We will be selling a piece of Paul Revere silver in our Jan. 28th Antiques and Fine Arts Auction. The late 18th century Paul Revere coin silver sauce ladle is marked in two places on the back of the handle and monogrammed R. It is 6 1/4" long and 1.0 standard or 0.91 troy oz. It has an auction estimate of $2,500 to 4,500.
Paul Revere learned silversmithing from his father Apollos Rivoire, a French Huguenot immigrant who came to the American colonies in 1715. After buying his freedom from an apprenticeship Rivoire established himself as a Boston goldsmith. He also Anglicized the spelling of his surname to Revere, "merely on account that the bumpkins pronounce it easier," his son later said. Paul Revere apprenticed with his father and took over the family business at the age of nineteen when Apollos Rivoire died in 1754. The bulk of his work consisted of silversmithing but Revere also diversified the business, making frames for portrait miniatures, designing copper plate engravings (like his now-famous, highly propagandistic depiction of the Boston Massacre), and even offering dental services in the form of false teeth. As a result of this endeavor, Revere performed one of the first forensic investigations in America after the Battle of Lexington and Concord when he was able to identify the body of his friend and fellow revolutionary Dr. Joseph Warren by the artificial teeth he had made for him.
Revere's artistic skills became an increasingly important tool in the Boston revolutionary movement. In 1770 a young boy was killed when a British customs officer shot into an angry crowd outside his house. Revere turned the event into a visually arresting piece of propaganda by staging a public demonstration at his house on the anniversary of the boy's death. Each illuminated window was decorated with inflammatory scenes including the boy's ghost, the Boston Massacre, and a female figure with a liberty cap representing America standing on top of a British soldier. Coverage in the Boston Gazette stated, "In the evening, there is a very striking exhibition at the dwelling house of Mr. Paul Revere, fronting old North Square... the spectators, which amounted to many thousands, were struck with solemn silence and their faces covered with melancholy gloom." The Boston Museum of Fine Arts contains a Sons of Liberty silver bowl by Revere decorated with the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and liberty poles and caps (http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/sons-of-liberty-bowl-39072). Revere's widely circulated political engravings helped shape popular understanding of current events, and his artisan training allowed him to repair artillery guns for the Continental Army. Revere returned to his silversmithing business after the war, eventually passing the shop on to a son when he taught himself to cast bell-metal and opened a bell foundry.
Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere's Ride. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.