CLEVELAND, OH.- Grays
auction on March 13th takes us back over 100 years to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair. The fair celebrated the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The grand scale of the exposition featured advances in science, agriculture and introduced audiences to exotic, far-away lands with travel exhibits. This auctions catalogue features a wide ranging collection of memorabilia and souvenirs.
The auction opens with a group of three brilliant blue floral Rowland & Marsellus-Staffordshire porcelain vases. Each one depicting a building from the Worlds Fair, including the Palace of Varied Studies, the Palace of the Arts and the Cascade Gardens. The second lot continues with another trio of vibrant blue vases, all are stamped with the makers mark and inscribed with 'The World's Fair, 1904, St. Louis MO., U.S.A.' on the bottom.
The Louisiana Purchase, from France, was one of the largest land acquisitions the United States ever made and Lot 208 captures the infamous French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, in bronze by Renzo Colombo. Unlock the past with Lot 137, a large chrome metal padlock and key. It is inscribed with the Worlds Fair St. Louis 1904 and the names of the fourteen states that were added after the Louisiana Purchase.
The catalogue continues with two souvenir gold dollars in Lot 184. One coin depicting the recently assassinated President William McKinley and the other Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. Both inscribed on verso 'Louisiana Purchase Exposition St. Louis, One Dollar 1803-1903'. Together with one original 'Jefferson-$3.00-McKinley' paper box. Another souvenir to reflect upon is Lot 158, with a group of five mirrors, including two ornate metal hand mirrors, one with a ceramic back, one table top mirror and two tri-fold mirrors capturing the grand buildings of the fair. Accompanying the mirrors is a jewelry box depicting the Administration building.
The auction contains a black forest carved walnut side chair, Lot 211. The striking image of a carved eagle form splat along with a scrolling floral motif on the seat creates a remarkable conversation piece. Pyro engraved on back 'Souvenir from Switzerland World's Fair St. Louis 1904'. Thus showcasing the fairs exhibits on world travel.
Notable pottery manufacturer Weller, created ceramic plates for the exposition. Lot 36 is comprised of plates depicting the portraits of notable historic gentlemen. Among them are Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. Weller also rounds out the auction with a collection of red clay items. Lot 64 is a group of three diminutive clay pots. Two of them are decorated, one with an old man holding a machete, the other an old man within the clouds. Lots 65-69 showcase Wellers red clay technique in vases, pitchers and pots. One of the more interesting souvenir pieces is Lot 70, a red clay skull. It is decorated with an image of a boy who may be engaged in lawn bowling or vandalism, you be the judge. All of the Weller red clay items are inscribed in white slip on verso 'St. Louis 1904'.
Grays is open for in-person preview March 7-12; Tuesday Friday 10am 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 12noon 4pm.