A silver gilt Newport Yacht Racing Association won by Columbia, 1901A silver gilt Newport Yacht Racing Association won by Columbia, 1901

A silver gilt Newport Yacht Racing Association won by Columbia, 1901






Height: 10.5 inches (27cm) Width: 11.75 inches (30cm) Diameter: 6.25 inches (16cm) Weight: 58 oz.

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A silver gilt Newport Yacht Racing Association won by Columbia, 1901. This silver-gilt trophy is a two-handled ‘loving cup’ with a gilded interior and flowerhead adorned scroll handles.  The lower body and foot have repoussé spiral gadrooning and rocailles.  Inscribed on one side ‘Newport Yacht Racing Association, August 1st 1901 won by Columbia’.  Stamped ‘1899 Sterling Howard & Co’ and ‘William B. Durgin’.  American.

Weight: 58 oz.  Height: 10½ in (27cm) Width: 11¾ in (30cm)  Diameter: 6¼ in (16cm) 

Provenance: John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1915) – the financier, to his son 

John Pierpont Morgan Jr. (1867-1943) – ‘Jack’, to his son 

Junius Spencer Morgan (1892-1960) – to his son 

John P. Morgan II (1918-2006)

Columbia, built by the Herreshoff Company, Rhode Island, was a legendary yacht, one of a tiny number of vessels to successfully defend the America’s Cup.  Her first victory was in 1899 and her second victory against Independence on 1st August 1901, commemorated by this trophy, is viewed as an unofficial trial for the forthcoming race which she also won.  The owner of Independence, Thomas W. Lawson, desperate to beat his rival, reputedly made the extraordinary offer of $100,000 to his crew in the event of their beating Columbia and securing their own chance to race in the America’s Cup.  The race was organised by the Newport Yacht Racing Association and Columbia began as favourite.  The race started two hours later than expected due to a lack of wind and Columbia quickly established a considerable lead.  She won by as much as a mile.  Lawson was so disgusted by the performance of his yacht that she was entirely stripped down after the race.  Columbia, however, won the right to defend the America’s Cup and, as mentioned above, was victorious in that race as well, a few weeks later. 

Howard and Co established their silverware division in New York in 1881 but were forced to close in 1902.  As a result, this trophy may well have been one of their last major commissions.  Meanwhile William B Durgin, New Hampshire, was founded in 1853 and continued independently until 1924 when they were merged in to the Gorham company.  The firm made flatware and hollowware of all sorts and one of its most famous commissions was Davis Cup tennis trophy.

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