What’s a Green-Turtle Silver Soup Ladle Worth?

CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE (#COMe)

WHAT’S A

GREEN-TURTLE SILVER SOUP LADLE

WORTH?

Billionaire newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife (Dick Scaife) was a serious collector who could and did purchase very dramatic one-of-a-kind objects. The former Tribune-Review publisher and billionaire heir to the Mellon fortune died on July 4, 2014.

Items from his four American estates (in Shadyside and Ligonier, Pa.; Nantucket, Mass., and Pebble Beach, Calif.) were sold by Christie’s auction house in New York.

The most valuable lot, the star of 533 items on the auction block, was

  • Lot 150 in ‘The Collection of Richard Mellon Scaife’: The Washington Augustus Roebling American Silver-Gilt Dinner Service, Mark of Gorham MFG. Co., Providence, circa 1889. Estimate, priced at: $200,000 to $300,000. It sold to an anonymous buyer for $293,000.

The gleaming set of more than 1,000 custom-made, engraved dinner service pieces included 18 salt cellars, 28 butter dishes and 36 seafood forks. It was made by special order for the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Augustus Roebling, and belonged to multiple generations of the Roebling family, including Mary G. Roebling, the first woman to lead a major bank and first female governor of the American Stock Exchange.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Washington Augustus Roebling was the engineer responsible for building the Brooklyn Bridge. On Aug. 1, 1889, 6 years after its completion, an extravagant silver-gilt dinner service arrived at the house of John A. Roebling, whose firm became the world’s largest supplier of electrical wire and bridge cable and the exclusive supplier to the Panama Canal.

So why am I sharing this story?

Because I’m on the search for information on a green turtle silver ladle marketed at auction and priced at $6,000. Had it been unrealistically priced at $100 or less I might have been enticed to purchase it.

Why?

About November 2009 my friend Fran called me shared an Internet link to the Neal Auction Company. She’s been very helpful to me so I immediately clicked on the link and scrolled down to Lot 219:

Turtle earrings a friend gave me after hearing the story of the green turtle soup ladle.

Turtle earrings a friend gave me after hearing the story of the green turtle soup ladle.

  • A Rare George III Silver Green Turtle Soup Ladle of Caribbean Interest, c. 1800, intaglio mark J R or I R in a rectangle, possibly John Robin, the ladle in the form of a green turtle (Chelonia Mydas), the bamboo form handle with palmette collar and pineapple finial, the interior of the turtle’s shell with presentation engraving…With every Sentiment of Respect from Francis de Ridder, To the Hon F P van Berckel 1807…

Now my interest piqued. The note on the auction site provided information I already knew:

  • Franco Petrus Van Berckel was the Netherlands’ minister to the United States during George Washington’s first term and was later appointed fiscal of Demerara (today part of Guyana). The fiscal’s legal function was to enforce Dutch laws in the colony; as payment he received 1/3 of all fines. (James Rodway, History of British Guiana, Volume II pp. 192 & 200)

What it didn’t say was that Van Berckel was the husband of Rosalie de Leval, the French woman who is the main character in my historical novel.

The engraving on the soup ladle continued:

  • Friends form’d in ‘Union’ of heart and aims, Prove firm supporters of each others claims, Victorious Virtue warms Thy gen’rous breast, Be thine ‘enjoyment’, and perennial ‘Rest,’

The listed/expected cost of the soup ladel, 14 1/4 inches long weighing approximately 9.5 troy ounces, was $6000/9000. Perhaps in the same range as the price of the silver service set in the Dick Scaife auction lot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fran and I researched further. Also being auctioned off were several wooden bowls. This indicated to me that there was probably someone who’d collected items belonging to Van Berckel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve discovered it’s almost impossible to discover the root sources of who owned and collected such items. I researched it because the results might reveal more about who this man, Van Berckel, was. There’s little information on this man in the records I’ve researched.

Contacting the auction house proved unsuccessful.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a second note on Lot 219:

  • The depiction of a Caribbean sea turtle in a silver form is exceedingly rare. A tureen in the shape of a green turtle by Paul de Lamerie, now in the Paul Cahn Collection, was included in the Victoria and Albert exhibition of de Lamerie silver in 2006.

More questions. Who are de Lamerie and Cahn? Where were their pieces exhibited? And just what are green turtles?

And, why am I being taken down these research roads? Will the results prove helpful in writing my novel? Or  am I just being aggravated into learning more than I want to know?

This journey is in progress. For now, I’ll end with the above questions. Perhaps the answers will be revealed in later articles.

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A FATHER’S DAY FANTASY

Remember the television show FANTASY?  A show making dreams come true? A show where ordinary people (like you and me) from all over the United States wrote in to have their wishes granted on national television? Well, below is a letter written to Peter and Leslie, the co-hosts of the show that befits my husband Monte’s June 12th birthday and June 18th Father’s Day.170612 IMG_8158 EP

Sept. 18, 1983

Dear Peter and Leslie,

Our dad is the greatest dad in the whole world, but also a most unusual person.   For 19 years he was a physics professor. For 13 of those years he taught at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.   In spring of 1982 he sent shock waves through the Physics Dept. announcing he was going to take early retirement to return to school.   But not just any school, he decided to go into the seminary.   As a result we moved almost 800 miles from Slippery Rock (Pa.) to Stone Mountain (Ga.).   (Do you know what happens to a Stone Mountain when it rains?   It becomes a Slippery Rock.)

Now back to the letter.   But what most people don’t know is th

at my dad has a secret passion.   And that is watching “All my children”.   He is enamored with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and fascinated with Opal Gardner (Dorothy Lyman).   (He just loves the way she dresses)   Our Dads fantasy is to meet Erica and Opal.   But we would also like to add to his fantasy.   We would just love for him to play a bit part with Erica and Opal. Because we feel that this would be a very appropriate activity for an upcoming minister.

Of course he does not know this letter is being written but if this fantasy does come true, my dad will be the happiest minister that ever set foot on this earth.

Sincerely yours,

Sandy Holland

Nolan Holland

P. S. My mom said they both were going off the show in November.

FATHER'S DAY 170618

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Happy birthday and Father’s Day. (Pix taken on the Buffalo NY waterfront.)

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Microsoft Office Installs Windows 10 Without Permission

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

MICROSOFT OFFICE INSTALLS WINDOWS 10

WITHOUT PERMISSION

What angers and worries me is Microsoft’s ability to take over my computer and change my choices without my consent. I’ve continually hit the ‘no’ button when asked to install it. That is my preference.display

I carefully set my laptop on a chair, then went to fix dinner. My hunger satisfied I returned to my work, when to my surprise something strange happening on my laptop.

What the… What was going on? Windows 10 was being uploaded (replacing Windows 8). I was certain I hadn’t hit any pop-ups by mistake.

That was June 15, 2016, one week ago. It’s been a struggle to use my laptop ever since.256-256-7445783d3f1d95d69c226587e0962cb5-emoticon

Not knowing what to do I waited out the download. I waited…and waited…and waited, unable to return to my work because I feared what would happen to my flash drive content if I removed it.

By the time the download was completed I was mad, a frame of mind rare for me. In fact, I was irate. How did this happen on my computer?

When Windows 10 was done uploading my struggle to access my laptop wasn’t over. Updates were now being loaded. Frustrated, I pulled out my flash drive, hoping not to lose more than my latest current work. I plugged said flash drive into our house computer and discovered my work was safe.

I lost almost 3 hours of computer time. When I began working on Windows 10 I was confused. Enough was new—different—that using it was a struggle.

After all, I didn’t grow up using computers. My computer advisers know I struggle with each new computer challenge.Desktop_computer_clipart_-_Yellow_theme.svg (1)

The next morning I whined to a friend who is much more computer savvy than I am. Fred told me that the same thing happened to his wife. So I wasn’t crazy after all.

A week later I saw my sister Jane. I told her what had happened. At first she didn’t believe me, convinced I must have authorized the Windows 10 installation even if by accident. She went to her fancy phone with Internet access to determine if my tale had validity. The second site listed was Continue reading

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A time to Be Born and a Time to Die: Issues At the beginning & end of life Pt. 3

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

A TIME TO BE BORN and

A TIME TO DIE:

Medical Technologies at the

Beginning and End of Life Cycle    

Part 3 of 3 Parts: Living Wills

NOTE: This is the last post in a series of three that are an edited version of the first two articles I wrote, launching my work as a freelance photojournalist. They come from a two-part article from a public round-table discussion on the topic in the title. Panel participants included medical, professional, religious, and community members.

Click on the links to read parts 1 and 2:

It was suggested I update these articles written 24 years ago. I decided not to, in order to show that issues we were wrestling with at the beginning of the electronics age still remain—although the struggle may have intensified.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Questions today surrounding the preservation of life are different today than in the past. Formerly, “not breathing” was the criteria for determining death. Today, breathing can be maintained for decades in an otherwise vegetative body. Thus, technology has created a struggle in the redefinition issues of life and death.

One issue arising out of this milieu is Who has the responsibility to make decisions in life and death situations?

Consider medical practices surrounding life support systems. What is the right of the patient? Does he have the right to determine Continue reading

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A time to Be Born & a Time to Die: Issues At the beginning & end of life Pt. 2 Personhood

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

A TIME TO BE BORN and

A TIME TO DIE:

Medical Technologies at the

Beginning and End of Life Cycle    

Part 2 of 3 Parts: Personhood: What is a person?

NOTE: This is the second post in a series of three posts that are an edited version of the first two articles I wrote, launching my work as a freelance photojournalist. They come from a two-part article from a public round-table discussion on the topic in the title. Panel participants included medical, professional, religious, and community members.

Click on A time to Be Born and a Time to Die: Issues At the beginning & end of life Pt. 1  to read Part 1.

It was suggested I update these articles written 24 years ago. I decided not to, in order to show that issues we were wrestling with at the beginning of the electronics age still remain—although the struggle may have intensified.

Newborn...

Newborn…

Rooted in the controversy of all cultures is the struggle to answer the question What is a person?

Over 2000 years ago Plato suggested a person results from the union of a physical body and a non-physical soul, a union of the body and mind. Evidence of life was Continue reading

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A time to Be Born and a Time to Die: Issues At the beginning & end of life Pt. 1

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

A TIME TO BE BORN and

A TIME TO DIE:

Medical Technologies at the

Beginning and End of Life Cycle    

Part 1 of 3 Parts:  

Technology Changes Definitions of Life and Death               

NOTE: The next three posts are an edited version of the first two articles I wrote, launching my work as a freelance photojournalist. They come from a two-part article from a public round-table discussion on the topic named in this title. Panel participants included medical, professional, religious, and community members.

It was suggested I update these articles written 24 years ago. I decided not to, in order to show that issues we were struggling with at the beginning of the electronics age still remain—although the struggle may have intensified.

070709-09E

Historically, medicine could do little to preserve life for sick infants or infirm elderly. Death, on both ends of the lifecycle, occurred through natural processes.

Science fiction 4-6 decades ago couldn’t imagine the present day issues surrounding the beginning and end of the human life cycle. Since the 1950’s, rapidly increasing medical technologies have enabled ill infants and deteriorating elderly to survive what formerly caused death.

These technologies are significantly altering our concept of life, causing society to struggle with and reevaluate issues surrounding birth and death. Definitions adequate for centuries are no longer clear—they are often cloudy and murky, continually Continue reading

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THE MEDAL PROCLAIMED: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY

Carolyn’s Online Magazine  (#COMe)

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY:

A MEDAL, A CONCERT,

A PITTSBURGH PENGUINS STANLEY CUP GAME

June 12, 2016, dawned exactly—-well, almost exactly—a perfect early summer day. The rain remained distant, the sun shone in a white-clouded blue sky, the breezes cooled the high temperature (I never did look at the thermometer, but the sun, when the breezes stopped, felt hot enough to cause a deep sunburn.

I say almost perfect because strong gusts wafted and made the newspapers my husband and I were reading fold over, hiding the content (perhaps a good thing). Newspapers read or waiting to be read had to be chased across the patio when the breeze was especially strong.

This day is special. My husband is observing a birthday not everyone has the opportunity or cause to celebrate.

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When he returned home from church we settled on the patio to enjoy the Sunday newspaper. The day went peacefully before 2:15 p. m. I did some much needed weeding—the sun, breeze, and moist soil made it easy to pull many foot-long roots. Monte watched some sports game while enjoying a midday snooze.

Sandy posted a Happy Birthday wish to Monte on FaceBook. I posted pictures of his original birth day, several other childhood photos, and a shot I’d taken just yesterday.

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At 2:15 p.m. I went to the nearby Pie Shop in Laughlintown. I chose a white cake with white icing. We’d planned a Continue reading

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