In 1943, D C came upon two silver “beakers” in the possession of a New York dealer in American antiquities. One of the beakers was engraved “Vines Collier” and the other “Sara”. D C, who was living in New York City at the time, visited the dealer (The House of Peters) at least twice.
Here is a letter from The House of Peters to J C Collier offering to sell the beakers for $200.00, which would be equivalent to almost $2900.00 today. The letter was accompanied by a photograph of the beakers. Based on a note inside one of the beakers, the items had belonged to a late doctor (Dr. Norton) who had served in the Union army and who obtained them near Macon in 1864. The supposition is they were stolen during the uncontrolled looting by Sherman’s army in the March to the Sea.Vines Beaker Letter
Vines Beaker Picture
Vines Beaker Picture Back
J C and D C didn’t purchase the beakers. The country was in the middle of World War II; money was not easily had and the future was uncertain. One of D C‘s two sons was in the US Army in North Africa, the other in the Annapolis Naval Academy. And D C’s daughter was serving with the US Weather Bureau in Puerto Rico. Definitely not the perfect time to invest in unnecessary items.
Or perhaps they felt they weren’t authentic. But if they were, could they have originally belonged to Vines and Sarah Collier from the Lexington area? Or perhaps another Vines Collier and Sara? We all know Vines was a name in common usage in the Collier family.
And, if they were original to the Lexington couple, what family were they stolen from near Macon? Perhaps someone out there has stories of their family losing silver to Yankee troops near Macon in 1864.
Is the location of the beakers known today?
I don’t know the whereabouts of the beakers. Virginia Collier Dennis had mentioned to me in passing that someone offered to sell her father (D C Collier) some silver cups owned by Vines Collier. The first hard evidence I found was in the letter and picture that are presented here.