Santa’s sil­ver sleigh

This month James has a look at how the leg­end of Santa’s fa­mous method of trans­port took flight

EDP Norfolk - - VALUATIONS - James Hawkins juel­slim­ited.co.uk juel­sltd@gmail.com 01603 666373

The tra­di­tional fes­tive leg­end al­ways tells us that rein­deer pull Fa­ther Christ­mas’s sleigh through the night sky to help de­liver gifts to chil­dren on Christ­mas Eve. The first ref­er­ence to Santa’s sleigh be­ing pulled by rein­deer ap­pears in

Old San­te­claus with Much De­light, an il­lus­trated chil­dren’s poem pub­lished in New York in 1821.

The orig­i­nal au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor are un­known but it may have been for a Christ­mas ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign by a de­part­ment store. How­ever the ver­sion that is the most widely pop­u­lar and we as­so­ciate with the most is the ver­sion that de­rives from the 1823 poem A visit from St Ni­cholas writ­ten by Cle­ment C. Moore and more com­monly called The night be­fore Christ­mas and is ar­guably the ba­sis of the rein­deer pop­u­lar­ity and as­so­ci­a­tion with the Christ­mas leg­ends.

The com­monly cited names for the eight rein­deer that pull the fes­tive sleigh are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dun­der and Blixem. The names Dun­der and Blixem were mis­trans­lated by Ed­mund C. St­ed­man in 1844 in his An Amer­i­can An­thol­ogy when the spell­ing of the rein­deer names be­came Don­ner and Bl­itzen. How­ever both trans­late from the Dutch words for thun­der and light­ning.

Ru­dolph’s story was orig­i­nally writ­ten in verse by Robert L. May for the Mont­gomery Ward chain of de­part­ment stores in 1939, and pub­lished as a book to be given to chil­dren in the store at Christ­mas time. Ru­dolph’s story be­came so pop­u­lar that it has been re­told in nearly ev­ery known lan­guage around the globe in nu­mer­ous forms, but most no­tably a well­known chil­dren’s Christ­mas song; Ru­dolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer. This led to Ru­dolph’s pop­u­lar­ity and al­lowed him to join the rein­deer list, and thus bring the num­ber of Santa Claus’s rein­deer up to nine.

At Juels’ Limited we adore un­usual sil­ver ob­jects and have re­cently pur­chased a splen­did nov­elty sil­ver Christ­mas ta­ble cen­tre piece de­pict­ing a rein­deer pulling a gilded sleigh to add to our col­lec­tion, The fes­tive sil­ver ta­ble ob­ject d’art is cast in solid 925 ster­ling sil­ver. It has full im­ported 925 sil­ver hall­marks via the Lon­don as­say of­fice. This fine ta­ble ob­ject prob­a­bly comes from Bavaria, Ger­many. The sleigh is gold gilded and would have been used as a bon-bon or sweet dish. Fun, fes­tive and highly de­sir­able.

At Juels’ Limited we have many lovely sil­ver items to adorn your Christ­mas ta­ble, so why not pop in and see James in the Royal Ar­cade.

‘Ru­dolph’s story be­came so pop­u­lar that it has been re­told in nearly ev­ery known lan­guage’

ABOVE: James’s gilded sil­ver sleigh

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