Extraordinary Collection of Important Revolutionary War Era Church Silver from Woburn, Massachusetts To Be Sold at James D. Julia, Inc.

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The set of historically important items, from The First Congregational Church in Woburn, MA, includes two loving cups and six beakers by noted eighteenth century New England silversmiths.

The First Congregational Church of Woburn, MA Silver Collection

"The collection is a superb assembly of Paul Revere era silver that tells a wonderful story about a critical time in our country's history. Holding pieces from it literally transports me back to revolutionary times." James Callahan, Woburn Co-Director

James D. Julia, Inc., one of the nation's top ten antique auction houses, is proud to present this grouping in association with the company's annual summer Antique, Asian, and Fine Art auction event to be held August 21-23, 2013. Collections of centuries old, fully documented church silver such as this one rarely appear at auction. Thus, these vessels are certain to be of great interest to silver, theology, and early American history enthusiasts, collectors, and museums. The collection, acquired through Julia's Woburn, Massachusetts office, again demonstrates the company's leadership across the greater New England region.

This collection is a "who's who" time capsule of eighteenth century Boston area silversmiths. The eight antique silver pieces - two loving cups and six beakers - are in excellent original and untouched condition with only the slightest imperfections resulting from age. Each item is inscribed; all but two have maker's marks. The loving cups are 5 1/8" and 7 1/4" tall. The smaller one is by George Hanners, Sr. and is engraved "The Gift of Coll. Eleazer Flegg to the Church in Woburn 1726" and the bigger one is by J. Jones and is engraved "The Gift of Joseph Lawrance Esqr To the first Church of Christ In Woburn 1882".    The four marked beakers range in size from 5 3/8" to 6 1/8". The first, by Jacob Hurd, is inscribed "The Gift of N Saltonstall and R Cotton to the first Church of Christ in Woburn". The second, by Josiah Austin, is inscribed "Belonging to the first Church of Christ in Woburn 1769". The third, by Benjamin Burt, is inscribed "The Gift of Mr Isaac Stone; to the first Church of Christ, in Woburn. 1771". And the fourth marked beaker, by John Burt, is inscribed "The Gift of Mr. Roland Cotton to the first Church of Christ in Woburn 1741". The two unmarked beakers are each 5 7/8" tall and inscribed with the identical phrase "The Gift of Mr. Roland Cotton to the Second Church of Christ in Woburn 1740". Each item will carry a conservative estimate in the catalog to encourage a high degree of participation.

The First Congregational Church of Woburn can trace its roots back to the earliest days of the colonial period and the founding the original Massachusetts Bay colony. The church opened its doors in August, 1642 and has been in continuous operation since. Although the structure has been changed and updated numerous times over its 370+ year history, today it is the tallest and largest wooden structure of its type, standing 196 feet tall with a capacity to seat 1,500 people. The building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992.    

Several years ago, as the result of a severe New England hurricane, the front of the church suffered extensive structural and aesthetic damage. The church tried to raise the funds needed for repairs through donations, fundraisers, and grants, but these efforts to date were not able to generate the money needed for this essential project. A group of church trustees suggested that the organization sell the church's collection of silver beakers and loving cups. These artifacts, although property of the church since the 1700's, had been cataloged by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and had been in storage there for over 100 years. As a matter of fact, the last time the vessels were on public display was 1967. Although a handful of congregants were unhappy with the potential sale, most agreed that selling the silver at a top tier auction house would be a wise solution to the organization’s financial challenges.

According to church Trustee Ed Peterson, "We need the funds generated by the silver sale to repair the church and restore the front so it again represents the legacy of the congregation and its community. It is leadership's hope that these highly visible projects will energize our existing parishioners, encourage contributions, and attract new families to our organization. Members of our restoration committee read about Julia's services in our local newspaper as well as received a referral to them from a trusted source. We are confident that their auction professionals will help us create the most value from our church silver assets."

This important project requires the resources and expertise from both Julia's Fairfield, Maine headquarters, as well as the company's full service office in Woburn, Massachusetts, which delivers first rate identification, valuation, and auction services to customers in the Boston and southern New England areas. According to James Callahan, the company's Woburn facility co-director who brought in the consignment, "It is an honor and a privilege to be working on behalf of The First Congregational Church, which is such a significant and historically important institution. The Woburn connection between the church and our offices adds additional layers of excitement and interest to this sale. The collection is a superb assembly of locally manufactured, Paul Revere era silver that tells a wonderful story about a critical time in our country's history. Holding pieces from it in my hands literally transports me back to revolutionary times."

James D. Julia, Inc., one of the top ten auction antique houses in the nation, is headquartered in Fairfield, Maine. The company also has an office in Woburn, Massachusetts. In business for over 40 years, the company conducts high-end antique, collectible, and decorative arts auctions throughout the year. Julia's routinely establishes new world records through its sales events. Julia’s has four key divisions, including rare firearms and militaria; fine and Asian art and antiques; lamps and glass; and important toy, dolls, and antique advertising. Each division has been ranked nationally for excellence and is staffed with world-class specialists to insure fair and professional authentication, identification, and valuation services.

James D. Julia is a proud recipient of the 2012 Governor’s award for Business Excellence, which is administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. This honor recognizes companies that demonstrate a high level of commitment to the community, employees, and to manufacturing or to service excellence.

The First Congregational Church of Woburn, Massachusetts Silver Collection will be sold at the James D. Julia's annual summer Antique, Asian, and Fine Art auction on August 21-23, 2013. For more information on James D. Julia, Inc. please visit http://www.jamesdjulia.com.

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Tony Greist, Sales Coordinator, Antiques and Fine Art Division
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