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George Washington: White House China that Opened the China Trade

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

 

washington-portrait-with-swordA REMARKABLE MAN AND PRESIDENT - GEORGE WASHINGTON - THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY

It was our first president who started the tradition of Official White House China. However, not many people realize that George Washington’s quest for the finest quality tableware lead to the establishment of a lucrative new international trade route. 

Today, we use the word “china” as a synonym for “dishes,” but in George Washington’s time, China was the source of exquisite, hand-painted porcelain prized by the upper classes in Europe as well as in the American colonies. Porcelain was exported from China to Europe, and from there it was traded to the colonies.    

In 1783, George Washington and General Henry Knox formed the Society of Cincinnati, an organization exclusively for French and American officers who had fought in the Revolutionary War (and, later, their descendants). One of the organization’s first orders of business was to design a china pattern befitting such a Society.

Unfortunately, the colonies’ trading ability disintegrated in the 1770s as relations with Britain collapsed. And when America finally attained its independence after the Revolutionary War, the British retaliated by prohibiting key trade hubs from doing business the United States. President Washington and his associates were left to find alternatives to maintain and grow the new nation’s economy. That included finding a way to gain direct access to highly-desired Chinese porcelain.   

Major Samuel Shaw, another Revolutionary War veteran and former aide to General Knox, envisioned the opportunities that could come if America were able to trade directly with China, to import not only luxuries like beautiful porcelain but a variety of necessary everyday commodities. Tea was in short supply, among other things, because trade was no longer possible with the British West Indies.

Toward that end, a ship christened the Empress of China left New York City in 1784, headed for Canton (modern-day Guangzhou). It was Samuel Shaw who transported the Society of Cincinnati’s desired design to Chinese artists so they could produce the “Cincinnati dinnerware.”

 china1785 CHINESE PORCELAIN DINNERWARE WITH THE EMBLEM OF THE SOCIETY OF CINCINNATI

The ship returned from China the following year, under the command of then-Captain Samuel Shaw, carrying Chinese textiles, cinnamon, tea and approximately 64 tons of porcelain – including the new Society of Cincinnati dinnerware. Trade between the United States and China was officially underway. Within five years, 28 American ships had visited Canton.  

And what did the Empress of China deliver to the Chinese to launch the trading process? Ginseng -- 30 tons of it, mostly from the southern Appalachian mountains. It was the one American product would-be traders knew for certain would be well-received by the Chinese, because over-harvesting had virtually eradicated China’s own native ginseng.

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GEORGE WASHINGTON'S - 9 5/8" DINNER PLATE - IN NEAR PRISTINE CONDITION - ONE OF TWO FROM THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

And the rest is history. The china created for the Society of Cincinnati ultimately became the original Official White House China. George Washington personally used this dinnerware to entertain friends and dignitaries at his homes in New York City, Philadelphia and Mount Vernon. And today, this lovely china remains historically important as one of the earliest Chinese porcelains made specifically for the American trade.

RDA_LIBRARY_2009_4-11_raleigh-degeer-amyx-in-library2RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of quality pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: George Washington

What Will Collectors Think of the Barack Obama Official White House China?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 08:45 AM

After approximately two plus years of planning and production, the newest collection of White House china was unveiled in April at a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Renowned White House China collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says it’s not unusual for presidents to wait until their second term to choose their official china.

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A SAMPLING OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

President Obama and the First Lady want to be represented in the White House China collection because, in part, it is historically important. However, ordering entirely new china is expensive – the 320 11-piece settings of Obama china reportedly cost more than $360,000 – so the cost is borne via private donations to the White House Historical Association’s White House Endowment Fund.

The china design was chosen in part for practicality – to blend harmoniously with existing patterns – but with a very personal twist. Michelle Obama told a reporter for Architectural Digest her goal was “to create a new modern, different, edgy kind of look.” White House curator William Allman, who worked with the First Lady on this project, said the design has a distinctly modern look “while continuing to draw on historic and traditional elements.”

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MICHELLE OBAMA ADMIRES THE DETAIL IN THEIR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SELECTION

Some of the pieces feature a color that represents Hawaii’s bluish-green waters, in honor of President Obama’s birthplace. The Obamas named it “Kailua Blue.” The color isn’t traditional, Mr. Amyx notes, but it is beautiful. Dinner plates feature a bas-relief design that mimics the pattern on James and Dolley Madison’s 1806 French china service.

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THE KAILUA BLUE IN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WHITE HOUSE CHINA REPRESENTS HIS HAWAIIAN HERITAGE

The Obama china was made by Pickard China of Antioch, Illinois, the first time this firm has ever been selected to make Official White House China. While the collection is certainly historic, renowned White House China collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says this china may not be so interesting to future collectors. The raised design on the dinner plates is unique, he says, yet the white-on-white presentation is lost, especially on a white tablecloth. Mr. Amyx believes that from a beauty point of view, the china could have been improved by using the Kailua Blue color for the raised border to provide contrast.

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PRESIDENT OBAMA ADMIRES HIS OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA CUP AS HE HOLDS HIS STANDARD MORNING PAPER COFFEE CUP IN HIS OTHER HAND

In addition, only a minority of pieces carry the presidential emblem – an eagle motif that a majority of past presidents have always used as the main visual element on the face of each plate, in the center or on the side. So there is nothing that says “presidential” about this china unless one looks at the verso.

If the china is less interesting to collectors, it will be less valuable to collectors.  Raleigh explains. The exception may very well be the minority of pieces that do carry the presidential emblem on the front. Typically, collectors want to acquire a service plate and the next size down. But in the case of the Obama china, the desirable emblem appears not on the very large all, white on white, dinner plate but on the second-largest plate, with the exception of the service plate (see below).

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THE LUXURIOUS SERVICE PLATE IN THE BARACK OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

The Obama service plate is a bright matte-finish gold and does feature a Presidential Coat of Arms on the front. Mr. Amyx says he would have added a circle of stars surrounding the emblem to make it “pop” more attractively, somewhat like the Harry S. Truman china. And he suggests the blue border could have been a bit wider. After all, he says, presidential china should be “elegant to all those who view it.” It should "really pop" and say “Hello, see me? I was selected by the President of the United States!”

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HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR - RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: Barack Obama White House China

The Story Behind Collecting Lincoln's White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 01:00 PM

Collector and historian Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says it pays to be a little boy or girl for a long time – collecting things you like – because they can increase in value the longer you own them. You have to be a good judge of what has real potential, though. Take White House China, for example. James Monroe was the first president for whom Congress provided money to furnish the White House. Prior to that, presidents had to supply their own furnishings and dishes.

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A PRISTINE DINNER PLATE FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S 1861 ORDER - THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, there were two varieties of White House china. One depicted broad wings on the front of the plate, the other was plain with a buff border. Monroe’s china had also featured a similar eagle, but the unusual shade of purple on the border, called solferino, was a special request from Mary Todd Lincoln, as it was her favorite color.

If a china pattern is very popular, like the Lincoln “wings” pattern, subsequent presidents want to order the same thing to replace chipped or broken pieces. The Lincoln china endured through several presidencies; however as it pertains to the marking on the verso. However, because some of the later orders were manufactured 5 or 10 years plus after the 1861 originals, there may be slight variations.

The back side of a china plate is referred to as the verso, and that’s where the difference lies. The original china ordered by the Lincolns in 1861 had a plain verso, with no markings. That continued with Andrew Johnson’s order. When Grant ordered more china, however, it came with a hand-painted maker’s mark on the verso. Chester Arthur’s order carried that same mark, so today collectors may not be able to tell which president ordered a particular Lincoln pattern.

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN - AMERICA'S 16TH PRESIDENT

Twenty-three years later, William McKinley wanted more of the same pattern. He ordered 36 pieces exactly the same, but once again the verso is different. These pieces are not plain like Lincoln’s original order, nor is the marking the same as the mark on Grant’s order.

None of these alterations were meant to be confusing or deceptive, it simply didn’t matter at the time. No one could have predicted 150 years ago that White House China would become highly valued by collectors, and that details such as distinguishing marks would become significant. However all variations are rare, and their values remain similar.

How did Raleigh DeGeer Amyx come by all of these fascinating examples of White House china? As a lifelong collector – and former FBI employee and investigator  he has developed excellent detective skills that have helped him track down more than 100 individuals who worked for various presidents in behind-the-scenes capacities.

During their work tenure, these people often acquire mementos of their White House experience, but then discover long after they retire that their children or grandchildren don’t feel the same connection with those collectibles or the stories behind them. They are happy to part with these pieces when they find someone who will cherish them and fairly renumerate them accordingly.

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A RARE SERVING PIECE FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S MORE CONSERVATIVE BUFF CHINA SELECTION

This is how it was in the case of the Lincoln White House China. In speaking with a former White House maid, Mr. Amyx learned she had a Lincoln plate that had fractured into a dozen pieces, wrapped up in her underwear drawer at home. She sold him the pieces, and Mr. Amyx spent thousands of dollars to have an expert conservationist delicately restore the plate. Raleigh still has that plate and impressively, the fracture lines are almost indiscernible.

In his own collection, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has multiple examples of the original Lincoln White House china in addition to one example of the Grant version and one of the McKinley era version. This White House china has special significance for Mr. Amyx, because he especially held Abraham Lincoln in high esteem. In addition to that, there is such history as well as such stunning artistry as it pertains to the Abraham Lincoln pattern.

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HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR - RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired numerous pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, official White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: Abraham Lincoln White House China

A 200 year search ends for James Madison's White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

After a 200-year separation, the two rarest plates from the original official White House China order of James and Dolley Madison have been reunited. Their story underscores how collecting historical memorabilia can be both an art and a science, requiring not just an eye for beauty and a love of history but perseverance and well-honed detective skills.

The two plates that feature in this story are serving dishes – 9.5” diamond-shaped lozenges. After years of research, noted American historian and collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx was able to bring the pair back together and add them to his renowned and often-exhibited White House China Collection. They are extraordinarily rare because they are the only two of their kind, and they are two of just 29 pieces that remain today from the Madisons’ original 231-piece set of White House China.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX EXAMINES THE UNIQUE SERVING DISHES

In 1806, President James Madison and First Lady Dolley Madison ordered those 231 pieces of Presidential China from Paris, France. A few years later, the British attacked the United States in what has since become known as the War of 1812. The British invaders entered the White House and destroyed almost everything within the Executive Mansion, then set it ablaze. The Madisons’ specially-chosen White House china was gone.

After the war, in 1814, President Madison chose the only alternative available at the time, instructing that the china he had officially used as Secretary of State now be used at the White House. The dinnerware from France that had been destroyed then became known as Official White House China, and ever since it has been coveted by institutions, museums and advanced collectors.

Grant Quertermous, Assistant Curator of President Madison’s home in Montpelier, Virginia, worked with White House Curator Bill Allman to compile valuable historic information, revealing that, in fact, 29 pieces of the original Madison porcelain had survived. Three are presently at James Madison’s home. Eight reside at the White House. And Raleigh DeGeer Amyx now owns four of these rare Madison pieces, including the only pair of lozenge-shaped porcelain White House dinnerware.

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2 OF THE 29 REMAINING PIECES OF WHITE HOUSE CHINA FROM JAMES MADISON'S COLLECTION

Not surprisingly, very rare china pieces are also very valuable. These days, it is easier to learn how valuable your historic pieces may be, thanks to the advent of Google. The internet also enabled Raleigh to acquire the two lozenges. When his website was upgraded, many more photographs were added showing pieces in Raleigh’s collection, including two round dinner plates from James and Dolley Madison’s official White House China.

Separate owners of the two lozenges – one in California and one in Texas – found Raleigh’s website, saw the matching dinner plates, and contacted him. Subsequently, one of the owners put their collection up for auction and Raleigh purchased the lozenge; the other owner sold their serving piece directly to him.

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A PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON

Interestingly, one of the two lozenges now carries a calligraphed inscription, added years after the china was in use at the White House. The inscription, however, is historically inaccurate. Raleigh explains that he could have had an expert conservationist correct the calligraphy, but he has chosen not to do so.

An accomplished researcher himself when it comes to White House china and other memorabilia, Raleigh says it doesn’t matter to him that he wasn’t the sleuth to uncover the existence of a few surviving pieces of the Madisons’ porcelain. What is important, he says, is that the results are accurate – and Grant Quertermous was careful to record the owners’ names of each remaining piece.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired numerous pieces of official White House china including pieces from James Madison. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: james madison

George W. Bush: An Old Dog learning New Tricks

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

What do you do for an encore after you’ve been President of the United States? While some former presidents have chosen to stay in the national or international spotlight working on any number of projects, others have preferred to move into a quieter, less public life. George W. Bush took up oil painting as a way to augment the outdoor sports activities he loves, such as biking and golf.

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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH WITH AMERICA'S FIRST LADY LAURA WELCH BUSH

President Bush says he was inspired by try painting after he read an essay on art written by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. His intention was to develop a new personal avocation, and he began to take lessons in painting with oils, a particularly difficult medium. He painted a variety of subjects, including a dog, a watermelon, a horse and a golf course scene. He also painted a cat that belonged to his famous mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush.

The former president also tried out a few more “risqué” subjects, painting self-portraits of himself in the bathtub (only his legs) and in the shower (only his back). He said the bathroom paintings were done to “shock” his art teacher. He also painted a portrait of his wife, Laura, who was reportedly less than enthusiastic about the result. His response? “Never paint your wife or mother.”

Our 43rd President’s new painting career received public attention when a hacker tapped into the email account of his sister, Dorothy Bush Koch, hijacking copies of the “bathroom” paintings. They went viral. No surprise.

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A PRISTINE PIECE OF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA AS SELECTED BY GEORGE W. BUSH AND THE FIRST LADY

Meanwhile, George Bush continues to paint, creating a collection of portraits of 30 world leaders with whom he had dealings – some quite notorious – while serving his two terms as President. The collection was unveiled in a showing at the George W. Bush Library and Museum in Dallas, open to the public from April through June of 2014. The exhibition was entitled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” because Bush always said he believed in the power of diplomacy in addressing the world’s problems.

Using Google Images as inspiration, he painted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Dalai Lama, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Afghan president Hamid Karzai as part of the collection. Perhaps his most talked-about painting was of Vladimir Putin, the former Russian president who is back in power and recapturing headlines today.

Art critics and political journalists have commented freely on the Putin portrait. Alistair Cooke of The Guardian described it as “unconventional and compelling,” and Adam Taylor of the Washington Post said, “I’d argue that it is a really good painting aesthetically. What’s really fascinating is to watch Bush grapple with the identity of Putin, a man he once claimed to understand well.”

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GEORGE W. BUSH ENJOYS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS GOLFING, WITH HIS CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY

More recently, George Bush unveiled an oil painting of himself and his father, former president George H. W. Bush. Bush the younger said, “I was very proud to be standing next to a man I admire greatly.” He wanted to depict his father’s “gentle soul,” but he admitted he had particular difficulty getting the noses just right as he painted.

Noting that it isn’t easy being a former President, Bush has been quoted as saying, “You get this sense of longing that you remain stimulated.” He says his oil painting hobby has help him fill that void. However future historians choose to remark on George Bush’s painting talent, it seems he has fulfilled his dream of becoming a well-known portrait painter.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired numerous pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: george w. bush white house china

Bill Clinton: The "Do-Gooder-In-Chief"

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Apr 08, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

Throughout much of American history, it was traditional for presidents leaving office to go gently into retirement, occasionally consulted by successors but remaining well outside their former spotlight. In recent times, however, that has changed dramatically for some outgoing presidents, including Bill Clinton.

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FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON IN THE OVAL OFFICE

Perhaps it’s that our presidents in recent decades have been younger – not feeling ready to relinquish all the action just because their service in the oval office has come to an end. Bill Clinton was just 46 years old when he took office in 1993, so barely in his mid-50s as he “retired” from the White House. He’s made the most of the intervening years; a former President of the United States using his unparalleled visibility, connections and clout to promote greater good around the world.

Clinton said that he wished to make a “measurable difference,” focusing on national and international problems he came to know intimately as President. Toward that end, he created the William J. Clinton Foundation when he left office in 2001. The Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to “improve global health, education, economies and environments” – a tall order, and one for which President Barack Obama has dubbed him the “Do-Gooder-in-Chief.”

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PRISTINE GOLD SERVICE PLATE FROM CLINTON'S WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - THIS PIECE IS IN THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION - AS WELL AS OTHER IMPORTANT BILL CLINTON PIECES FROM THE SAME SET

With staff and volunteers around the world, the Foundation works to find actionable solutions to a wide range of issues, including:

  • Improving global health Increase opportunities for women and girls
  • Reducing childhood obesity
  • Eliminating preventable diseases, especially AIDS
  • Enhancing economic opportunities in the US, Africa and Latin America 
  • Helping communities deal with the effects of climate change

One of the Foundation’s most prominent projects is the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), established in 2005. CGI brings together leaders from around the world to contemplate innovative solutions to critical problems. Unlike other organizations, the Clinton Global Initiative takes a unique approach that does not involve direct action to address specific issues. Instead, the focus is on creative thinking, networking, knowledge-building and collaboration.

As part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s efforts, Bill Clinton himself has traveled to Africa five times – once accompanied by Bill Gates – to promote efforts aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS. He has teamed up with former President George H. W. Bush three times – to raise awareness and funding to assist victims of the South Asia tsunami in 2004, of Hurricane Katrina in 2004 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.

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BILL CLINTON STILL IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN FINDING SOLUTIONS TO CRITICAL WORLD PROBLEMS

Clinton joined former President George W. Bush in raising money to rebuild Haiti – especially the country’s schools – following the devastating earthquake that occurred in 2010. The Foundation continues to work to create jobs and economic growth and improve sustainability in Haiti.

Most recently, “CGI University” just concluded a gathering of 1000 students from 300 schools in 75 countries, held at the University of Miami. Together, participants developed 700 Commitments to Action focusing on “new, specific, actionable plans to address pressing challenges facing campuses and communities.” Those action plans include efforts to encourage more girls to choose STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, bringing affordable, renewable energy to rural communities and improving nutrition in areas the Foundation calls “food deserts.”

Bill Clinton’s action-oriented presidential after-life has drawn attention and support from governments, organizations and individuals around the world. But he has also recruited support from his own family – so much so that the Foundation was formally renamed in 2013 to reflect the extensive involvement of the former First Lady and First Daughter. It is now known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired select pieces from Bill Clinton's White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: bill clinton white house china

Jimmy Carter - The President Who Became Famous After He Left Office

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

James Earl Carter, known to all as Jimmy, served as our 39th president, from 1977 to 1981. But historians agree he has made his real mark on the world as a former President of the United States.

The year after he left office, Jimmy Carter became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta and founded the Carter Presidential Center there. The Center, which has a sizeable staff, works internationally to promote democracy and human rights and prevent disease and hunger. But former President Jimmy Carter personally works hand-in-hand with the Center on his own numerous international efforts.

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JIMMY CARTER - PRESIDENT FROM 1977-1981

As a promoter of human rights, Carter has been a leader in providing election oversight for emerging democracies – more than 70 elections in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said of him, “When it comes to elections, Carter is the most listened-to voice in the world.”

President Carter has also worked with the US State Department as an unofficial ambassador or emissary to help mediate conflicts all around the world. On one of his missions, he stated, “I am not here as a public official, but as a citizen of a troubled world who finds hope in a growing consensus that the generally accepted goals of society are peace, freedom, human rights, environmental quality, alleviation of suffering, and the rule of law.”

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A PRISTINE PRESIDENTIAL CHINA PLATE AS SELECTED BY JIMMY CARTER

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are also well-known for their volunteer efforts on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International, not just raising their voices on the organization’s behalf but hoisting hammers as well on building projects in the U.S. and abroad.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton honored both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. He noted the Carters had formed an “extraordinary partnership,” and said that “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have done more good for more people in more places than any other couple on the face of the earth.”

In 2002 Jimmy Carter also received the Nobel Peace Prize. The official citation noted the award was for his work leading the Camp David Accords to fruition while he was president and “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights and to promote economic and social development.” At the time, Jimmy Carter was the third U.S. President to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, succeeding Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Since then, President Barack Obama also received the prize, in 2009.

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PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER WINNING THE 2002 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

As if all that hasn’t kept him busy, since leaving office Jimmy Carter has authored two dozen books, including several memoirs and even one novel entitled Hornet’s Nest, for which he also painted the cover picture. He is thought to be America’s most prolific presidential author.

Perhaps the best summary of Jimmy Carter’s post-presidential life work can be found in his own words, delivered at the end of his Nobel Lecture in 2002: "The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must."

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired numerous pieces of official White House china including pieces from President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: jimmy carter white house china

Lyndon B. Johnson - An Active Advocate for Civil Rights - And "Selma"

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

With the release of the Hollywood movie “Selma,” President Lyndon Baines Johnson is back in the news. Although the movie depicts LBJ as initially not supportive of the civil rights movement, in fact he was a major political instrument in promoting and pushing through several pieces of legislation that forever changed America.

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POSTER FOR RECENT MOVIE - SELMA - ©PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Lyndon Johnson ascended to the presidency under the worst possible circumstances, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. But while Kennedy had been well-respected for his stirring oratory and charisma, he had not been able to persuade Congress to enact new civil rights laws. Johnson, however, was an old hand at getting things done in Congress. In addition, President Johnson had the power of the sympathy factor going for him, as a result of the assassination. LBJ immediately put his skills to work to move forward Kennedy’s proposals.

From those efforts, three pieces of landmark legislation emerged, all of which were part of LBJ’s effort to encourage Americans to transform country into “a great society, a place where the meaning of man’s life matches the marvels of man’s labor.” The label Great Society has always been associated with Johnson’s social change policies.

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THE RESOLUTE LYNDON B. JOHNSON - 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first significant legislation of its kind since the Reconstruction, designed to outlaw segregation in the workplace, in schools and at “public accommodations.” It prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and banned the former practice of applying different voter registration requirements to white and black citizens.

In an speech before both houses of Congress on March 15, 1965, Johnson introduced what would become known as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, saying, “At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.”

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A PRISTINE SERVICE PLATE BELONGING TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON – PART OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

President Johnson went on, “There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy in what is happening here tonight. … Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.”

The Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law in August 1965, further outlawed racial discrimination at the polls. This legislation was subsequently amended five times as Congress sought to expand the Act’s protections under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The US Department of Justice describes the Voting Rights Act as America’s most effective civil rights legislation.

In 1965, Johnson also became the first President to appoint an African American to his cabinet, when he made Thurgood Marshall US Solicitor General. Two years later, LBJ nominated Marshall to become the first African American Justice of the US Supreme Court.

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PRESIDENT JOHNSON WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AS LBJ DISTRIBUTES OFFICIAL BILL-SIGNER PENS FROM HIS SIGNING OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

And in 1968, Johnson spearheaded efforts to pass another Civil Rights Act, sometimes known as the Fair Housing Act because it was aimed at ensuring equal housing opportunity regardless of race, creed or national origin. This legislation also made it a federal crime to use force or threat of force to “injure, intimidate or interfere with anyone” because of their race, color, religion or national origin.

While the country faced other significant domestic and international challenges during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, he will always be especially remembered for his commitment to establishing true equality among all United States citizens.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired pieces from Lyndon B. Johnson's official White House China Collection. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

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The Unfortunate Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Only two Presidents in America’s history have been impeached: President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton. Neither one was convicted, resulting in both presidents finishing their terms in office. Many Americans these days know the story of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Andrew Johnson’s is a lesser known story.

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ANDREW JOHNSON - 17TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Johnson Becomes President

Andrew Johnson, a democratic senator from Tennessee during the Civil War, was the only US Senator from a seceding state to remained loyal to the Union. This, plus the fact he was a democrat, gave President Abraham Lincoln a strong reason to choose Johnson as a running mate. Together, they were victorious in the 1864 election, gaining approval from both Republicans and Democrats. Less than 5 months after the election, President Lincoln was shot and killed. President Johnson stepped into his place, however unprepared, with plans to unite a broken nation.

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ABE LINCOLN CHOOSES ANDREW JOHNSON AS HIS RUNNING MATE

His Unending Struggle with Congress

President Johnson, an overt racist, struggled against a Republican Congress in his plan to reconstruct the South. President Johnson’s Reconstruction Policy for the South was so lenient, it preserved the entire system of slavery under a different name. “Black Codes” were laws designed to restrict blacks’ rights and ensure they remained cheap, if not free, labor. Johnson’s Reconstruction Policy also granted complete amnesty to ex-Confederates. This left the Republican Congress enraged.

In response, Congress created the Civil Rights Act to ensure blacks had the right to buy property and testify in court. Johnson vetoed the Act, but Congress overrode the veto by a single vote. The power struggle continued and eventually came to a climax when Johnson tried to replace Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, with Generally Ulysses S Grant. This was a direct violation of the Tenure of Office Act - another act passed over the President's veto. Grant turned the office back to Stanton due to the Senate's protests.

Andrew Johnson wasn’t easily going to give up, though. He decided to again try to replace Stanton, this time with General Lorenzo Thomas. Stanton put up quite a fight this time, barricading himself in his office. The House of Representatives was not going to stand for Johnson’s shenanigans anymore. They formally impeached him on February 24th, 1868. Congress brought forward 11 Articles of Impeachment, many of which charged the President with illegally removing Stanton from office. The last two articles were more vague; saying Johnson slandered Congress through "inflammatory and scandalous harangues."

Unfortunately, Johnson didn’t even have the public on his side. Throughout his term, there had been many personal attacks aimed at him. He was accused of being a "drunken imbecile" and "ludicrous boor.” Johnson had indeed shown up drunk to his vice presidential inauguration and insulted many high ranking officers.

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ANDREW JOHNSON'S IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

The Impeachment Trial

Johnson’s impeachment trial began on March 13th. Three different votes were held and they each ended the same: Congress was one vote short of convicting President Johnson. A young republican senator, Edmund Ross of Kansas, stood between Congress and their goals to see Johnson removed from office. Senator Ross stood his ground, voted “not guilty” each time, and essentially ended the impeachment trial. President Johnson finished his term, moved back to Tennessee, and successfully ran for Senate. Only a few months after returning to DC as a Senator, he suffered a paralytic attack and passed away.

Andrew Johnson’s downfall came from his views on how to effectively handle the Reconstruction of the South, combined with his inability to work peacefully with Congress. He started and ended his political career as a senator, showing that he insisted to the end on having a hand in government, no matter the position.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

Advanced collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired pieces from many various US Presidents' official White House China Collections. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: Andrew Johnson White House China

President's Day or George Washington's Birthday?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

President’s Day - like many other national holidays - has become an excuse to go shopping due to the large sales many stores hold. President’s Day, now celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February, stands for much more than that, though. It has deep roots in American History and exists that we may remember former leaders of our country - specifically George Washington.

Originally, President’s Day was known as Washington’s Birthday and was always celebrated on February 22nd, his actual birthday. It dates back to February 1800, the year after Washington’s death. At the time, George Washington was considered the most prominent American figure, thus an unofficial celebration seemed necessary. Nearly 85 years later, it became an official National Holiday. It was 1 of 5 National Holidays and the only one celebrating an individual’s life.

george-washington-john-trumbullAMERICA'S FIRST PRESIDENT - GEORGE WASHINGTON

Washington’s Birthday becomes President’s Day

In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into law. The Act was an attempt to create more 3-day weekends for government workers to discourage truancy. By this time, Washington’s Birthday was joined by Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day. Each was moved from it’s original day to a certain Monday of it’s respective month. Some people thought moving the holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meanings. Retailers were for it as they saw it as an opportunity to boost sales.

By moving Washington’s Birthday to the 3rd Monday in February, many considered it a way to honor Abraham Lincoln who also had a February birthday. This led to a proposal to change the name to President’s Day. Marketers and retailers were among the first to start promoting the name change. They began advertising “President’s Day” sales. Some states celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday separately from Washington’s birthday giving government workers and schools two days off in February.

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FROM THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION - PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA - 9.5" DINNER PLATE

By the mid-1980s most Americans were referring to the Holiday as President's Day and by 2000 most calendars had also made the switch. Some states took the liberty to add prominent state figures to the list of who was honored. For example, Arkansas celebrates Daisy Gatson Bates, a civil right’s activist, on the same day. Many states also refer to the Holiday in ways to be sure both Lincoln and Washington are honored. For example, Montana calls it “Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthday.” Alabama chooses to recognize Thomas Jefferson instead of Abraham Lincoln.

No longer a birthday celebration

So far, there are four presidents with birthdays in February: George Washington, William Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan. Interestingly enough, President's Day never actually falls on any of their birthdays.

Today, most people consider President’s Day a day to recognize all the men who have served our country as President. Although not everyone gets the day off from work, we can all take time to remember the sacrifices, time, and service each President gives during their terms. We can be thankful for a nation based on strong, moral values gleaned from president’s such as George Washington.

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RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired numerous pieces of official White House china from President George Washington to President Bill Clinton. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the first or second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTENTION: SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND/OR PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: George Washington

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