Just so incredibly realistic - ! Back in Teddy Roosevelt's time, this big inkstand would have graced a gentleman's desk, evoking thoughts of big game hunts and trophy mounts displayed on dark paneled walls of hunting clubs and great camps, where turn-of-the-century hunters congregated for sport.
Marked "Manufactured and Plated by Reed and Barton," one of America's premiere silver companies, it is an eye-catcher, with a full-figure elk head supported by a round base, the points on his massive antlers handy for laying a pen.
This piece originally would have had a glass inkwell sitting within the antlers, but its uses today are limited only by the imagination -- Set a small vase of flowers there for a terrific table display, or a small bowl with tiny holiday ornaments. Use it with a small "pin dish" on a desk or bedroom bureau. PERFECT for a log cabin home or camp: Display it on the fireplace mantel. Or, back to the original use, equip it with a glass inkwell (that will fit in the 3-inches-across space).
CONDITION is lovely: There are NO broken or missing antler tines, NO splits or cracks. The silver is beautiful with no signs of tarnish. The sculpture is amazingly realistic, correctly proportioned, distinctly an elk rather than a deer or stag. The head blends beautifully into the round base decorated with a raised floral design. There are NO cracks or splits. The head is hollow (see our pictures). We are not sure what the underlying metal is, likely the spelter or "white metal" that was popular at the time, graced with silver plating. We gave this piece a light polish, and it responded wonderfully, with the warm glow and depth of antique silverplate.
The only issue -- HARD TO SEE -- is that the base is not quite perfectly round, likely having been dropped, but this is not readily noticeable and doesn't affect stability. IMPORTANT: The plating in the round area that would support the inkwell is worn, and we added a green felt round. We don't know if felt was there originally, or not. Just remove it, if you prefer.
SIZE - See our 7-inch ruler laid across the antlers. Width across the base is approximately 5 inches. From the tabletop to the tip of the tallest antler point is just under 6 inches. The round green felt pad is just under 3 inches.
We had trouble dating this piece, but it is definitely pre-1928, the year that Reed & Barton began to use tiny figures as date codes. The "Taunton, Mass." mark with a globe above is very old, and the No. 208 apparently is the production number for the piece.
A great gift for someone who enjoys the American West, or the mountains, or outdoor life in general.
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