they were smaller than dinner plates, he thought they might have come from a “light luncheon” service. “I really wanted those two plates!” Mr. Amyx confesses. At this point his collection did not include any Presidential porcelain. He figured that if he didn’t acquire them, the woman would leave the plates to her family. “I rationalized to myself that they wouldn’t care about the plates,” he admits.

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SIMPLE, YET ELEGANT 1934 FDR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE FEATURES MOTIFS BORROWED FROM THE HISTORIC ROOSEVELT FAMILY COAT OF ARMS - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
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So Mr. Amyx offered to purchase them. She demurred, saying she had promised the plates to her son, a cab driver. “Do cab drivers collect china?” he asked her. “Are you sure your son wants them? I think he’d probably rather have cash.” Raleigh DeGeer Amyx offered $150 a piece for the plates, and went home with his first acquisition of Official White House China.

Mr. Amyx doesn’t know how the woman acquired the two plates herself. He believes it unlikely that she worked as part of the service team during state dinners, since her primary role was as a maid, a job that would have kept her in other areas of the White House. Nonetheless, she would still have reported to the Chief Usher, the head of all household-related activities within the Executive Mansion.

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ROBERT L. McNEIL, JR. (1915-2010). AMERICAN CHEMIST AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE WHO INTRODUCED TYLENOL IN 1955. HIS PRESIDENTIAL CHINA COLLECTION WAS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT OUTSIDE OF THE WHITE HOUSE.

But there is much more to the story of the two Franklin Roosevelt plates. In about 1984, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx received a phone call from a gentleman who said he was a collector of Official White House China. He had heard Mr. Amyx might have something of interest to him. The gentleman identified himself as Robert L. McNeil, Jr., President and CEO of Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Amyx immediately recognized the name.

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STUNNING PRISTINE JAMES K. POLK 1846 OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA 9.5" SHALLOW SOUP BOWL.THE POLK DINNER PLATE THAT MR. AMYX TRADED FOR HAS THE SAME DIAMETER AND PATTERN AS THIS SHALLOW SOUP BOWL - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLELCTION

“I knew he was successful and a gentleman,” he says, “and I wanted to do business with him.” But Mr. Amyx had to admit he owned just one example of Official White House China – the two identical Franklin plates. Mr. McNeil asked for detailed specifications and a description of the plates, which led him to believe this was a fish entrée plate, not a “light luncheon” service as Mr. Amyx had surmised. Mr. McNeil wanted one of the plates, and offered to make a trade.

What would be a fair trade? Raleigh DeGeer Amyx wondered. When Mr. McNeil offered a dinner plate that had been part of President Polk’s Official White House China, there was no question that was a good deal. The men agreed, and Mr. McNeil sent his personal curator to make the exchange. It is the one and only time Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has ever done business via an intermediary like that. He says it was over in minutes. Mr. Amyx didn't get the chance to meet Robert McNeil for this exchange, however, there were several pleasant encounters with him that followed.

PRESIDENTIAL CHINA BOOK ROBERT MCNEIL

"AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CHINA" BOOK WRITTEN BY ROBERT L. McNEIL, JR. AND HIS CURATOR, SUSAN GRAY DETWEILER. THE HANDSOME BOOK DOCUMENTS McNEIL'S COLLECTION OF OVER 200 PIECES OF PRESIDENTIAL CHINA. 

There was, however, a personal connection of sorts between the two men. Mr. Amyx’s retired father had worked for 20 years as a sales manager for Johnson & Johnson, and to him Robert McNeil was a legend - not only President and CEO of the company, but the chemist who developed Tylenol and headed up that unit within the company as well. “I really went up in the eyes of my father for accomplishing great things,” laughs Raleigh. “He couldn’t believe I actually got to do business with this gentleman.”

That gentleman, who happened to be one of the country’s greatest authorities and collectors of Official White House China, went on to write a book entitled “American Presidential China,” with his curator Susan Gray Detweiler. (The same curator who personally handled the trade with Mr. Amyx.) Mr. McNeil passed away in 2010, bequeathing his entire collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it resides today.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

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Tags: White House China

A 30 Year Search for a Reagan Dessert Plate Comes to an End

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

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EXTRAORDINARILY RARE RONALD REAGAN 1981 OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATE - AT LAST, PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Ask Raleigh DeGeer Amyx what makes a particular piece of Official White House China rare, and he’ll tell you about availability. The fewer the number of pieces available, the rarer they are. Not surprisingly, the oldest examples of Official Presidential China are usually the rarest. There weren’t many pieces produced originally, and now - two centuries or so later - few of those still exist.

Within any set of porcelain, there are far fewer service plates than place settings. So service plates, by nature, are usually rarest. They are also the largest plates, and in the case of Official White House China, service plates are typically “standard bearers” when it comes to design and decoration. So service plates have multiple value to collectors of Official White House China. These are the pieces that newer collectors and those with less extensive collections focus on first.

What really makes the Reagan dessert plate so rare, is that it has its own unique and elegant design. Usually, the dessert plate is just a smaller version of the dinner plate, but in this case, the Reagans went above and beyond with their impeccable taste in china. Thus the Reagan dessert plate is rarer than the serivce plate and all other pieces in the set.

ronald-reagan-white-house-china-SERVICE PLATE

IMPECCABLE REAGAN 1981 OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SCARLET RED STATE DINNER SERVICE PLATE - PART OF THE RAEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
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Even so, a collector may wait 10 or 15 years before securing the service plate they want. It’s not surprising they aren’t even thinking about dessert plates. Also, dessert plates don’t necessarily have any special aesthetic cache, since they are often simply smaller versions of the service plates. Mr. Amyx was especially keen on the Reagan dessert plate because its design is very different.

But why does he describe this dessert plate as extremely rare? Because there is another factor that affects availability. When people contact Mr. Amyx looking to sell a piece of White House China, it is typically a service plate they are offering. It rarely occurs to individuals who own historic pieces that their dessert plate may be valuable to someone else.

REAGAN WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE

HANDSOME REAGAN 1983 UNOFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE - DESIGNATED AS EVERYDAY CHINA, NEVER TO BE USED FOR OFFICIAL STATE DINNERS - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Only an advanced collector, says Mr. Amyx, would recognize the value of searching for a dessert plate after they have already acquired the most-desirable service plate. You might go years and hope to see a dessert plate, he says. You keep your eye out month after month, year after year, or, as in the case of Mr. Amyx, even decade after decade.

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VERSO MARKING THAT WOULD APPEAR ON EACH PIECE OF THE 1981 RONALD REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

And so after 30 years of watching and waiting, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx finally found a Reagan dessert plate available via an auction house in Dallas. He arranged to participate in the bidding by phone. That’s nerve-wracking, he notes, because you’re competing against other bidders who may have sent in a written bid or who may be there in person or connected online, where they can actually see the auctioneer. On the phone, you’re at the mercy of the person on the other end of the line. And you have just a split-second to offer your next bid. On average, an item at auction is sold within 60 seconds.

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EXAMPLES OF OTHER PIECES FROM THE 1981 REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA. ONLY THE SERVICE PLATE AND THE DESSERT PLATE DISPLAY THE ELEGANT GOLD LATTICE DESIGN ON THE WIDE RED BORDER

This time, Mr. Amyx prevailed. He could hardly wait to receive the piece, and he is proud that the stunning Reagan dessert plate now resides within his exceptional collection of Official White House China.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

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White House China FAQs

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

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PRISTINE 1846 JAMES K. POLK DESSERT PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Raleigh DeGeer Amyx is a valuable resource in the world of White House China. Mr. Amyx is well-known and highly respected as a collector of Official White House China, and his website contains a wealth of information. So you might think he is frequently asked general questions about Presidential porcelain. However, that is not the case. Although people occasionally contact him to ask about valuation of china that is clearly not Presidential, this is outside his area of interest.

Most questions come from other collectors interested in purchasing a piece from Mr. Amyx’s collection, or from someone who happens to own a rare piece or two they wish to sell.

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EXTRAORDINARILY RARE 1879 RUTHERFORD B. HAYES FISH PLATE - PART OF THE RAEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

For example, not too long ago, a woman contacted him wondering if he might be interested in two pieces of Rutherford B. Hayes’ Presidential china. She had inherited the plates from her great aunt, along with a very rare platter with handles that had been part of Abraham Lincoln’s original porcelain order in 1861. The woman did not know how her aunt had come to own the pieces.

Mr. Amyx’s collection may be second to none, but he is always open to acquiring new pieces – if he considers them to be rare and special enough. “You just don’t see things like that Lincoln platter,” he notes, “because so few of them were made to begin with.”

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REMARKABLY RARE NEAR PRISITNE CONDITION ABRAHAM LINCOLN DOUBLE-HANDLED PLATTER BELIEVED TO BE FROM THE 1861 ORDER - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Often, he says, when prospective sellers approach him the first question they ask is, “What is it worth?” He would prefer they tell him how much they want for the piece. Thanks to the internet, it is not difficult to find information about Presidential china. Searching may still require some hard work, but not necessarily. Mr. Amyx warns, though, that discovering auction results for similar pieces could be misleading. That’s because condition is critical in determining value.

Sometimes, a prospective seller will phrase their question differently: “Here’s what I have. What would you pay for it?” Mr. Amyx feels that when the owner of piece is calling around to collectors asking that question, that constitutes an auction. If people want bids, he recommends approaching an auction house about selling their piece.

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THIS OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA BOOK IS A MUST-HAVE FOR SERIOUS COLLECTORS. THE AUTHOR IS BILL ALLMAN, HIGHLY RESPECTED WHITE HOUSE CURATOR

Mr. Amyx considers himself a very fair person, but he says negotiation is part of the buying and selling process. And he likes to learn as much as the current owner can tell him about the provenance of the piece on offer. He typically requests written descriptions of any damage, along with the photographs of the piece from all angles so he can confirm the piece’s identity and condition in minute detail. That comprehensive back-and-forth discussion determines the price he’s willing to pay.

But he never buys anything sight unseen, so the seller sends the piece to him. Once he receives it, he examines it right away and sends a check by the next day. Because the up-front discussion is so detailed, Mr. Amyx has never changed his mind about purchasing a piece after seeing it in person.

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EXCEPTIONALLY RARE 1786 GEORGE WASHINGTON SMALL OVAL SERVING PLATE IN NEAR PRISTINE CONDITION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

Not every negotiation results in a finalized sale, even if the owner and Mr. Amyx agree on a purchase price. That’s because occasionally someone will refuse to ship him their porcelain for an in-person examination without receiving payment first. Mr. Amyx admits that there have been occasions when he lost out on a piece he really wanted for this reason, but he holds firm. He points out that his credentials, reputation, and trustworthiness are easily verified.

You don’t have to speak with Raleigh DeGeer Amyx long to pick up on his careful attention to detail. So once negotiations are complete, people usually ask his advice on how to safely ship the piece to him. What does he recommend for shipping porcelain so valuable it is priceless? “Atomic bomb proof” packing. Since 1981, he has never shipped anything that became damaged in transit.

Even if a deal falls through or he is not interested in buying a particular piece, he tries to keep things positive. Collecting something as significant and valuable as White House China depends on building relationships as much as finding the right pieces.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China

WHICH RECENT PRESIDENT MISSED THE MARK ON THEIR WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESIGN?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHINA

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH AND HER ELEGANT SELECTION OF THE BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE

Usually when we write about a particular president’s Official White House China, we consider it on its own merits. We talk about how that service reflects the history and politics of its time and/or the personalities and preferences of the President and First Lady. We don’t usually compare one set of Presidential porcelain to another except, as an example, to note motifs that are similar. In this article, we will change our perspective, to compare the three most recent collections of White House China.

Let’s look at the “vital statistics” first. President Clinton’s Official White House China included 300 12-piece settings. The service was produced by Lenox at a cost of $500,000 and delivered in November 2000. The Official White House China ordered by George W. and Laura Bush was also made by Lenox and was delivered in January 2009. It included 320 14-piece place settings and also cost almost $500,000. The Obama Official White House China arrived in April 2015. It consisted of 320 11-pc settings and was produced by Pickard at a total cost of $360,000. All three of these Official White House China collections were purchased using private funds, not public funds.

CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATE

STUNNING CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE PLATE MAKES QUITE A STATEMENT TO COMMEMORATE THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WHITE HOUSE
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

For most of the history of Official White House China, the common design motif has been an eagle, representing the President of the United States. The eagle’s details have differed somewhat, as has its placement – sometimes in the center of each plate, sometimes as “12 o’clock” on the rim. President and Mrs. Clinton broke with this tradition. The design departure was dramatic, but this china served two purposes. It not only represents the Clinton administration, it commemorates the 200th anniversary of the White House as the Executive Mansion.

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THE LOVELY BILL CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE INCLUDES 300 TWELVE PIECE PLACE SETTINGS - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

So the Clinton Official White House China featured the White House instead of the Presidential emblem. The service plate, the dinner plate and the dessert plate are the only three Clinton pieces that have the White House motif. Various exterior and interior architectural elements are depicted on the different types of pieces within the stunning collection.

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THE SOPHISTICATED BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATES - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

First Lady Laura Bush returned to tradition with the design she chose, using a soothing green color she felt would blend nicely with floral arrangements as well as Christmas decorations. The design incorporates a circle of laurel leaves reminiscent of James and Dolley Madison’s Official White House China, and the eagle is front and center on the plate. With its basket-weave pattern and gold detailing, the service is quietly elegant and certainly Presidential.

OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CHINA

A COMPLETE 11 PIECE OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLACE SETTING. THERE ARE 320 PLACE SETTINGS IN TOTAL.

Barack and Michelle Obama also departed from tradition, at least in part. They selected an unusual color they named Kailua Blue, to represent the waters of President Obama’s native Hawaii. As a noted collector and distinguished historian on Official White House China, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx feels the Obamas missed the mark with their design, in two ways.

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EXQUISITE OBAMA SERVICE PLATE WITH AN IMPOSING EAGLE MOTIF AND A STUNNING GOLD BORDER

1. The pale plate rims don’t stand out on a white tablecloth, so they fail to make the statement, “I am Presidential china!” to foreign dignitaries and invited State Dinner guests.

2. Few of the collection’s pieces actually carry the Presidential eagle on the front. The service plates do, as well as the dessert plates and the coffee cup. Mr. Amyx believes the choice of having a less Presidential design, as most all the Obama pieces do, will likely reduce the future value of Obama Official White House China and interest from White House China collectors.

OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CHINA

THE UNVEILING OF THE OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA ON APRIL 23, 2015 IN THE EAST ROOM

Since the tenure of James and Dolley Madison, Presidents and their First Ladies have commissioned Official White House China to be used for state dinners. The porcelain was a functional necessity, and its elegance underscores the President’s status to foreign visitors. Typically, new china was only ordered to fill in gaps or replace entire collections as needed. The Clinton collection commemorates a unique point in White House history. It was ordered as a complete service. Nine years later, George W. and Laura Bush ordered another complete set, and seven years later the Obamas did the same. Among them, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama ordered a combined total of nearly 12,000 pieces of White House China. An extraordinary number of pieces.

barack-obama-white-house-china-JAMES MADISON

OUR 44TH PRESIDENT (BARACK OBAMA) BORROWS A CHINA PATTERN FROM OUR 4TH PRESIDENT (JAMES MADISON). THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY THAT AN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE HAS NO COAT OF ARMS AND NO COLOR

One might think that oredering nearly 12,000 pieces of White House China in a 15 year period is excessive. The White House requires far more place settings these days because state dinners are far larger gatherings than decades or a century ago. But 12,000 pieces is a lot of porcelain by any standard. Nonetheless, these three most recent sets of china were ordered not out of need but for “presence.” Official White House China is a First Lady’s chance to leave her own legacy. And why not? The cost of Presidential china is covered by donations to the White House Historical Association, made by the President’s friends and supporters.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - IMPOSING HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

Distinguished historian and 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 nearly 40 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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China

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