Published: July 21, 2015
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A rare George W. Stewart Kentucky coin silver ewer horse trophy sold for $188,800 at Brunk Auctions during its July 16–18 auction, smashing the record price at auction for any single piece of Southern silver.
George W. Stewart was active in Lexington, Ky., from 1843–1852 (and possibly longer). During this time he is known to have produced trophies or racing prizes for a number of stakes races both in Lexington, for the Kentucky Association, and for the race meets in Louisville.
The ewer depicts six jockeys on horseback racing towards the finish, a grandstand with spectators watching from behind a rail, and an occupied stewards’ booth, which appears to be flying an American flag. The small details that Stewart took special care to include, such as the hoof prints in the turf and the faces of the spectators, exemplify Stewart’s attention to detail that set him apart from many of his peers. Marked by the maker four times, this trophy provides the key to clearly attributing several related pieces from the same period.
A dozen collectors and institutions on the phones and in the room battled over the trophy, which is arguably the finest known piece of Kentucky silver in existence. Ultimately a private collector won the fine piece of silver, and it will return to its native Kentucky.
A complete report on the auction will appear in a future edition.
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