American Decorative Arts
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Engraver: John Coney, American, 1655–1722
Maker, possibly by: L S, English

Tobacco Box

ca. 1701


15/16 × 3 1/8 × 3 7/8 in. (2.4 × 7.9 × 9.84 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
Colonial silversmiths regularly imported items from England to resell in their shops. This tobacco box bears the worn mark of a London silversmith in addition to John Coney’s mark. The box most likely arrived plain in Boston, and Coney added the elaborate engraving on the lid. The swirling cartouche surrounds the Jeffries arms. The box is dated 1701 on the underside. Although this was an imported object, Coney had the capability to make similar pieces; the inventory of his estate included a “tobacco box anvil.”
Made in Boston, Massachusetts
On view
American or British
18th century
Containers - Metals

Family of Dr. John Jeffries (1796-1876); his son, John Jeffries, Walter Lloyd Jeffries; his brother, William A. Jeffries; purchased by Francis P. Garvan (1875 - 1937), New York (1935); gift in 1935 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 42–42, no. 32, ill.

John Marshall Phillips, Masterpieces of New England Silver, 1650–1800: An Exhibition Held June 18 through September 10, 1939, Gallery of Fine Arts, Yale University (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1939), 33–34, fig. 55.

Barbara M. Ward and Gerald W. R. Ward, eds., Silver in American Life: Selections from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1979), 71, no. 37, ill.

Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 332.

Francis H. Bigelow, Historic Silver of the Colonies and Its Makers (New York: MacMillan Company, 1917), 391, fig. 280.

Hermann F. Clarke, John Coney, Silversmith, 1655 - 1722 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932), no. 73.

John Marshall Phillips, “Additions to the Garvan Collection of Silver,” Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University 8, no. 1 (June 1937): 5–6, ill.

American Silver, the Work of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Silversmiths, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1906), 50, no. 61, pl. 6.

George Munson Curtis and Florence Virginia Berger, American Church Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1911), 28, no. 240.

Harvard Tercentenary Exhibition, exh. cat. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1936), 29, no. 103.

Jeannine Falino and Gerald W. R. Ward, eds., New England Silver and Silversmithing 1620-1815 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Boston, 2001), 52–53, fig. 6.

Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Inventing Boston: Design, Production, and Consumption (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2019), 167, 169, fig. 199.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.