Elizabethan Silver Coconut Goblet

  • A coconut serves as the body of this exceptionally rare 16th-century silver goblet
  • It was crafted during a period when coconuts were considered an extravagant novelty in England
  • Due to political events and the Great Fire of 1666, silver objects from the 16th century are scarce
  • This extraordinary goblet represents the small number of pre-Cromwellian English silver known
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-2960

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A coconut serves as the body of this exceptionally rare 16th-century silver goblet. Crafted during a period when coconuts were considered an extravagant novelty in England, this example is supported by highly decorative, engraved sterling silver that is in itself extremely precious. Silver objects from the 16th century are seldom found outside the confines of museums due to two historically significant events. The first occurred during the successful uprising of Oliver Cromwell against Charles I and Parliament in the mid-17th century. Cromwell decreed that all silver objects be surrendered to his forces and destroyed after discovering that his opposition was financed largely by silver. Later, the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed much of London, including a majority of its silver and the records of registered silversmiths. Pieces crafted prior to these tragic events are extremely scarce and highly desirable. This extraordinary goblet represents the small number of pre-Cromwellian English silver objects, especially from the 1500s, known to exist.

First popular in the late 15th and early 16th century throughout Europe, coconuts were once believed to possess healing powers and were used in cups such as this to detect and deter poison. As more trade routes opened up during the 16th century, coconuts became more widely available, though still only afforded to a wealthy minority in Europe and England. A cup such as this that has been so masterfully encased in sterling would most certainly have been in the possession of royalty or nobility. Similar silver-mounted coconut cups can be found in the most respected museum collections, including the Gilbert Collection.

Hallmarked London, 1589 with the maker’s mark ‘B’

2 7/8" diameter x 7 3/4" high
Elizabethan Silver Coconut Goblet
Period: Pre-17th Century
Origin: England
Type: Goblets & Cups
Depth: 2.83 Inches
Width: 2.83 Inches
Height: 7.75 Inches
Style: Elizabethan/Jacobean

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