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Auction of Historic Items From J. Pierpont Morgan’s Megayacht

Mega Yacht News by DIANE M. BYRNE 

March 15, 2011

UPDATE, APRIL 29: Due to the auction occurring this weekend, there has been great interest in the items available and in this story. That’s why we have brought it back as a featured article this week.

Well over 100 years ago, the 241-foot Corsair ruled the waves, a second home to financier J. Pierpont Morgan. She’s long gone, yet remains one of the most famous in American—even world—maritime history. However, some of the steam yacht’s equally famous artifacts are still around, and now they’re up for auction.

On May 1, Boston Harbor Auctions is hosting the sale of hundreds of pieces of china, stemware, furnishings, and even poker chips, all used aboard Corsair. Imagine the stories they could tell, from the time Corsair launched in the 1880s to her time as the flagship of the New York Yacht Club in 1897. (The following year, the U.S. government obtained the yacht for use as a warship during the Spanish American War, rechristening her the U.S.S. Gloucester.)

Among the auctions items, the 200-plus pieces of china should attract great attention. They’re being sold in sets and individual lots. Made by Minton, one of the finest of the day, each has a gold and blue border and is hand-painted with the New York Yacht Club burgee. Each also has either the Morgan house flag, depicting a crescent moon and star, or the New York Yacht Club Commodore flag, with a white anchor surrounded by stars on a blue background. Furthermore, the dishes, pitchers, bowls, and platters have blue ribbons that read “Corsair” or “Flagship.”

Boston Harbor Auctions expects a particular piece of furniture to fetch a fairly high price. It’s a lamp reportedly made by Tiffany. Showcasing the Morgan house flag’s moon and star, it also has a sea serpent and dolphin. Value: $25,000 to $30,000.

Other items for sale include a Tiffany cigar cutter, emblazoned with the Morgan house flag, and a velvet-lined mahogany box of poker chips. The box still features the New York Yacht Club burgee and Morgan house flag, made of cloisonne. There are also linens and brass clocks.

Bids can be made in person or online. For details, and to see the online catalog, visit the Boston Harbor Auctions website.

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