A fine and rare Victorian 18 carat Tasmanian gold snuff box Edward Smith, Birmingham 1858, with The Sydney Royal Mint stamp to the rim.
Lot 274
A fine and rare Victorian 18 carat Tasmanian gold snuff box Edward Smith, Birmingham 1858, with The Sydney Royal Mint stamp to the rim.
Sold for AU$ 108,000 (US$ 101,400) inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine and rare Victorian 18 carat Tasmanian gold snuff box
Edward Smith, Birmingham 1858, with The Sydney Royal Mint stamp to the rim.
Of rectangular form with in-curved corners, with a relief stylised strapwork border, the sides with reeded borders and further relief strapwork, the cover with extensive presentation inscription:
"This box made of Tasmanian Gold/with silver claret jug/was presented to William Robertson Esquire/By the undermentioned Friends/as a small mark of their Esteem/for his many Public and Private Virtues/Thomas Horne, Robert Officer, John Walker, Will'm Murray, Joseph Dixon, John Lillie, James Sprent, Tho's Giblin, R. Ballantine, Ja's MacLanachan, T.G.Gregson, John Degraves, Will'm Procter, Ja's Milne Wilson, James Whyte, Chas. Meredith, Thos. Young, Edw'd McDowell, C.J.Whyle, George Scott, Alex'r Kissock, 1858."
Engraved on the base with William Robertson's Armorial: Virtutis Gloria Merces above the crowned leafy shield containing three dragon heads looking to the left, and beneath, a bearded male figure lying in chains, flanked by a kangaroo to the left and emu to the right on finely scrolled ground.

Together with the original three letters of contemporaneous correspondence including a letter of instruction prescribing the inscription and a letter of thanks to William Robertson explaining the purpose of the box as a mark of thanks and esteem for his many services to the community of Hobart. Complete with original fitted presentation box , 9.9cm wide, 5cm deep, 3cm high (3.5" wide, 1.5" deep, 1" high). (weight 181gms)

Footnotes

  • William Robertson (1798-1874) was an explorer and a successful pastoralist having arrived in Tasmania from Scotland in 1822. 1832 saw him and his brother John well established merchants in Hobart. He made significant pastoral and societal contributions to the colony being a leader of the Anti-Transportation League and a member of the Port Arthur Association which led to the first European settlement of Victoria. His was the major financial contributor to Batmans's first exploration of Victoria. In 1836, with Joseph Gellibrand and William Buckley he explored the Western District of Victoria returning to Hobart in 1837.

    He acquired extensive land holdings, 6000 acres in Colac and 7000 at Bolinda, Sunbury where he established his home, "The Hill".

    In 1852 he retired from Hobart business and on his departure back to Britain, this gift was presented as a mark of esteem and admiration.

    William Robertson returned to Australia and in 1865 settled permanently at The Hill in Victoria where he continued to develop his pastoral and communal interests.

    The fascinating original correspondence relates the unusual creation of the box, the gold was sent to England to be fashioned and Edward Smith applied his maker's mark, the Birmingham assay office applied town mark and date letter.

    Provenance:
    Private Collection, by direct descent from the original owner.
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