This rare and unusual antique sterling silver thumb ring was made by the esteemed American company Gorham specifically for the sport of archery to protect one's thumb when pulling back the string of a bow . ...... Open-ended with four little holes meant to thread a cord through for wearing on a belt , (same thought as wearing a hanging netsuke or inro as in the Japanese tradition .) ......Thumb rings have been worn for ages in many cultures and during the Turkish Ottoman Empire thumb rings worn by archers were considered a symbol of honor and bravery. ......
*Rarely do I use the word rare when describing an item. My internet research however yielded almost no antique thumb rings made by Western makers such as Gorham . Almost all Western examples I could find were modern . As a long time antiques dealer it's finding pieces like this that make my job interesting. ...... Purchased from a lovely dealer in a wonderful shop on my recent trip to the East Coast . ...... The dealer was wearing it on her thumb and I commented how much I liked baby napkin rings worn as finger and thumb rings . At which point she informed me that it was actually an archers' thumb ring . ...... It was tagged as such on the inside , and it was for sale !
Completely marked on the outside , ......GORHAM MFG. CO. STERLING those marks in use from 1865 to 1961. This piece dates from the earlier part of that span , circa 1870's. Perfectly classic design, polished and plain with raised bead work all around except on the inside end .
While in very good condition this thumb ring shows the signs of use for which it was intended. No breaks to the sterling anywhere , it is however slightly out of round , a forgivable condition in my opinion all things considered.
Origin ; American , Circa 1870
Materials ; Sterling Silver
Size ; 3/4" Diameter , ...... 3/4" Wide , ......11.1 Grams
Scale ; Adult Archery Thumb Ring , ...... Please note sizes as items can appear larger or smaller in the pictures than in person.
Condition ; Very Good with normal signs of age and use.