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Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Reference: S1376
Period: George III
Year: Circa 1760
Silversmith: Benjamin Stokes
Place: Dublin
Price: $ 4 300.00
Weight: 192 grams
Dimensions: 8.5 cm* 6.3 cm* 3.3 cm
Condition: Excellent, hinge and closure perfect. Gilding on coat of arms worn. Scratches to base.

Description: A rare Irish silver Freedom Box, engraved with the coat of arms of the city of Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. Freedom boxes are typically Irish, and were used as presentation pieces to distinguished non- residents who received the honorary freedom of the city (Bennett, Collecting Irish Silver). Example from Dublin, Youghal, Limerick and Cork are known (Bennett), Londonderry is rare. The coat of arms includes a skeleton sitting on a hill, with a turreted castle, and the George Cross and dagger of London above. The skeleton is thought to represent starvation during the great siege. The city motto "Vita Veritas Victoria" (Life, Truth, Victory) is engraved below. The engraving quality is superb, with delicate flowers and chased C scrolls. The decorated lid is a separate panel that has been set into a presumably plain table snuff box. The box has a curved thumbpull for easy opening, and is gilded interior and exterior, with exception of the base. The only hallmarks present are the makers mark (struck twice, on interior and lid). The marks are clear, B.S underneath a fleur de lys in a shaped shield (mark 53 in Bennett, pg 161). Benjamin Stokes worked from Skinner Row in Dublin between 1733 and 1769, and was elected Warden and Master of the Goldsmiths company. Londonderry is more recently known for the infamous "Bloody Sunday". Benjamin Stokes was also the maker of another Londonderry Freedom box which is currently in the Ulster museum. It is a gold box made in 1768, and presented to Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Londonderry. This box is pictured in the article "Freedom Boxes" by Ian Pickford (Collectors Guide, October 1978). The same article shows the Rutland gold salver, made by Paul Storr from 15 freedom boxes, including Londonderry - hence the inclusion of the Londonderry armorial.
Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Irish Silver Freedom box

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Crest close-up

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Lid

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Detail

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Gilt interior

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Base

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Scale

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Makers mark 1

Irish Silver Freedom Box - Londonderry
Makers mark 2

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