Blog

Did Harding Gamble White House China: Truth or Myth?

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

warren-harding-distinguished-photo-1.jpg

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.

warren-harding-monogrammed-desk-box-1.jpg

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.

warren-harding-playing-cards-1.jpg

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.

abraham-lincoln-white-house-china-1.jpg

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.

abraham-lincoln-egg-cup.jpg

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.

lincoln-white-house-china-bowl-lid-4.jpg

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

Lyndon B. Johnson China: Flowers Take Center Stage

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

lyndon johnson

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON (1908-1973)
OUR 36TH PRESIDENT (1963-1969)

Ever since James Monroe occupied the White House, it has become a tradition for most American presidents to outfit the official dining rooms with their own versions of White House China. It isn’t simply a matter of vanity. Over the decades our presidents and first ladies have hosted an increasing number of state guests. And we all know that china which gets used, eventually gets broken.

By the time President Lyndon Johnson and his wife Lady Bird had been in residence a couple of years, it became clear that new china was needed once again. It was 1967, and no new full set of Official White House China had been ordered since 1951, when Harry Truman was President. The First Lady, Lady Bird, took the lead. In fact, she played a more hands-on role than many of her predecessors, working closely with designers and the manufacturer every step of the way.

johnson_service_plate_full_whc_lbj_2-resized-600.jpg

BEAUTIFUL HAND-PAINTED SERVICE PLATE FROM THE LYNDON B. JOHNSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - DESIGNED BY TIFFANY AND COMPANY AND  MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON CHINA - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

Lenox had been the manufacturer of choice for most presidents in the 20th century, once Woodrow and Edith made the momentous switch to an American company. However, Lady Bird Johnson turned to the famous designers at Tiffany and Company of New York City for help creating the Johnson Official White House China.

The design combines America’s most enduring symbol – the federal eagle -- with Lady Bird’s signature initiative as First Lady, known as “beautification.” Her renowned efforts to honor the diverse beauty of our country and to improve the appearance of roadways and other public places are reflected in the wildflowers that decorate the Johnson Official White House China collection. The result is a set of White House China that look quite different from other Presidential collections.

johnson_china.jpg

THE HAND-PAINTED DESSERT PLATES - AS DISPLAED ON THE RIGHT - FROM THE JOHNSON'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURE EACH OF THE 50 STATES' OFFICIAL FLOWERS

Dinner plates and bowls are bordered with a variety of American wildflowers – over 40 in all -- hand-painted by well-known artist Andre Piette. This process was so time-consuming the china service wasn’t completed until 1972, well after the Johnsons had left office. Dessert plates feature each of the 50 states’ official flowers, one in center of each plate. And all plates are trimmed with a narrow border of raised gold dots. The eagle motif reflects the eagle used by President Monroe, appearing at the top center in the border of dinner plates and on the center of service plates.

lady bird johnson

LADY BIRD JOHNSON HAD A FONDNESS FOR FLOWERS, WHICH INSPIRED HER "BEAUTIFICATION" THEME FOR AMERICA

Tiffany’s designers produced actual plates with different designs for Lady Bird Johnson to review during the design process. A total of 2,208 finished pieces were manufactured by Castleton China of New Castle, Pennsylvania. The company reportedly destroyed numerous pieces during the manufacturing process before they achieved 250 approved place settings. The china was first used at an official dinner for Australian Prime Minister John Gorton.

The Lyndon B, Johnson service marks the first time official state china was not purchased with government funds. Both Tiffany and Castleton absorbed some of the cost, and the remainder was paid by an anonymous donor.

lyndon b johnson china

VERSO INSCRIPTION ON THE JOHNSON'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

When the exquisite new china was unveiled to the American public, Anthony Ostrom, manager of Tiffany’s in Chicago, noted one thing was missing. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he pointed to the fact that the state flowers were not identified on the backs of the dessert plates. “Nobody knows what they are,” he lamented.

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: George W. Bush

George W. Bush: The First "Two-China Policy"

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

bush.jpg

GEORGE W. BUSH (1946)
OUR 43RD PRESIDENT (2001-2009)

Was it an unfortunate delay or clever timing that caused the Official George W. Bush White House China to arrive just two weeks before President Bush left office? At the time, First Lady Laura Bush told reporters, “These have been in the works for several years, and it took longer than we thought.” But some White House watchers suggest the last-minute unveiling – on January 7, 2009 -- helped avoid media questions about the cost, as the Reagans were also subjected to.

In fact, George and Laura Bush were the only First Couple in history to employ what punsters at the Washington Post called a “two-china policy.” Not only did Laura commission a new 320-piece set of state china (at a cost of just under $500,000 - at no cost to the American tax payer), she ordered an entirely different set of dishes for use exclusively in the residential dining room on the second floor of the White House. Previous presidents and their families and personal guests always dined off the same dinnerware as official state visitors.

BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHINA

STUNNING SERVICE PLATE, FROM THE GEORGE W. BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION, FEATURES A GREEN CROSS-HATCHED PATTERN DERIVED FROM THE MADISON FAMILY CHINA - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

Those 75 private residence place settings cost an additional $75,000. Both dinnerware sets were paid for by the White House Historical Association Acquisition Trust, again, at no cost to the American tax payer.

The First Lady chose Lenox, often considered America’s leading manufacturer of fine china, to create the official tableware for use in the State Dining Room and the East Room. This was the first full set of White House China commissioned since 1982, and it was badly needed. The George W. Bush administration had only the Reagan and Clinton dishes to choose from, if state dinners totaled 134 people and matching dishes were required.

BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHINA

VERSO INSCRIPTION ON THE DISHES FROM THE BUSH'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

The Bush collection plates are bordered in a soft shade of green with basket-weave pattern and a circle of laurel leaves, inspired by the pattern on James and Dolley Madison’s personal dinnerware. There is a gold eagle in the center, the motif taken from an eagle inlay in a sideboard once owned by Daniel Webster. Chargers in the set state “The White House 2008 Lenox, made in the U.S.A.” on the verso. Mrs. Bush worked with the White House floral designer to choose the colors. They chose muted green instead of the usual bold colors, because it would complement any type of flower arrangement. Mrs. Bush also liked the fact that the color would coordinate nicely at Christmas.

BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHINA

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH INTRODUCING THE TIMELESS BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PATTERN

The Bush White House China made its debut at a luncheon held to honor United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. President George and Laura hardly had a chance to enjoy their new china, however, having used “old” dinnerware throughout their time at the White House. Later, Laura Bush revealed that her husband’s favorites were Lady Bird Johnson’s dishes that featured American wildflowers, whereas she was most partial to the red-bordered Reagan china.

For the smaller residential (not Offical White House China) china service, Mrs. Bush chose Pickard China, another American manufacturer. These dishes were designed by Hungarian-born Anna Weatherly, and they were hand-painted in Hungary by her own craftspeople. Large magnolia blossoms honor a magnolia tree which has been part of the White House landscape since Andrew Jackson’s day. It is believed to be the oldest tree on the White House lawn.

bush white house china

MANUFACTURED BY PICKARD, THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE EVERYDAY (NOT OFFICAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA) CHINA SELECTED BY FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH AS EXPLAINED ABOVE THIS IMAGE

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: George W. Bush

Bill Clinton's White House China: An Elegant set for a Unique Occasion

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

bill clinton

BILL CLINTON (1946)
OUR 42ND PRESIDENT (1993-2001)

Each First Couple has put their mark on the White House in one way or another – remodeling or redecorating, hosting different kinds of events and so on. One thing virtually all of them have done is select new Official White House China to be used for formal occasions. President Bill Clinton’s second term in office happened to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the White House residence, so not surprisingly the china he and Hillary chose commemorates that milestone.

They commissioned an American manufacturer – the esteemed Lenox – to design and produce 300 12-piece place settings. The china arrived in November 2000 and was first used at a dinner attended by former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush as well as their wives and former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson.

bill clinton white house china

UNIQUE SERVICE PLATE, FROM THE CLINTON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION, FEATURES A BOLD GOLD BAND - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - FROM THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

In keeping with the distinctive occasion for which it was commissioned, the china itself is unique among presidential sets. The particularly beautiful service plate has an enormous gold band with intricate raised detailing. And for the first time, the north front of the White House is depicted on the plate’s center, instead of the official presidential seal. White House architecture is featured on the other plates as well. All have a yellow rim, but each type of plate has a different architectural motif. These highlight exceptional elements from the State Dining Room, East Room and Diplomatic Reception Room.

On the 10.5” dinner plates and the 9.25” dessert plates, there is also an image of the White House itself, positioned at 12 o’clock within the yellow border. Exquisitely presented, these designs represent the first time in the history of White House China that art played such a pivotal role in the creation of functional pieces. The dishes also carry an inscription on the verso that reads “The White House Collection” as seen below. The entire set of 200th Anniversary Lenox china cost about $500,000.

bill clinton white house china verso marking

VERSO INSCRIPTION ON THE DISHES FROM THE CLINTON'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

Bill and Hillary Clinton were the fifth of six presidential couples who have selected Lenox to produce their Official White House China. Interestingly, it wasn’t until the 20th century that any American porcelain was considered high enough quality to grace White House tables. President Teddy Roosevelt is reported to have complained, “We are dependent upon foreign factories for the very dishes from which the Chief Executive of the United States must eat.”

bill clinton

BILL AND HILARY CLINTON

Decades earlier, in 1826, Congress had mandated that any furnishings purchased for the White House must be made in the USA. However, Presidents repeatedly ignored this law when it came to their dinnerware, because porcelain made in Europe and China was far superior. Walter Scott Lenox was determined that his American pottery could and would produce equally fine china, and Woodrow Wilson was the first president to officially acknowledge his success. In addition to President Wilson and the Clintons, FDR, Truman, Reagan and George W. Bush have all chosen Lenox to produce their Official White House china.

Although President George W. and Laura Bush used the Clinton china often for White House State Dinners, they, too, commissioned Lenox to create a new set of 320 pieces not long before Bush’s term of office expired.

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: Bill Clinton

Ronald Reagan: Much More Than an Actor

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

reagan

RONALD REAGAN (1911-2004)
OUR 40TH PRESIDENT (1981-1989)

Interesting man, Ronald Reagan. Considered one of America’s most personable presidents, Reagan is perhaps best-remembered for his fiscal and social policies. And, of course, for his acting career. But there are details about our 40th president most living Americans never knew – or at least don’t recall today.

It was as an actor that Reagan “starred” in his first presidential role. He served on the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild for several years, beginning in 1941, and was elected SAG president in 1947. He remained in that position until 1952 and was elected for a reprise engagement in 1959. During those years, he helped guide the Guild as the organization grappled with multiple labor and management disputes.

reagan white hosue china

BOLD SERVICE PLATE FROM THE REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES NANCY REAGAN'S FAVORITE COLOR: RED - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX- PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

When Ronald Reagan first took his seat on the SAG Board, he was actually in the military, having been commissioned into the Army Enlisted Reserve as a second lieutenant in 1937. But he was still working as an actor. However, that ended when he was called up for active duty in April of 1942. Poor eyesight kept him from the front lines in Europe, but the Army put his Hollywood skills to use instead. As part of the First Motion Picture Unit based in Culver City, California, he worked on more than 400 Army Air Force training films. He went back to acting when he mustered out in 1945.

These days, Ronald Reagan is held up as the quintessential icon of the Republican Party. But he wasn’t always a Republican. In fact, in his early days as a Democrat he actively supported Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. But his true beliefs caught up with him after the War. As he put it, he didn’t leave the Democratic Party so much as it left him. He planned to formalize his party switch in 1960 but Republican leaders convinced him to wait, so he could campaign as a “Democrat for Nixon.”

Reagan.Nixon.Carter.Ford.

FIRST PHOTOGRAPH OF FOUR U.S. PRESIDENTS (REAGAN, FORD, CARTER, NIXON) TOGETHER IN THE WHITE HOUSE - OCT 8, 1981 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

As a prominent representative of the motion picture industry – both as SAG President and as a popular actor – Reagan served as an informant for the FBI, helping them ferret out avowed or alleged Communists within the film community. The names of those he fingered have reportedly been redacted from Reagan’s official FBI file.

Because Reagan was so useful, J. Edgar Hoover himself tried to give his early political career a boost. Realizing that Reagan’s adopted son Michael had unwittingly become friends with the son of a known mobster, Hoover tipped off Reagan so he could privately warn his son. This happened not long before he announced his intention to run for Governor of California, enabling Reagan to campaign without the potential taint of mob affiliation.

reagan

RONALD AND NANCY REAGAN

In today’s news, the process of Supreme Court nominations is a hot topic. While Reagan was President, he nominated no less than five prospective Supreme Court Justice. Robert Bork and Ruth Ginsburg were not confirmed, but three Reagan nominees did become members of the nation’s highest court – Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, our first woman Justice.

On a very different note, Ronald Reagan had a lesser-known side as a “softie.” When citizens would write to him as President and reveal their financial problems, he often would respond by sending personal checks for several thousand dollars to help them out. He even used his Commander-in-Chief status to order Air Force jets into service to transport children who needed kidney surgery.

While he was in office, Reagan was once asked how an actor could be president. His response? “How can a president not be an actor?”

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: Ronald Reagan

Martin Greenfield: The Presidential Tailor

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

martin greenfield

MARTIN GREENFIELD
"AMERICA'S GREATEST LIVING TAILOR"

Every American president has surrounded himself with political advisors. But one man has been lucky – and talented – enough to serve as fashion advisor to no less than four presidents. That man is Martin Greenfield. Who would have imagined that the teen who survived Auschwitz would eventually become a renowned tailor – not only to presidents but a host of entertainers, sports celebrities and other public figures?

Ironically, it was at Auschwitz where young Martin, born Maximillian Grunfeld, learned to sew. He and his parents, sisters, tiny brother and grandparents were taken from their Czechoslovakia home and shipped to the Nazi concentration camp when he was 15. Martin was put to work in the laundry room, where he repaired garments. At one point, he retrieved an SS shirt from the trash, re-stitched it and proceeded to wear it in secret under his camp uniform.

He says the ability to re-create and wear the shirt – a garment no other prisoner owned – gave him a special power. “Clothes don’t just make the man,” he says, “they can save the man; they did for me.”

martin greenfield

GREENFIELD WITH BILL CLINTON DURING A FITTING IN CLINTON'S WHITE HOUSE BEDROOM. GREENFIELD'S FIRST IMPRESSION OF CLINTON'S CLOSET, "THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST PATHETIC PRESIDENTIAL WARDROBES IN AMERICAN HISTORY."

Martin was the only member of his family who left Auschwitz. Late in World War II, he was transferred to Buchenwald, via a brutal 50-march through the snow. The camp was liberated by American soldiers in April 1945. With no idea all his immediate family were dead, Martin searched for them for two years.

He immigrated to New York, where another Czech refugee helped him get a job sweeping the floor at GGG Clothing. Under the tutelage of owner William Goldman, Martin honed his sewing skills, learning every detail of custom clothing craftsmanship. His reputation as a very fine tailor continued to grow, and General Dwight Eisenhower became his first big-name client, at the time he was running for president. That was a poignant success for Greenfield, who recalls shaking Eisenhower’s hand during the liberation of Buchenwald.

martin greenfield

MARTIN GREENFIELD CLOTHIERS - BROOKLYN, NYC

He purchased GGG Clothing in 1977, giving the firm his own name. At the time, the company had six employees; today it has more than a hundred. Besides Eisenhower, Greenfield has crafted beautiful hand-crafted suits for Presidents Ford, Clinton and Obama. Other clients have run the gamut from Paul Newman and Shaquille O’Neal to Michael Jackson, Al Pacino, Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Depp, Cardinal Edward Egan and General Colin Powell.

Another loyal client is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Frankly, I’m in awe of him,” Bloomberg admits. “We’re talking about a man who fought to survive some of the worst mankind has ever shown, came to New York with nothing, worked hard, thrived, and took care of his family. Martin is some of the best we can offer. And I don’t buy my suits anywhere else.”

martin greenfield

GREENFIELD'S BOOK IS THE STORY OF A MAN WHO SUFFERED UNIMAGINABLE HORROR AND EMERGED WITH A DREAM OF SUCCESS

Through the years, Greenfield and his employees have produced suits for Hollywood film and television characters as well as “real” customers. His company also contracts with high-end retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and DKNY to make suits for their clientele.

Now well into his 80s, Martin Greenfield has published a memoir entitled “Measure of a Man,” in which he tells his horrifying and compelling life story.

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: Michael Jackson, Dwight Eisenhower, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

Lyndon Baines Johnson: Helicopter Man

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jun 09, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Lyndon Johnson

LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908-1973)
OUR 36TH PRESIDENT (1963-1969)

Lyndon Baines Johnson was reportedly so fond of helicopters he used a helicopter seat as his desk chair in the Oval Office while president. Perhaps that love of rotor-craft came from the fact that helicopters played a pivotal role in Johnson’s political career.

The story starts in the summer of 1948. LBJ, then a Congressman from Texas, decided to run for the Senate instead. However, he made this decision just seven weeks before the primary election. Johnson’s top confidant at the time was John Connally, who was then an attorney. How, they strategized, could the relatively unknown Johnson get his face and message in front of voters throughout the enormous state? Most people lived in small, rural communities well apart from one another.

lyndon johnson china

INTRICATE SERVICE PLATE FROM THE LBJ OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES A MAGNIFICENT WILDFLOWER THEME - MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON WITH DESIGN INPUT FROM TIFFANY AND COMPANY OF NEW YORK- PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

They considered using an airplane, but Johnson thought a helicopter would offer two advantages. First, it could take him anywhere, including tiny burgs without an airstrip. Second, arriving in a helicopter would add unparalleled panache to his campaign. He needed something to grab attention, if he was going to win the primary, and this was it.

In the late 1940s, helicopters were still a new addition to the world of aircraft. They were far more dangerous than today’s models, and rarely used to transport civilian passengers. So they were a tremendous novelty. Most Americans had never seen one, though they may have seen pictures of helicopters in action on newsreels.

lyndon johnson walnut cigar box.

WALNUT CIGAR BOX PRESENTED TO JOHNSON ON A TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

The Johnson Senatorial campaign set off in a Bell 47. He reportedly flew and gave speeches six days a week, visiting anywhere from 13 to 30 communities. Time magazine called his plan the “first new gimmick to hit Texas politicking since the hillbilly band and the free barbecue.”

Cars with bullhorns on the roof blared their way through each town shortly before Johnson landed, encouraging a crowd to gather. Lyndon Johnson knew people were there to see the new flying machine, not him. To keep them around long enough to hear his political message, he supposedly used another gimmick. He’d say, “My good pilot Joe tells me it’ll be too dangerous if I take off with him because we wouldn’t have enough power to clear those 30,000-volt high-tension wires over there. He’s going to have to take off alone. And it’s going to be a might tight. I just hope and pray he’ll be able to make it.”

LBJ helicopter

LBJ'S CAMPAIGN HELICOPTER - THE JOHNSON'S BELL HELICOPTER STOCK MADE THEM A FORTUNE DURING THE VIETNAM WAR

Then he’d give his speech while his audience watched the helicopter. It worked. It took only one week for LBJ to pull within 10 points of his rival. Everyone wanted in on the action, including political leaders in communities across Texas, who begged to have the “Johnson City Windmill” visit their town.

Years later, as President, Johnson routinely traveled by helicopter, especially to and from his ranch in Texas.

Historians say LBJ got a lot more from helicopters than campaign appeal. It was the Vietnam War – an event inextricably linked with President Johnson -- that fueled development of the helicopter in general and the design of multiple variations to serve different specific purposes. That sealed the fortune of Bell Helicopters. Close friends with the Bell family from the beginning, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson both made a fortune from their Bell stock.

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: Lyndon B. Johnson

Dwight D Eisenhower: Presidential Painter

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Eisenhower self-portrait

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890-1969)
OUR 34TH PRESIDENT (1953-1961)
SELF-PORTRAIT ca. 1951

In a recent blog article we noted that former President George W. Bush took up painting as a pastime once he retired from the White House. He isn’t the only presidential painter, though. Ulysses S. Grant was an avid painter, as is Jimmy Carter. And then there’s Dwight Eisenhower.

Best known as a 5-star General during World War II and our 34th President, Ike had a softer aesthetic side. He didn’t discover his interest in painting, however, until he was well into his adulthood. As the story goes, he was sitting nearby while well-known artist Thomas Stephens painted a portrait of his wife Mamie. Stephens left the room for a few moments, and Ike picked up a brush and started his own painting on the side of a wooden box. Impressed with this bold gesture and Eisenhower’s apparent desire to paint, Stephens later sent him a full set of oils and brushes.

dwight eisenhower WHITE HOUSE china service plate

RARE SERVICE PLATE (ONE OF ONLY 120) WITH A GOLD COVERED RIM FROM THE EISENHOWER OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

At the time, Dwight Eisenhower was serving his first presidential stint, as head of Columbia University. He played around with the tools and materials Stephens had sent, but didn’t believe he had any talent. It was none other than Winston Churchill who convinced Ike to get serious. Churchill was a painter himself.

Eisenhower sometimes quipped that he was able to devote more time to painting during his tenure in the White House than afterward, because his time was so efficiently scheduled. He set aside space on the second floor to use as a painting studio and reportedly spent 10 minutes painting every day before lunch during his two terms as President. Friends said he would spend great lengths of time working to achieve exactly the right color as he worked.

eisenhower gettysburg farm painting

ONE OF SEVERAL OF EISENHOWER'S PAINTINGS OF HIS FAMILY'S FARM IN GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Dwight D. Eisenhower produced about 260 paintings during his lifetime. Most were landscapes. He especially loved to do scenes of his family’s farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He liked to paint lakes with mountains or towns, and he even created some desert scenes. He also painted several portraits, including Mamie, his granddaughter Anne and a self-portrait.

He painted portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the latter during his first year as President. This painting now resides in a museum in Gettysburg. Eisenhower’s portrait of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein now belongs to the British Embassy in Washington, DC.

dwight-eisenhower-telegraph-cottage.jpg

RARE OIL PAINTING OF TELEGRAPH COTTAGE, 12 MILES SOUTH OF LONDON, BY GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, SIGNED "DE". THE GENERAL LIVED IN TELEGRAPH COTTAGE DURING WORLD WAR II AND THIS IS WHERE IKE PLANNED THE D-DAY INVASION - FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS, OF MAJOR-IMPORTANCE AND NOW PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

New York’s Huntington Hartford Museum held a special showing of his work in 1967. At the opening, a reporter asked him about the symbolism of his paintings, and Eisenhower modestly retorted, “They would have burned this [expletive] a long time ago if I weren’t the president of the United States.”

But not everyone agreed with this self-effacing assessment of his work. At another exhibition of Eisenhower’s paintings -- this one at the Richard Nixon Library in 1990 – acting curator Amanda Fish said, “I think he was very good. I think people will be surprised.”

Eisenhower painting of Washington

PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER SENT HIS PAINTING OF GEORGE WASHINGTON TO HALLMARK TO REPRODUCE AS A GIFT TO HIS WHITE HOUSE STAFF ca. 1954

One of Dwight Eisenhower’s early paintings is now part of the permanent collection of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. Entitled “Landscape in Switzerland,” the mountain scene was painted in 1958 by then-President Eisenhower. He gave the landscape to some friends, who bequeathed it to their niece. In 1983, she sold it to the LBJ Foundation through an auction house in Austin, Texas.

Although he often left paintings untitled and undated, Ike always signed them. Sometimes he used the initials DE, sometimes he used his last name.

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

Harry S Truman: How Reading and Music Shaped his Presidency

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

harry truman

HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972)
OUR 33RD PRESIDENT (1945-1953)

Harry S. Truman believed there were several life experiences that prepared him to become our 33rd president. In particular, he cited his background as a farmer, banker and Army soldier as well as his prior experience in government. But there were two very personal activities that carried him through his younger years and profoundly influenced his service as President.

Truman was born in 1884 in Lamar, Missouri and grew up in Independence. Poor eyesight caused Harry to begin wearing glasses when he was very young, making him self-conscious and the target of taunting at school. A childhood bout with diphtheria meant he wasn’t able to participate in sports like most boys his age. Instead, he turned to reading and music and discovered an abiding love for both.

harry truman white house china

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

He later said his “interiority complex” brought on by wearing glasses drove him to become “intellectually above” those who teased him. He liked to demonstrate his academic prowess in school, but believed one should not “lord it over those that you’ve defeated” in class.

Harry Truman claimed he had read every book in the Independence Public Library by the time he was 14, but historians suggest that was probably an exaggeration. At the time, the library contained more than 4,000 books. Nonetheless, young Harry clearly was a voracious reader and undoubtedly made his way through hundreds of the library’s offerings. One of his schoolmates remembered Harry reading two or three books on the weekends.

harry truman glasses

WELL PRESERVED EYEGLASSES FROM TRUMAN'S CHILDHOOD - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

Harry was especially interested in biographies of American presidents and other government leaders, and in history. He said history offered "solid instruction and wise teaching which I somehow felt that I wanted and needed." Years later in his Memoirs, Truman acknowledged, "My debt to history is one which cannot be calculated. I know of no other motivation which so accounts for my awakening interest as a young lad in the principles of leadership and government."

As for music, Harry’s mother began teaching him to play the piano when he was 10. Later, he studied with a teacher in Kansas City who had herself studied under the famous European pianist Theodore Leschetitzky. One of Truman’s friends, Charlie Ross, recalled Harry “didn’t lack spunk when he braved the jeers of the boys to go regularly to his music teacher, carrying his music roll.”

harry truman piano

HARRY S. TRUMAN PLAYING THE PIANO, IN THE WHITE HOUSE, WITH LAUREN BACALL PEERING DOWN.

Nonetheless, Truman simply wasn’t gifted enough to realize his dream – and his mother’s dream – of becoming a concert pianist. When he was 15, he abruptly stopped taking lessons. But playing the piano and enjoying a broad range of music from classical to folk songs continued to have a powerful impact on Truman’s life. In 1945, while playing for a group of Methodist women at a county fair, he told them that when he played the piano for Stalin, the Soviet leader responded by signing the Potsdam Agreement.

Throughout his life, Harry S. Truman was famous for saying, “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.” He often told people he never would have become president if he had been a more accomplished pianist. One can only imagine how that would have changed history.

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

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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

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

 

Tags: Harry S. Truman

Contact Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Online

Sign up for Monthly Newsletters