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Item   Title MB Final Bid New bid Max bid  
18   William H. Taft’s Letter Opener  $200 $1750 You must login to place a bid.
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#18 - William H. Taft’s Letter Opener

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President Taft’s personally-owned gilt-over-bronze letter opener, measuring 10.5″ long, featuring a stunning sculptured eagle that wraps around the hilt and a cornucopia pommel, with patriotic shields extending down onto the blade. The blade is expertly hand-engraved on both sides, with one reading, “23rd Annual Banquet of the Ohio Society of New York, Dec. 16th, 1908,” and the other inscribed, “In honor of William Howard Taft, President-elect of the United States.” Some areas of the blade are lightly tarnished but this hardly detracts from the exquisite craftsmanship of the piece. Includes a letter of provenance on a White House card from Lillian Rogers Parks, who was a best selling author as well as housekeeper and seamstress at the White House for over 30 years, from President Hoover through President Eisenhower. In part: “The ornate letter opener was owned by President William Howard Taft. When they departed the White House…in 1912, they gave some of their things to those who served them. This was given to my ‘Mama,’ Maggie Rogers, who served at the White House from 1909 to 1939…The handle of the letter is probably gold…The other guests (except for the President and Mrs. Taft) attending the 1909 dinner received the same item except theirs was not gold.” Interestingly, Maggie Rogers made the 1908 trip to Syracuse to attend to the first family. Accompanied by a photocopied article from the December 17, 1908, New York Herald, which discusses the Banquet of the Ohio Society and names the prominent attendees, with William H. Taft listed as the guest of honor. An impressive presidential display piece of the highest quality.

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