James W. Tufts started his business in 1875 in Boston, MA and the company ceased operations by 1915. It made silver-plated goods of the highest quality and was famous for elaborate pieces, especially soda fountains. Mr. Tufts turned over the operation of his business to others in 1895 due to poor health and bought 5,000 acres in the sand hills of North Carolina, where he founded the resort town of Pinehurst. He died there in 1902.
This exquisite mug or spoon holder was originally part of a large serving set. Executed during the Aesthetic era of the mid-1800's to the turn of the 20th century it portrays the grandeur and opulence of the period. The bowl is divided into four embossed or chased cartouches exhibiting two species of blossoms, buds and leaves, which I believe are California Poppies and Asters. The cartouches are separated by arched bands with geometric scrolls surrounding the base and sculptured top rim. The bowl rests on a standard with fluted base. The fantastic handle is in the form of an ancient winged sea serpent. The name of the original owner "E Badger" is engraved along the side of the piece.
The piece measures 5 3/4" in height, 4 1/2" in width across the handle and 3" across the base. It is stamped within the standard "James W Tufts - Quadruple Plate - Boston - Warranted -4001" along with the trademark "T" surrounded by four triangles. Quadruple means four layers of silver-plate. Excellent vintage condition with no damages; lovely old patina. Could be polished to bright shine if desired, but I like it this way. Please visit two other items from the same original set here in my store. Great piece from a premier silver-plate company.