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Personal effects of major US political figure up for auction at Ewbank's
The Japanese silver sake glass holder is cast in the form of irises and is marked to the base, Samurai Shokai, Yokohama. Standing 4.5cm high, the estimate is £40-60. Image courtesy of Ewbank’s Auctions.

WOKING.- Luke Edward Wright was Governor-General of the Philippines, Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt and the United States’ first full Ambassador to Japan.

Now a selection of his personal effects echoing these connections will appear for auction at Ewbank’s in Surrey on September 17.

Consigned by a descendant, the Japanese silver coffee pot, American silver card tray, Japanese silver sake glass holder and silver spectacles case all belonged to a man who started life in Tennessee in 1846, enlisting in the Confederate States Army at the age of 15 in time to fight in the American Civil War.

He later trained as a lawyer and served as Tennessee Attorney General for eight years before entering politics and being appointed vice-governor of the Philippines in 1901, after Spain ceded the Philippines along with Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States when they lost the Spanish-American War.

Wright went on to become Governor-General there three years later. Two years after that, he became Ambassador to Japan in the wake of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, when President Roosevelt agreed to act as mediator at Japan’s request. Wright served in the post for a year before returning to the United States where he then took up the post of Secretary of War.

An early champion of aviation technology as a military resource, he had little chance to see his ideas take fruit as he left office after less than year and returned to private life, dying in Memphis in 1922.

Arguably the most personal of his effects entered for auction here is his silver spectacle case engraved on the reverse Luke E Wright, Memphis Tenn, which comes with an estimate of £100-150.

The Japanese silver coffee pot, in the form of a gourd with ‘bamboo’ handle, is signed on the body. At 25.5oz (792 gm) and standing 20cm high, it is estimated at £500-800.

The Japanese silver sake glass holder is cast in the form of irises and is marked to the base, Samurai Shokai, Yokohama. Standing 4.5cm high, the estimate is £40-60.

The silver card tray is estimated at £80-120.

All will appear in the Silver & Fine Art auction on September 17. Live online bidding is available via the company website at

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