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Boris the Bear, President Hoover's Valet

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Feb 09, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

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HERBERT HOOVER AND HIS FAMILY IN 1933.
THE UNOFFICIAL DUTIES OF KOSTA BORIS INCLUDED "FETCHING" THE GRANDCHILDREN FOR PRESIDENT HOOVER.

Margaret Hoover Brigham was quite young when she lived with her presidential grandfather, Herbert Hoover, in the White House. Just five years old, she and her brother moved temporarily to the Executive Mansion when their father took ill. They lived on the third floor, in what was then the family quarters.

“We were incorporated into the family doings at convenient times,” she remembers. “In the afternoon, late afternoon Kosta Boris, Granddaddy's valet, would come find me and we would walk over to the office and wait in the cabinet room. Sometimes it would be a little longer than Boris had estimated that Granddaddy would be through, so Boris would get underneath the table and pretend he was a bear roaring, just to amuse me, keep me from making too much noise or getting in the way.”

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ELEGANT GOLDEN BRONZE HAND FORMATION. A PERSONAL GIFT FROM PRESIDENT HOOVER FOR FIRST LADY LOU HENRY HOOVER IN 1929 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE PRESIDENTIAL COLLECTIONS HERE

So who was this Kosta Boris? Like several other presidential valets over the years, he met Herbert Hoover while serving in the military. In Kosta Boris’ case, the year was 1918, the place Paris. Kosta was a Serbian native and naturalized American citizen who spoke Serbian, French, and English fluently. After joining the Army, he was assigned to the U.S. Food Administrator’s office. There, he served as orderly to the Administrator, Herbert Hoover.

Every presidential valet has had some duties in common – notably, overseeing the sartorial side of the president’s daily life. But many had other broad responsibilities, serving as personal assistants, barbers, bartenders, waiters, companions, and confidantes. Historians suggest each president’s valet knew him as (or more) intimately than anyone else. That was certainly the case with Kosta Boris and Herbert Hoover.

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ORIGINAL PIECE OF ART FROM THE FAMILY LIVING QUARTERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE DURING HOOVER'S FOUR YEAR PRESIDENTIAL TERM - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Although Kosta had numerous other offers, he accepted Hoover’s invitation to return to the US after the war and become Hoover’s personal valet. The Hoover family, including Kosta Boris, settled in Palo Alto, California, where Herbert, Jr. was attending Stanford University. His younger brother was still in high school. Former President and Mrs. Hoover traveled quite a bit, so it fell to Kosta to look after the boys. But he also ran errands, served as butler, waited table, and of course maintained Mr. Hoover’s wardrobe.

Kosta became known as “Boris,” because it was traditional for valets to be addressed by their last name. Naturally, when Herbert Hoover was elected President in 1928, Boris moved with him to the White House. He continued to fulfill broad duties, laughingly referred to by the Hoover family as “Domestic Maestro” or “Factum Factotum.”

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PRESIDENT HERBERT HOOVER WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT TO HAVE A TELEPHONE INSTALLED IN THE OVAL OFFICE

But he was always mindful of Hoover’s desire to dress formally for dinner, even when there were no guests or other family members present. “He had his full dress clothes in the White House,” recalled Boris later. “A tuxedo, a cutaway coat, two blue suits, one brown and, of course, pairs of white trousers, white shoes, blue coat; a Palm Beach suit. It had a little belt in the back.”

White House seamstress Lillian Rogers Parks thought Boris “looked more like a diplomat than a valet,” as he was “tall and handsome, with salt and pepper hair.” Perhaps that’s why he caught the eye of Essie Paul while shopping in Washington, DC. A department store sales clerk, she became his wife.

It was back to Palo Alto for the Hoovers after his presidency. Boris and his wife went, too. Boris and Essie remained there – in fact, Boris served as valet for two Stanford presidents, after the Hoovers moved to New York City. But Boris and Essie paid an annual visit to Herbert Hoover in New York, up until his death in 1964.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Herbert Hoover

John Quincy Adams: Old Man Eloquent

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

John_Quincy_Adams

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (1767-1848)
OUR 6TH PRESIDENT (1825-1829)

Our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, was known throughout much of his public career as “Old Man Eloquent.” He worked tirelessly to support causes he believed just, using words as well as actions to shape the country’s future. So it’s no surprise that the White House China which represents his presidency is also eloquent in its own way.

The JQ Adams china speaks of history. It is illustrated with Etruscan-inspired designs – beautifully hand-rendered antique cameo reserves, medallions, and leafy arabesques. Some pieces feature different designs that call to mind marine life, with seahorses, seashells and other motifs. The china speaks of elegance, using extensive gold trim to offset the colorful yet muted illustrations. The overall impression is one of delicacy and grace, yet the china service no doubt created a powerful presence for presidential guests.

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IMPRESSIVE RARE SQUARE SHALLOW SERVING PIECE FROM THE JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - CIRCA 1800 TO 1814 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

White House China from the John Quincy Adams era is very rare. By now, surviving pieces are about 200 years old. The exact date this porcelain was manufactured is not known, but historians and collectors believe it was probably produced somewhere around 1800-1814.

John Quincy Adams served as president from 1825 to 1829. His direct descendant Mary Louisa Adams Clement, who passed away in 1950, stated she believed the china was purchased in France while Adams was serving as American Ambassador to Russia. He held that position from 1809 to 1814.

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LOUISA ADAMS (1775-1852)
DAUGHTER OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL IN LONDON, SHE IS CURRENTLY THE ONLY FIRST LADY BORN OUTSIDE THE U.S.

Verso markings are not particularly helpful, either, when it comes to investigating the provenance of JQ Adams china. Often these markings appear on the bottoms of plates or other pieces and clearly identify the manufacturer, the designer, and/or the date of production. In the case of some presidential collections, verso markings actually state “White House China” or something similar.

But for the Adams service, markings are ambiguous. Some pieces appear to have a faint white line and incised initials. Some have a mark that looks like a pair of crossed arrows. And some are unmarked. This seems to indicate the “set” of dinnerware might have been pulled together from multiple factories, then meticulously decorated later on.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS CHINA

ELEGANT RARE ONE-PIECE CUSTARD CUP FROM THE JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - CIRCA 1800 TO 1814 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The fact that any of this lovely dinnerware still exists is in part a tribute to Mary Louisa Adams Clement’s generosity. In early times, White House China was often deliberately destroyed when it aged out of service and was replaced. This practice prevented the older pieces from being sold.

However, Mary Louisa Adams Clement possessed several pieces of the Adams service, likely handed down through family generations. She donated them to The Smithsonian Institution, to help create the Adams-Clement Collection. Other pieces are housed in collections at the White House, The Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx also owns another exquisite example of this rare White House China – an oval saucer and round custard cup set.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Rutherford B. Hayes

Irvin McDuffie: From Shining Shoes to Presidential Valet

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Dec 08, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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IRVIN McDUFFIE - DEVOTED VALET TO FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

Only a very few men in our nation’s history can say they served as valet to the President of the United States. Irvin McDuffie was one of them. Hired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as valet and personal assistant, McDuffie – or Mac, as FDR called him – later described Roosevelt as “the kindest and finest man in the world.”

Irvin McDuffie was a Georgia native. He worked his way up from shining shoes in an Atlanta barber shop to co-owning a shop. Along the way, however, he also served as a valet for the German consul in Atlanta. In 1927, McDuffie injured his legs and, after that, could not stand for extended periods. One of his barbershop customers heard him say he wished to find another valet position instead. As it happened, this customer was a building materials supplier to FDR’s Warm Springs Foundation. He mentioned McDuffie to Roosevelt, knowing he was looking for a valet.

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LOVELY DINNER PLATE FROM THE F.D.R. OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES A TIMELESS DESIGN INSPIRED BY THE ROOSEVELT FAMILY COAT OF ARMS - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

It was the beginning of a long and historic relationship - an adventure for McDuffie and his wife, Lizzie, whom the Roosevelts later hired as their maid.

Unlike some other presidential valets, McDuffie never actually selected FDR’s wardrobe. He would lay out several options, but FDR always made the final decision. McDuffie did make an “executive” wardrobe decision one time, though. He confiscated the tie FDR was wearing at the time of an attempted assassination in 1933, when he was still President-Elect. He felt the tie had become unlucky.

In addition to duties normally associated with being a valet, McDuffie assisted the President with personal activities made difficult by FDR’s polio. Mac lifted FDR into and out of bed and his wheelchair, and helped him put on his steel leg braces. He also helped him dress. He was always in awe of Roosevelt, one time saying of him, “He can work five men to death while he lies in bed.”

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F.D.R. USED THIS WALNUT SHAFT CANE A GREAT DEAL UNTIL HE CRACKED THE IVORY HANDLE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Irvin McDuffie even had an official double. FDR started using one – a man named Sean O’Grady – in 1932. Although the President had received death threats, the primary reason for introducing a double was that the president’s polio tired him, making it difficult to make every scheduled public appearance. From even a short distance, O’Grady looked remarkably like FDR. And just after the inauguration in 1933, the president’s valet was also replaced with a double for certain public appearances -- one Rufus Strother. This was the first time either an American President or his valet used a double.

McDuffie himself accompanied President Roosevelt to Brazil in 1936. During the visit, Mac was detained by the Rio de Janeiro police. It was a mistake, but the incident caused McDuffie to miss the sailing of the USS Indianapolis, the President’s ship. FDR was so upset at the thought of making do without his valet, he dispatched the USS Chester to bring McDuffie home.

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THIS CLASSIC BLACK TIE WITH WHITE STRIPES WAS ONE OF ROOSEVELT'S FAVORITE WARDROBE ITEMS - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION 

In her memoirs, Lizzie McDuffie noted that she and her husband became FDR’s insider spokespeople for African American conditions. Their positions within the White House family were well-known, so they were privy to reports of discrimination in the postal service and the Works Progress Administration, among other issues. They personally carried these stories to the President.

Toward the end of his life, Irvin McDuffie worked in a job that FDR arranged at the Treasury Department. He passed away on January 30, 1945. Coincidentally, that was the date that would have been Roosevelt’s 64th birthday.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Franklin D. Roosevelt

Rutherford B. Hayes China: Unique in Many Ways

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

rutheford hayes

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES (1822-1893)
OUR 19TH PRESIDENT (1877-1881)

Throughout our nation’s history, several US presidents have used their Official White House China as a means to celebrate America’s beauty and bounty. The china collection commissioned by President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Hayes is one of the most spectacular examples of this.

Produced by the renowned Haviland & Co. of Limoges, France, the dinnerware features stunning artistic renderings designed in America. The choice of decoration was something of an accident. First Lady Lucy Hayes had already chosen Haviland to manufacture her dinnerware. One day, she was in the White House conservatory looking at botanical samples that might be used to inspire designs. Theodore Russell Davis, at the time a writer and artist for Harper’s Weekly, just happened to be on hand.

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RARE HAND PAINTED DESSERT PLATE FROM THE HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - DESIGNED BY THEODORE R. DAVIS - MANUFACTURED BY HAVILAND & CO. - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

He suggested featuring North American flora and fauna as subjects. That way the dinnerware would reflect both the spirit of nationalism and strong interest in nature, both of which were prevalent at the time. Mrs. Hayes was so taken with this she asked Davis to direct the artistic aspects of the project.

Davis proceeded to create illustrations, from which etchings were made so the design outlines could be transferred to the dishes. Chromolithography and decalcomania were used to colorize, then the final shading, enameling and gilding was done by hand. A total of 16 artists worked on the project. In all, the Hayes china service incorporates an astounding 130 different designs.

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IMPRESSIVE HAND PAINTED FISH PLATTER FROM THE HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

What sets this china service apart isn’t only the tremendous variety of artistic designs. In a distinct break with tradition, many of the plates are not round but unusual shapes – teardrops, multi-sided geometric shapes, some with scalloped edges or curled lips or corners (see above). Many of the pieces also include raised patterns and shapes that add dimension to the subject matter -- flowering plants, birds, mammals and sea creatures, often shown in their natural settings.

In many cases, the decoration depicts the use of the dish. For instance, seafood plates feature oysters or lobsters. Ice cream dishes feature snowy scenes with snowshoes. Dinner platters display the regal American wild turkey.

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THE HAND PAINTED EAGLE ON THE HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA IS A REPLICA OF THE OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL EMBLEM

As with many White House china collections, the Hayes china features distinctive verso markings that make it easy to authenticate its provenance. These include a beautiful polychrome eagle in the same pose as is used for the official emblem of the President of the United States. Some of the Hayes designs were also produced for purchase by the public. These are easily differentiated, as their verso markings show a blue 1880 patent mark instead of the 1879 pennant mark. Both the Presidential China made for the public as well as The White House are scarce.

The Hayes china was delivered to the White House in June of 1879. With it came an 88-page booklet which listed the pieces in the collection, the 16 artists who participated in creating the designs and decoration and 67 pen-and-ink illustrations of some of the pieces, along with written descriptions.

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FIRST LADY LUCY WEBB HAYES (1831-1889)

The new china was first used in November, 1880 when President and Mrs. Hayes hosted a small gathering for President-elect and Mrs. James Garfield. The following month, the china debuted at an official state dinner that honored former President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, culminating their around-the-world trip. This was also a relatively small dinner. There were only 40 invitees, but they represented the nation’s top leadership, from members of the Cabinet and Congress to Supreme Court Justices and high-ranking military officers.

By today’s standards, Rutherford Hayes’ White House china was a small collection – just 562 total pieces for nine courses, compared to current presidential sets that often include more than 300 place settings, thus equaling over 2,000 pieces. Naturally, formal state dinners today frequently seat far more dignitaries than were invited by presidents of old.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Rutherford B. Hayes

The President's Valet - Just What Do They Do?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER WITH HIS DEVOTED VALET, SERGEANT JOHN MOANEY

Every President of the United States has had a valet. But unlike many valet positions, serving as personal assistant to the POTUS involves more than assembling the day’s wardrobe. The president’s valet has always been a factotum and confidante as well.

Their “insider view” of the American Presidency is a rare one, indeed. Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, renowned collector of White House China and other Presidential memorabilia, has known Presidential valets, as well as other “upstairs” level White House aides. Through them, he has collected facts and stories about many of our chief executives and life in the Executive Mansion during their tenure.

washington white house china

ELEGANT PLATE FROM THE WASHINGTON CHINA COLLECTION, CONSIDERED TO BE "THE HOLY GRAIL" OF A WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

Our first President had a favorite slave – William Lee  who served as Washington's personal assistant. Later in life, when George Washington died, Presidents James Madison and John Tyler also had slaves that served as their personal assistants.

eisenhower moaney grilling

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER AND SGT. MOANEY WERE BOTH SELF-PROCLAIMED "GRILL MASTERS"

One of the most famous Presidential valets was Sgt. John Moaney, a long-time aide to Dwight Eisenhower. Moaney first met Eisenhower when he was transferred to the General’s personal staff during World War II. Moaney traveled from post to post during Eisenhower’s service as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, as did several other enlisted men who also had the privilege to work for Eisenhower as cooks, drivers, secretaries and butlers.

Sgt. Moaney’s official job was in the kitchen, but he also cared for Eisenhower’s two Scottie dogs and the two dozen puppies they produced over the years. When it came time to move to a new post, Sgt. Moaney took charge of packing up the household.

eisenhower moaney tool chest gift

THIS HANDSOME CUSTOM HAND-MADE WOODEN TOOL CHEST, CRAFTED BY THE WHITE HOUSE CARPENTERS, WAS A 1959 CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM MOANEY TO EISENHOWER - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION 

Following the war, Sgt. Moaney declined to muster out, preferring to stay with General Eisenhower. By doing so, he ultimately became valet to the President. Before that, though, he followed Eisenhower to Columbia University during his stint as president of the college and moved with him to Europe when the General was supreme commander of NATO’s European forces. At Columbia, Eisenhower wore business suits rather than the military uniforms Sgt. Moaney was used to caring for. Moaney had no way of knowing that would prepare him for his future role as valet to the President.

As Presidential valet, tending to the President’s wardrobe was just one of Sgt. Moaney’s responsibilities. He reports he was also called upon to waken the President each morning, organize ingredients so the President could make his favorite vegetable soup, and run the projector so the First Family could watch a movie. Not surprisingly, he also assisted the President by shagging golf balls as Eisenhower practice his swing on the South Lawn.

eisenhower moaney golf

SGT. MOANEY LINING UP GOLF BALLS FOR EISENHOWER WHILE ABOARD SHIP

Since Richard Nixon’s tenure, Presidential valets have not been life-long personal aides but members of the military or the White House staff specifically selected for the job. Nonetheless, close relationships still develop.

Hired on to Barack Obama’s Senate office staff in 2006, Reggie Love became the President’s “body man” in 2007 and served into 2011. He describes the comprehensive nature of the job: "I was his DJ, his Kindle, his travel agent, his valet, his daughters' basketball coach, his messenger, his punching bag, his alarm clock, his vending machine, his chief of stuff, his note passer, his spades partner, his party planner, his workout partner, his caterer, his small forward, his buffer, his gatekeeper, his surrogate son … his friend."

obama official white house china

THE BARACK OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES A UNIQUE KAILUA BLUE RIM - COMING SOON TO THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Dwight Eisenhower

The Evolution of White House China Patterns

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

FDR.Roosevelt.China.jpg

HANDSOME DINNER PLATE FROM THE FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION DISPLAYS THE TRADITIONAL PRESIDENTIAL EMBLEM MOTIF AT THE TOP OF THE PLATE - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Throughout American history, each president has put his own personal imprint on the dinnerware used within the White House. In some administrations, First Ladies have taken the lead, not only supervising production of the china, but actively helping to create the designs themselves. It is interesting to look back and see how White House china has evolved.

One thing that has remained nearly constant is the use of the Presidential Emblem  – at least on formal dinnerware. (A few presidents ordered a second set of dishes for personal use.) The Presidential Emblem usually takes center stage on Service plates, but in some instances such as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s service, the Presidential Emblem motif sits on the rim at the top of the plate.

truman WHITE HOUSE CHINA

SOPHISTICATED SERVICE PLATE FROM THE HARRY S. TRUMAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

The American bald eagle holds a cluster of arrows in his left talons, symbolizing readiness for war. On his right, he holds an olive branch, symbolizing the desire for peace. Initially the eagle’s head faced to the left, but President Truman formally revised the Official Seal so the eagle now faces the olive branch of peace.

woodrow_wilson_white house china

STUNNING SERVICE PLATE FROM THE WOODROW WILSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Gold has featured prominently over the years, sometimes used heavily, sometimes delicately within the decoration. Banding and, sometimes, stars represent the stars and stripes of our nation’s flag. Woodrow Wilson’s Service plate carries both a wide, ornate gold band on outer rim and a narrower gold band on the inside. And Benjamin Harrison’s china featured delicate gold drawings of ears of corn on a black ground, honoring our nation’s heartland.

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CAPTIVATING DINNER PLATE FROM THE BENJAMIN HARRISON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY TRESSEMANES AND VOGT, LIMOGES - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Barack and Michelle Obama chose an unusual shade of blue to rim their dinnerware – a shade they named Kailua Blue, reminiscent of the ocean waters surrounding the President’s native Hawaii.

Obama white house china

THE BARACK OBAMA OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES A UNIQUE KAILUA BLUE RIM

In some cases, personal preferences beyond color have been featured. The magnolia blossom that centers informal plates from the George W. and Laura Bush collection honors the venerable magnolia tree on the White House lawn, said to be the oldest tree on the property. The pretty wildflowers that rim the plates of the Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson formal dinnerware reflect Mrs. Johnson’s lifelong love of our nation’s natural beauty. Wildflowers depicted in the collection represent the official state flower of each of the 50 states. Official White House China ordered by Ulysses S. Grant and James K. Polk also featured flowers in the center of some of the plates.

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LOVELY SERVICE PLATE FROM THE LYNDON B. JOHNSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MFG. BY CASTLETON CHINA - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Geometric designs have also remained popular. Perhaps the most unusual example is Zachary Taylor’s china, which has a striking, almost Oriental-looking black and white pattern.

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BOLD PLATE FROM THE ZACHARY TAYLOR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES AN UNUSUAL GEOMETRIC PATTERN

White House china runs the gamut, from simple to ornate, subdued to flashy. The ultimate may be Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s bright red-banded dishes. Or Bill and Hillary Clinton’s heavy emphasis on gold decoration. The Clintons broke with tradition, replacing the usual Presidential Emblem with architectural drawings of the White House.

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

GORGEOUS SERVICE PLATE FROM THE RONALD REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Unlike his successors, George Washington used his own furnishings to entertain political guests. On one set of his dishes, a slender serpent surrounds the outer rim holding its tail in its mouth. Inside, 13 ovals each bear the name of one of our original 13 states. And in the center a stylized golden sunburst with 13 rays reaches out to each of the states.

WASHINGTON white house china

RARE CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN PLATE FROM THE GEORGE WASHINGTON WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Some collections or individual pieces have verso markings that indicate dates, the manufacturer or other details about the china; others have no markings.

fdr_w.h._china_verso_clos_up_fdr-white-house-china-verso-1.jpg

VERSO MARKING FROM THE F.D.R. OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION DEPICTS THE YEAR AS WELL AS WHERE THE CHINA WAS MANUFACTURED AND BY WHICH COMPANY

Over time, the size of the collections ordered has increased significantly. State dinners have grown in size, as has White House capacity to serve more guests at official dinners. So where early sets might have included 140 pieces altogether, a modern-day service may include as many as 320 place settings.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: White House China

The Mysterious Location of the Jimmy Carter White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Oct 06, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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JAMES EARL CARTER JR. (1924)
OUR 39TH PRESIDENT (1977-1981)

Friends of President and Mrs. Carter presented them an attractive Service from Lenox decorated with the Gold Presidential Seal and a "Carter Green" Border, surrounded in Intricate 3-D Gold Detail.

jimmy carter white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,STRIKING DINNER PLATE FROM THE JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The well known White House China Collector & Historian, Set Momjian, spearheaded the private fund raising for The Carter China project. However, President Jimmy Carter's 1981 White House China arrived too late for their own use in the Executive Mansion.

jimmy carter white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,A VIVID CLOSE-UP OF THE EXQUISITE BORDER OF THE JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL CHINA COLLECTION

Although the beautiful Presidential China is Marked in Gold – "The White House – 1980 OR Jimmy Carter", this White House China was actually completed after President Jimmy Carter and First lady Roslyn Carter left The White House in 1981, for Plains, Georgia.

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ADDITIONAL ELEGANT EXAMPLES FROM THE JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL CHINA COLLECTION

Therefore, almost all of their, "Official" White House China was delivered to the Carter Presidential Library, in that no public funds had been expended in the design and purchase of this Service.  However, it is believed that the Executive Mansion does have examples in their impressive White House China Collection.

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STATELY TEA CUP AND SAUCER FROM THE JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL CHINA COLLECTION

The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection (a.k.a.) The American Heritage Collection presently has a Carter Service Plate, Dinner Plate and a Cup & Saucer on perpetual display.

JIMMY CARTER WHITE HOUSE CHINA,RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX,THE RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX COLLECTION,JIMMY CARTER WHITE HOUSE CHINA - VERS0 MARKINGS - INTERESTINGLY OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA OF WILSON,FDR,TRUMAN,REAGAN & CARTER MAY ALSO HAVE THE ADDED DISTINCTION OF TWO MORE WORDS ON THE VERSO - "EXHIBIT COLLECTION"

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,COLLECTOR & HISTORIAN - RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX

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

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

 

Tags: Jimmy Carter

White House China: How to tell what's AUTHENTIC

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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ELEGANT DESSERT PLATE FROM THE JAMES K. POLK OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY EDOUARD D. HONORE' - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

Imagine you have recently inherited a beautiful piece of china from your grandmother. Family legend has it this piece was once official White House China – part of a set used by a past American president for official state occasions. But is that true? How can you tell if your piece of china is the genuine article or a reproduction?

Start by looking at the bottom of the piece of china. Throughout the history of china production, artisans and manufacturers have often put identifying marks on their work. These are called “verso” markings because they are placed on the backs of plates or bottoms of bowls and cups. So turn your piece over and see what’s there. You may find one or more symbols or words, either painted or stamped or raised. These marks can be very helpful in identifying whether your china is a White House original or a reproduction.

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VERSO MARKING ON A SERVICE PLATE FROM THE BILL CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Then, you should do some research on White House China. Do you know which president supposedly used your china? If not, you can find photos of past White House dinnerware online. Look to see if there is one that matches your plate. Read up on that president’s china, and examine your plate to see if all the details match.

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BEAUTIFUL HAND-PAINTED DINNER PLATE FROM THE ULYSSES S. GRANT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED IN FRANCE BY HAVILAND & CO. - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

It may also help to determine what your china is made from. The word “china” is used universally to refer to all types of dinnerware, because the process originated in China thousands of years ago. But, in fact, there are three general types of china:

1. Hard-paste porcelain is made from the original Chinese clay known as kaolin, usually mixed with alabaster. Meissen was the first European manufacturer to produce hard-paste porcelain, in 1710. Modern hard-paste porcelain incorporates quartz instead of alabaster.

2. Soft-paste porcelain is a variation created by European manufacturers to replace imported kaolin with local clay such as that found near Limoges, France. You can tell the difference between hard- and soft-paste porcelain by holding the plate with your fingertips and tapping the edge lightly with a coin. Hard-paste porcelain makes a high-pitched note.

3. Bone china was developed in England in the mid-1700s. Whereas porcelain is very white, bone china is ivory in color because bone ash is mixed with the clay. Bone china is also very light and has a translucent quality to it. You can see that well if you hold your piece of china up to the light.

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DELICATE FRENCH 1845 DINNER PLATE FROM THE FRANKLIN PIERCE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - IMPORTED AND DECORATED BY HAUGHWOUT AND DAILEY- PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

It is important to note that White House china is unique because each collection was custom-designed for a particular President and First Lady. Many of them were very hands-on when it came to working with the designers to create a pattern and choose colors. In America’s early days, administrations were allowed to dispose of “decayed furnishings” in order to raise money for replacements. So state china was often given away or sold, damaged or not, to make way for new dishes. This is one way your piece of china could have been acquired.

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INTRICATELY DESIGNED SERVICE PLATE FROM THE LYNDON B. JOHNSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON CHINA - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Eventually, Congress passed a law drafted by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her Fine Arts Advisory Committee in 1961, which declared all White House furnishings to be historic property of the White House and not to be sold. Today, damaged or no-longer-used official White House China is deliberately destroyed. In fact, there is a funny story about a set of dessert plates ordered by Lyndon Johnson. The plates were not of expected quality, so White House staff members reportedly smashed them against a wall in the basement that had been painted with caricatures of presidential assistants.

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ELEGANT DESSERT PLATE FROM THE 1817 JAMES MONROE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY DAGOTY AND HONORE' - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Unless you have reliable provenance – letters or other documents that trace the history of your china piece all the way from its White House days – the best way to authenticate it may be to consult an experienced appraiser or professional collector, like Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, who is knowledgeable about presidential state china.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: White House China

Did Harding Gamble White House China: Truth or Myth?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 @ 10:03 AM

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WARREN G. HARDING (1865-1923)
OUR 29TH PRESIDENT (1921-1923)

Warren G. Harding is widely described as the worst president in American history. He was our 29th chief executive, serving from 1921 to 1923. Although stories abound to explain just why he is considered our worst president, one of the funniest – depending on your point of view – is the fact that he gambled away an entire set of White House china. And he bet it all on one unfortunate hand.

Harding has been described as “good-looking, charming and out of his depth” and “oddly likeable in his ineptitude.” He evidently agreed with these assessments, saying about himself, “I am a man of limited talents from a small town; I don’t seem to grasp that I am president.” Not surprisingly, Congress had their way with him during his term in office, but he didn’t appear to mind.

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PRESIDENT HARDING'S ORNATELY MONOGRAMMED "WGH" STERLING DESK TOP BOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OF HARDINGS PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS HERE.

After all, he had his cigars. And his poker games. Warren Harding was a confirmed poker fan long before he entered the White House. While President, he played twice a week with assorted friends and members of his cabinet, including Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty, Secretary of War John W. Weeks and Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall. He encouraged everyone to play as equals, regardless of their specific position. And competition was taken seriously. The group, which was informally nicknamed the Poker Cabinet, reportedly drank heartily during their games, despite the fact that Prohibition was in full swing. Harding apparently didn’t find this to be a breach of presidential leadership.

Oh, and that set of china that he was rumored to have blithely gambled away? It had been in the White House collection since Benjamin Harrison was president. Some historians say the game wasn’t even real poker, but something called a “cold hand,” not unlike the children’s card game War. Players simply draw cards, and the person with the highest card wins.

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MONOGRAMMED W.G.H. PLAYING CARDS WERE OWNED AND USED BY PRESIDENT HARDING - MFG. BY BAILEY, BANKS AND BIDDLE OF PHILADELPHIA - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Harding wasn’t the only president to favor poker. Even President Barack Obama is known to love the card game, though he has played far less frequently (at least visibly) since becoming president. Some political experts suggest poker actually teaches “presidential” behaviors. To excel at the game, players must learn to calculate upcoming moves, assess risk vs. reward and bluff others successfully while reading them correctly.

Among Harding’s other failings as president, he had an affair with the wife of his friend James Phillips. The Republican National Committee was so horrified this would become public knowledge, they paid monthly hush money to Mr. Phillips and his wife. Harding’s term was also known for internal financial scandals, in which numerous government officials took bribes and skimmed money from the sale of surplus war items. His Secretary of the Interior not only participated in the Poker Cabinet, he sold national oil reserves and kept the money for himself. He was also the architect of the Teapot Dome scandal.

Warren G. Harding’s presidential term was (perhaps mercifully) short. He suffered a heart attack and passed away in 1923, reportedly before much of the scandalous behavior that marked his term had become widely known. Despite everything, he was a consistently popular president.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Warren G. Harding

Lincoln White House China: A Rare Royal Color

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

mary todd lincoln

MARY ANN TODD LINCOLN (1818-1882)
FIRST LADY TO OUR 16TH PRESIDENT (1861-1865)

Mary Todd Lincoln was born into a socially prominent, slave-holding family in Lexington, Kentucky. Because of this, she was raised in a household where elegant dinner parties were a regular occurrence. When she and her newly-elected-President husband Abraham moved into the White House in 1861, Mrs. Lincoln expected to host elegant state parties of her own. Imagine her disappointment when she found only a hodge-podge of official dinnerware from previous administrations.

As First Lady, she made acquiring new White House china a top priority. In fact, historians note she was the first Presidential wife to personally take on this task. Throughout the 1800s, American presidents ordered fine china from overseas, because American manufacturers could not meet the same standards for quality porcelain. Mary Todd Lincoln chose Haviland & Co. of Limoges, France to produce her official White House china. However, she ordered the dinnerware through New York’s E.V. Haughwout & Co.

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BEAUTIFUL HAND-PAINTED SERVICE PLATE FROM THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED IN FRANCE BY HAVILAND & CO. - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

Opened in 1857, E.V. Haughwout was a large store in Manhattan described by the New York Times as “the greatest china and porcelain house in the city.” Mary Todd Lincoln worked closely with the firm to design and hand-paint her impressive china service.

Although the dinnerware was manufactured by Haviland in France, it was Eber Haughwout and his team of artists who painted each piece. By September, 1861, the Lincoln china -- 190 pieces in all – had arrived at the White House. It cost $3,195. This service was far smaller than the huge collections with 300 or more complete place settings ordered by our most recent presidential couples.

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RARE DELICATE EGG CUP (ONLY 24 WERE ORDERED) FROM THE 1861 LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The Lincoln Official White House China collection is highly patriotic and very different from other Presidential china. The plates are white porcelain with a scalloped edge, wide solferino band and a gold rope border. In the center, there are clouds behind the traditional presidential depiction of the American bald eagle – outstretched wings, talons holding an olive branch on one side and arrows on the other. There is also a shield decorated with stars and stripes and a banner that reads “E. Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “out of many, one.”

The Lincoln White China is often referred to as “Royal Purple” or the “Lincoln solferino china” because of its distinctive shade of purplish pink. The unusual color got its name in an unusual way. It was discovered in 1859, the same year as the famous Battle of Solferino, at which Napoleon defeated the Sardinian Army. So the Lincoln china has two distinct ties with history.

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ELEGANT BUFF SERVING DISH FROM LINCOLN'S EXECUTIVE MANSION CHINA COLLECTION DURING LINCOLN'S SECOND TERM IN OFFICE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

At the Begining of the 2nd Term of the Abraham Lincoln Administration, Mary Todd Lincoln ordered a Buff Set of French Haviland China for use in the Executive Mansion. This White House China was to feature more modest decoration and to be more simple in design than the Solferino (Royal Purple) China of 1861. This Buff China set finally arrived at The White House only three months prior to the assassination of President Lincoln. Today, a number of examples of The Buff China Remain at The White House as well as at The Smithsonian Institution, and a few pieces are in advanced private collections.

So many pieces of Mrs. Lincoln’s official White House china broke or became damaged, Andrew Johnson had to order replacement pieces within just a few years. Later presidents – Ulysses Grant, Chester Arthur and Grover Cleveland -- were so taken with the lovely color and elegant decoration, they continued to order matching replacements to augment the Lincoln Presidential China service. Nonetheless, today only a small number of pieces still exist.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Abraham Lincoln

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