From Lincoln's table to yours – this salad plate

From Lincoln's table to yours This salad plate, part of a service purchased by Mary Todd Lincoln during a shopping trip to New York City in 1861, is expected to reach $8,000-$12,000. (photo courtesy Cowan's Auctions)

It seems that in the days and weeks leading up to the election, nearly every auction house was offering a piece or two (or more) of presidential memorabilia. The one that caught our eye was the item you see here – a salad plate from the administration of Abraham Lincoln. It's being offered in Cowan's Auctions' American History Auction on Friday, Nov. 18, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The “Solferino” (“Royal Purple”) service, quite pretty and striking, was ordered by the First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, from Messrs. E. V. Haugwout & Company in May of 1861.

Mrs. Lincoln purchased the set during a shopping trip to New York City to buy furnishings for the White House. “Solferino” - a rich, puce color – had been made fashionable by the French, around 1859, and Mary Todd perpetuated the vogue by using it liberally in the interior decoration of the White House. The service was delivered on Sept. 2, 1861, and numbered 658 pieces (a dinner service of 190 pieces, a dessert service of 208 pieces and a breakfast and tea service of 260 pieces). The total cost was a rather hefty $3,195. Visit



Items from the Scranton collection up for auction

Items from the Scranton collection This gorgeous polychrome transfer-printed Earthenware pitcher, made by the American Pottery Mfg. Co., should realize $5,000-$7,000 at Freeman's on Nov. 16th. (photo courtesy Freeman's)

Most everyone's heard of Scranton, Pennsylvania, but did you know the city is the namesake of that state's late Governor William W. Scranton (1917-2013)? A Mayflower descendant, Scranton was elected to Congress in 1960, easily won the 1962 gubernatorial race and then ran for U.S. President in 1964 as a Republican (unsuccessfully; the nominee was Barry Goldwater). We mention this because on Wednesday, November 16th, Freeman's in Philadelphia will conduct an American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts Auction that will feature items from the Scranton Collection.

These will include the polychrome transfer-printed Earthenware pitcher shown here, made by the American Pottery Mfg. Co. (est. $5,000-$7,000); a Chippendale walnut secretary bookcase, late 18th century, with later alterations (est. $3,000-$4,000); a Federal carved giltwood mahogany and eglomise banjo clock, marked “Willard's patent,” made circa 1815 in Boston, Mass. (est. $800-$1,200); a portrait of a seated lady, attributed to Gilbert Stuart (1756-1828, est. $8,000-$12,000); and an early 19th century tiger maple flintlock rifle (est. $1,500-$2,500). Visit