Dating to c. 1700 for the 22k gold posy ring and c.1853 for the provenance, this is an amazingly rare example of a love jewel comes straight 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 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 third of these items.
This posy ring is of English, and is the promise ring given to Sarell Willis (born 1830) by Mary Bishpam on March 31st, 1853. Mary Bispham was the daughter of Eleazer H. Bispham, and the maternal first cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mary Bispham met Willis in the 1852 when he was employed as a clerk by Eleazer Bispham. Bispham and Willis, distant cousins, married in 1854. Mary was the mother of E. B. (Willis) Emerson, the niece of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I have spent hours researching the Emerson/Bispham/Willis family tree, and all of the information is right as rain. WHAT A PROVENANCE!
This turn-of-the-18th century ring was passed down through the maternal family of Mary Bispham, as this was the custom in their family, and the inside of the ring appears to have the traces of an inscription, much like the c.1700 posy ring which Mary's mother used upon her marriage to Eleazer Bispham in 1802. (This ring may date as early as early as 1670, but I prefer to err on the side of caution.) The ring is 100% intact, and tests to 22k gold.
The ring measures 2 mm wide, and is a size 6 3/4. It has never been re-sized. It is very slightly out of round, but is gently wearable. It weighs 1.09 grams. I caution against wearing this ring regularly, as it is very lightweight, and has survived over 320 years in lovingly cared-for condition. It would look lovely worn on a fine gold chain or a ribbon around the neck, and what a history!
This ring will be sold with the slip of paper and box in which it came. This is a rare opportunity to acquire not only a highly desirable early posy ring, but one that is steeped in American history! This one-of-a-kind jewel will thrill any collector of Stuart-era posy rings, or any Emerson devotee. It would also make an impressive holiday gift for any lady or gentleman. Do not miss this special ring; it is priced for quick sale, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
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