This toothpick holder was made for Astor House, which was built by John Jacob Astor in 1836 and was known in its time as “the best known hotel in America.” The luxury hotel closed in 1926, so at the very least this piece dates to the early 20th century and could well be older than that.
It is not backstamped and could have been made either by Bauscher Bros. or by Syracuse China, another known manufacturer of these shapes.
I don’t want to imply by any means that this is the only surviving bit of Astor House china, but without documentation it is likely that no one has been able to match up this AH logo with the hotel until my friend and historian Larry Paul coincidentally found an old packet of toothpicks with the same logo, and the ID was made! Since then, I found the Meriden Britannia Co. fork that also has the same logo, and I’m selling this with the toothpick holder so that the new owner will have the ID in hand.
The toothpick holder is 3 7/8” long by 1 3/8” deep by 1 5/8” high. Sadly, there is a crow’s foot at one end that runs east to west and north to south, shown in the photos. As you can see, however, the cracks have darkened with age, and that leads me to believe that the damage is stable.
The fork is in excellent condition with all over use marks.
Price reflects the rarity of this beautiful pair.
(Display hand is not included with this purchase.)