James has a sporting cup with real pedigree
James tells us about a silver trophy with real racing pedigree
Our meticulous searches with our trade links have enabled us to acquire some truly magnificent items of extreme rarity.
One such is the very rare piece of 18th century Irish hallmarked silver in the form of the Kildare Cup.
The fact that it is hallmarked as Irish silver itself is always a rarity, as many items from this period were ‘liberated’ by the British and melted down.
This unique trophy originated at the Curragh race meeting initially held in the late autumn of 1727. The name the Curragh derives from the Gaelic Cuirreach meaning ‘Place of the running horse’.
Kildare is the home of classic Irish horse racing, equivalent to Newmarket and the The Kildare Cup formed part of the original race meeting card.
It is speculated that the meeting was held for one of two reasons to mark the death of King George I or the reign of the new King George II. Both monarchs were prolific race-goers.
The trophy measures five inches high by 6½ inches at the widest point and weighs only 370grams, a mere 12 troy ounces.
The trophy is presented in the classical form and decorated with floral embossed and repoussé designs, achieved by hammering the design into the silver, in the intaglio style (from the reverse) demonstrating the highest quality of craftsmanship.
The hallmarks are distinctively hidden within the floral design but partially evident despite the natural fire markings typical
from this period. It was made and hallmarked by a venerable Georgian era Dublin silversmith William Townsend (W.T).
It has the Dublin assay office mark of the Irish harp surmounted by the Imperial or State Crown to identify that the duty tax was paid on the item and that it met with the standard of silver content.
The concept of assay marking dates back to 1158 during the reign of King Henry II
(1154 – 1189) who wanted to ensure that the coins made depicting his likeness were of the highest quality.
This later became known as sterling silver, first recorded as part of the Trial of Pyx, a ceremony that dates back to the 13th century, when coins made by The Royal Mint were first put to the test to check they contained the right amount of precious metals.
We at Juels’ Limited are always looking to purchase and source more silverware to add to our collection; for more details or valuations contact James in the Royal Arcade, Norwich.
This column is sponsored by Juels’ Ltd juelslimited.co.uk juel[email protected] 01603 666373
‘Irish silver itself is always a rarity, as many items from this period were ‘liberated’ by the British and melted down’
LEFT: The stunning silver Kildare Cup, rich in racing heritage