Blog

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX

Recent Posts

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 Delay on Such an Important Decision?

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.

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

 

Tags: White House China

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.

FDR.Roosevelt.China.OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA FRANKLIN

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
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

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.

Robert_L._McNeil_Jr._HD2005_with_Medal.jpg

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.

POLK-SOUP-PLATE-POST-RESTORATION-2014.jpg

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.

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

 

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

ronald-reagan-white-house-china-dessert-plate.jpg

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
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

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.

reagan-white-house-china-verso-1.jpg

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.

ronald-reagan-white-house-china-close-up.jpg

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

 

Tags: White House China

White House China FAQs

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

james-polk-WHITE HOUSE china-dessert-plate-peonys.jpg

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.

rutherford-hayes-white-house-china-plate-front.jpg

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.”

abraham-lincoln-WHITE HOUSE CHINA dinner-plate.jpg

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.

white-house-china-book.jpg

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.

george-washington-small-oval-platter.jpg

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.

clinton-white-house-china-1.jpg

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.

bush_w.h._china_full_shot_3_pieces_laura-bush-white-house-china-2.jpg

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.

barack-obama-white-house-china-1.jpg

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

Top 7 Pieces of White House China That Were Most Difficult to Acquire: Part 2

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

barack-obama-white-house-china-

UNIQUE BARACK OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE - THIS IS THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DINNER PLATE TO HAVE NO COLOR AND NO PRESIDENTIAL COAT OF ARMS - THE 3-D DESIGN, HOWEVER, IS BASED SOLEY ON THE RARE JAMES MADISON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE

In our previous Part 1 blog article, we asked distinguished White House China collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx which pieces in his collection were the most difficult to acquire. Not surprisingly, he says the seven that were hardest to find were also the rarest. In that article, he described his acquisition of porcelain used by Presidents George Washington, James Madison, and James Monroe. Now let’s look at the other four.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - As President, John Quincy Adams used china from the Monroe collection when hosting foreign dignitaries, but on some occasions he used his personal porcelain service for state dinners instead. So the china pictured below, purchased when he was Secretary of State, is also considered Official White House China.

john-quincy-adams-white-house-china-custard-cup.jpg

ELEGANT AND RARE JOHN QUINCY ADAMS OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA ONE-PIECE CUSTARD CUP -  A HIGHLIGHT OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

There is no record of the original quantity. Mr. Amyx gave up hope of finding a piece, rationalizing to himself that this china didn’t really look “Official” anyway, because it bears no presidential eagle. Then he spotted a picture of a John Quincy Adams custard cup in an auction catalog, and bid successfully. “Finally, I had it!” he says.

Within a year, an antiques dealer noticed a picture of the custard cup on Mr. Amyx’s website and offered to sell him more pieces. Mr. Amyx chose a square plate and a 9” soup bowl. Suddenly, after nearly 35 years of searching to no avail, Mr. Amyx now finds himself the “world’s greatest acquirer” of John Quincy Adams Official White House China.

hayes white house china plate

ELEGANT HAND-PAINTED RUTHERFORD B. HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES - The Hayes White House China features stunning paintings that depict American nature – flowers, trees, land and sea animals – on unusually-shaped plates and bowls. It is not so difficult to find pieces that look identical to the porcelain President Hayes commissioned, because the original order was later augmented with replacements and Haviland also reproduced the china for sale to the public.

rutherford-hayes-white-house-china-plate-cypher-1879.jpg

RARE "1879 TH" SIGNATURE CYPHER ON THE HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA FISH PLATE

However, only 562 pieces from the first order bear a distinctive “TH” cypher on the verso. Neither White House replacements nor dishes sold to the public carry this mark. That makes porcelain from the original order extremely rare indeed.

Competition for Hayes Presidential China comes from collectors who focus on natural history artifacts as well as those who collect china itself, Presidential or otherwise. Some china collectors further limit their acquisitions to one specific manufacturer.

teddy theodore-roosevelt-white-house-china-fish-plate.jpg

CLASSIC THEODORE ROOSEVELT OFFICICAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA STATE FISH PLATE - MANUFACTURED BY WEDGEWOOD - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

THEODORE ROOSEVELT - The porcelain service ordered by Theodore Roosevelt for official use included 1296 pieces. Mr. Amyx believes that, “If they had the opportunity and money, people would buy this White House China only because it belonged to President Roosevelt.”

In fact, the piece in his own collection came from a well-known collector whose interest was solely in Theodore Roosevelt and JFK political artifacts. He had purchased the plate at a political collectors’ show some 10 years earlier, and Mr. Amyx had repeatedly admired it. One day the owner offered to sell it, and Mr. Amyx says he was “thrilled to get it for such a reasonable price.” 

The ability to get along well with people and build relationships over the years has enabled Raleigh DeGeer Amyx to uncover and acquire very special items for his collection.

pierce white house china plate

ELEGANT FRANKLIN PIERCE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

FRANKLIN PIERCE - Mr. Amyx says that in his more-than-30 years of collecting Official White House China, he has never seen a piece from the Pierce Presidency go up for auction – except once. And that was the piece Mr. Amyx was able to acquire.

He bought the plate almost by accident. At the time, he had been collecting Presidential China for only a few years, and he had no idea this particular piece was so valuable, but he sensed that he should bid on it. Mr. Amyx was able to purchase it at a reasonable price, only later discovering its uniqueness when he saw a Pierce piece on display at the White House. The Pierce China order consisted of just 287 pieces.

Mr. Amyx also relates that Barbara Pierce Bush – a direct descendant of Franklin Pierce – included a plate from his White House China in a rotating display in the Oval Office during her tenure as First Lady.

So there you have it - the seven examples of Official White House China that collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says were most difficult to find. In order, by his assessment: George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Pierce. But he isn’t finished collecting. Mr. Amyx is always on the lookout for the next historically significant and exceptionally lovely piece of Official White China. Which piece of Official White House China will he acquire next?

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - RENOWNED 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

Top 7 Pieces of White House China That Were Most Difficult to Acquire: Part 1

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Jan 09, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Lincoln.china-724900-edited.jpg

ELEGANT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PIECES FROM THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN COLLECTION - A FAVORITE AMONG SUBSEQUENT PRESIDENTS, THIS PATTERN HAS BEEN REPRODUCED MORE THAN ANY OTHER - SOME EXAMPLES ARE PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Every successful collector is an experienced detective. It takes knowledge, insight, and sometimes a little creativity to find the pieces you want. And, often, it can take years. Decades, even. When it comes to Official White House China, renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says his pieces that have been most difficult to acquire are those that are the rarest.

It’s easy to understand why some White House China, in particular, is now extremely rare. Early Presidents ordered far smaller quantities of china for official use than today’s residents of the Executive Mansion, because state dinners were much more intimate affairs in early times.

Carter_china.jpg

THE BEAUTIFUL JIMMY CARTER WHITE HOUSE CHINA WAS ACTUALLY NEVER USED IN THE WHITE HOUSE SINCE IT ARRIVED AFTER CARTER LEFT OFFICE - SOME EXAMPLES ARE PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Some Presidential china patterns were never reordered, either by the same President or subsequent office-holders. And time takes its toll on all porcelain, so it’s only natural that breakage would decimate the oldest collections of Presidential China, further reducing the number of pieces available to modern-day collectors.

When all those factors converge, Mr. Amyx says it can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. On top of that, there are other factors that make certain Presidents’ china more competitive to collect. Within his exquisite collection of White House China, there are seven pieces Mr. Amyx points to as the toughest to acquire. In this article, we’ll look at three of them. Stay tuned to read about the remaining four pieces.

washington white house china plate

NEAR PRISTINE GEORGE WASHINGTON WHITE HOUSE CHINA PLATE - THIS PORCELAIN IS THE OLDEST PRESIDENTIAL CHINA, ONE OF THE RAREST, AND, THERFORE, ONE OF THE HARDEST TO ACQUIRE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

GEORGE WASHINGTON - Technically, our first President’s official dinnerware was never “White House” china, because he never lived in the White House. However, because Washington used his own Society of Cincinnati dinnerware to serve visiting foreign dignitaries, that service is now considered Official White House China. There were 302 pieces in the original Society of Cincinnati order. The few pieces that remain are difficult to collect for their value as “Presidential China,” as the porcelain is also sought-after by those who collect all types of George Washington memorabilia. Mr. Amyx considers only Franklin Pierce’s china to be rarer than Washington’s.

madison white house china plate

EXTREMELY RARE JAMES MADISON LOZENGE SERVING DISH - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

JAMES MADISON - Given its history, it’s a wonder that any “Official” China from Madison’s Presidency still lives on today. His original order of porcelain was destroyed when the British burned down the White House. Forced to live and serve state guests in a private home while the Executive Mansion was under reconstruction, Madison contributed a set of dinnerware from his own home, Montpelier. This was a 231-piece service he obtained while serving as Secretary of State. That porcelain, too, suffered several indignities over the years, and now only 30 pieces are known to remain. Mr. Amyx owns four of them.

monroe white house china dessert plate

STUNNING DESSERT PLATE FROM THE JAMES MONROE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

JAMES MONROE - “This china is so gorgeous,” notes Mr. Amyx, “and Monroe was a two-term President. You’d think he would have ordered more, and the next President didn’t even order more.” To this day, it is not yet clear how many items were in Monroe’s original order of Official White House China, but what few remain are now very rare. “I don’t even own the prettiest piece,” he admits.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - RENOWNED 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

How did the tradition of White House China start?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

george washington white house china plate

RARE GEORGE WASHINGTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PLATE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Originally, the tradition of Official White House China did not begin with our first president, George Washington. Sometime later, it was determined that George Washington's China qualified to be classified as White House China, even though there was no White House during his Presidency.

The United States was a brand new country, so there were no “presidential provisions.” In fact, the first United States capital was New York, then later it was Philadelphia. Most of the furnishings used by the President during this time, including china, were from his personal belongings.

However, President Washington did select what would become Washington, D.C. as the official government seat. He also chose the exterior design of the President’s House, now known as The White House. Even after the official Presidential mansion was completed, though, Presidents continued to supply their own furnishings, because there were no government funds to pay for such things.

james monroe white house china dessert plate

ELEGANT JAMES MONROE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATE - MANUFACTURED BY DAGOTY & HONORE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

It wasn’t until the inauguration of our fifth President, James Monroe, that we saw the genesis of Official White House China. Right away, Monroe obtained Congressional approval to establish a separate fund to furnish The White House. This was 1817, and perhaps Congress was especially willing to set aside money for furnishing the mansion, as The White House and its contents had been ravaged by fire in 1814 during the British burning of the Executive Mansion. Among the furnishings Monroe chose was a set of china. The collection included 30 place settings plus a matching dessert service.

Everything Monroe purchased came from France. Before becoming President, Monroe served two terms as America’s Minister to France, so he had lived there for eight years. It’s easy to imagine that during that time he came to appreciate and be influenced by the fine things he saw in Paris. In those years, Paris was a highly sophisticated city that may have counted as many as a million residents. Back home in the United States, it would have been hard to find a town with even 100,000 people, and most were far smaller. So bringing fine quality furnishings and porcelain from Paris was Presidentially appropriate.

ulysses-grant-dessert-plate-1.jpg

STUNNING HAND-PAINTED ULYSSES S GRANT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE - MANUFACTURED BY HAVILAND & COMPANY - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The china that was designed for President Monroe features an eagle with its wings spread, the first time this motif was used as a Presidential “crest.” So Monroe’s china set a precedent in this regard as well. This porcelain is so beautiful that, even today, renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx considers it to be the most beautiful Official White House China ever.

Some of the furnishings purchased by James Monroe are still in use today. And thanks to the precedent he set, the tradition of Official White House China continues today. There is a financial footnote to this story, however. Over the years, the amount of china required to accommodate official State dinners has grown tremendously, with recent collections exceeding ten times the 30 place settings in Monroe’s service. The cost has grown exponentially as well. Therefore, since the time of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Presidency, Official White House China has not been funded by the government but by private donations from the President’s friends and key supporters.

clinton_china_full_set_4_pieces_clinton-white-house-china-1.jpgcarter_w.h._china_full_shot_jimmy-carter-white-house-china-dinner-plate-1.jpgTHE LOVELY BILL CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SERVICE INCLUDES 300 TWELVE PIECE PLACE SETTINGS - MFG. BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION 

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX WORLD RENOWNED 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 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

Contact Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Online

Sign up for Monthly Newsletters