Dating to 1830, this is the first of four items that I will be listing which come from the estate of Robert Waldo Moffat, Jr., third cousin to the famed American author Ralph Waldo Emerson!
In 2009, Robert Waldo Moffat. Jr., IBM executive, was indicted for the largest insider trading scheme in American history. Moffat is the third cousin of author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many items from his estate were auctioned off in order to pay for his court costs. I was fortunate enough to acquire five items from the San Diego auction house which held this auction early this year. This is the first of these items.
This mourning locket holds the hair of Mary Walker Bishpam and Eleazer H. Bispham, respectively the great-aunt and cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mr. Bispham was a prominent Federal American businessman in his own right. Mary Bispham was his daughter. This locket measures 1" in diameter, with the bail adding another 1/4". It is crafted in gilt metal, with a deeply engraved floral border. The reverse of the locket is inscribed "Eleaz. H. Bispham/March 25th, 1830." A woven braid of Miss and Mr. Bishpam's brown hair is set beneath its original crystal. A slip of hand-penned paper is enclosed with the locket reading "M. E. Bispham's Hair - Eliaz. H. Bispham/Her Father's Hair."
This locket is in completely intact condition, and is a wonderful and wearable example of American Federal period mourning jewelry! It weighs 4.6 grams, and has been preserved in its original hand-sewn felt pocket for 180 years. It is uncleaned, although the new owner could polish it up if he or she desires. What a fabulous find, and what a provenance!
This item will be sold with a document of provenance for no extra cost. This one-of-a-kind jewel will thrill any collector of American mourning jewelry, or any Emerson devotee. It would also make an impressive holiday gift for any lady or gentleman. I will also be listing two related wedding rings, a pair of hair work earrings, and daguerreotype of the Bispham house in the next few days. Do not miss this locket - it is an American treasure; USPS Priority shipping is FREE!
Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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