Franklin Mint U.S. Bicentennial Collection of 10 “Cameos in Crystal.”
Lot 726. Franklin Mint U.S. Bicentennial Collection of 10 “Cameos in Crystal.” Created for the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, these ornaments revive an almost-forgotten technology to honor five American patriots of the Revolutionary period and five Frenchmen who contributed in some way to American independence and establishment of a nation. The technology for embedding bas-relief sculptures, or cameos, in lead crystal became well developed in the early 1800s and faded in popularity toward the onset of the 20th century. It was often used to honor leaders and important historical figures. Each of these ornaments consists of a small ceramic sculpture, a cameo, or “sulphide,” in glass made with lead. Each is almost 3” in diameter at the base, almost 2” high and weighs slightly more than one pound. These creations are meant to be handled, with the cameos viewed with varying appearances through the multiple surfaces of the glass. The pairs of cameo sculptures are: George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, who fought in the Continental Army with Washington, provided tactical leadership and got 6,000 French troops to aid the Americans. Thomas Jefferson and Jean-Jacques Rosseau; both were philosophers of freedom, recognizing individual rights and opposing government tyranny. John Paul Jones and Admiral de Grasse, who provided vital assistance at the Battle Yorktown. Benjamin Franklin and King Louis XVI of France, who created the French-America Alliance that benefitted America during the War of Independence and afterwards; they shared an interest in science. And John Adams and Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu, who articulated the theory of the separation of governmental powers, which Adams helped to put in action. The cameos in crystal are nm-m to mint, each pair in a special protective case that could also be used for displaying them. Each ornament comes with a Franklin Mint Certificate of Authenticity; the CoA for Lafayette is missing. Each pair of ornaments is accompanied by a booklet describing the relationship of the heroes and their contribution to American independence. A slipcase houses the booklets. Franklin Mint’s sculptors and engravers worked with Cristalleries de Baccarat and Cristal d’ Albret of France to produce the cameos in crystal. Minimum Bid $70.