A Texas auction house will offer a one-of-a-kind sterling silver tea and coffee service from Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, Christy Mathewson at their May 3 auction. Mathewson was presented the service as a gift in 1917.
Austin Auction Gallery is also selling a high karat gold-mounted Saudi Arabian ceremonial sword from the private collection of legendary University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal (1924-2012).
According to the estate of Christy Mathewson, Jr., who was killed in a home explosion, the sterling silver tea and coffee service is one of only a few surviving baseball memorabilia in the family. The service tray is engraved ''Presented to Christy ‘Matthewson’ by his New York Friends, May 12th 1917" and is in the “Plymouth” pattern by Reed and Barton. Mathewson was managing the Cincinnati Reds and on that day, the Reds were in New York to play the team for which Mathewson spent virtually his entire playing career, the New York Giants.
The seven-piece set carries a presale estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It was discovered among a collection of silver from the estate of American painter Michael Frary (1918-2005), a relation to Mathewson by marriage, and whose name is well-known among art circles in Austin.
The Saudi Arabian sword was presented in the early 1980’s to Darrell Royal and his wife Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid, University of Texas Ph.D. graduate, founder of Rashid Engineering and advisor to the Saudi Arabia Royal Family. The opulent gold scabbard is engraved with the emblem of Saudi Arabia and foliated vines. It is inscribed with the signature of Ahmad bin Ebrahim Badr (Makkah, Saudi Arabia, 1920-2009), the noted Arabian goldsmith commissioned by the King of Saudi Arabia to recreate the solid gold doors to the Kaaba in Mecca.
The steel blade of the sword is marked on the spine “Made in England 1782.” Saudi Arabia one guinea coins are suspended from gold chains on both scabbard and hilt. The whole ensemble is in a custom presentation case and is accompanied by a hand written descriptive letter from Dr. Al-Rashid. It carries a conservative estimate of $25,000-$35,000.
The sword has been stored in a museum vault at the University of Texas at Austin campus for 27 years and has never been publicly displayed.