Chicago Antiques Guide

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"Columbus" Pitcher - Burley - Copeland -1893

Posted Sunday, August 07 by CAG

Betty writes that she inherited this pitcher from her grandmother and always wondered about the scene and the meaning of all the information in the mark on the bottom.
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Well Betty this is a great find and perfect for us at the Chicago Antiques Guide because of the strong "Chicago" connection.
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This pitcher was commissioned by Burley & Co a Chicago retailer to sell as a high end souvenir at the Columbian Exposition. The pitcher was manufactured in England by Copeland & Sons (later Copeland-Spode). It sold in 1893 for astronomical price of $5.00.

The Columbian Exposition was a major World's Fair intended to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America. That explains the 1492-1892. The scene on the pitcher is the most famous depiction of "Columbus Landing in the New World". This scene appears on many souvenirs from the Fair. The Fair, however, was not held until 1893 because of a labor strke in Chicago which delayed the Fair by a year. If memory serves me correctly the Fair was attended by over 27 million people from all over the world.

This pitcher was so well received that Burley & Co, commissioned another pitcher from Copeland for the following year, called the "Chicago" pitcher. I'm certain that we will eventually receive an inquiry about this great piece as well. These pitchers, although not common, can be purchased today for as little as $150, but can still bring up to $300 or $350 in the right venue.

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