Rare Carved and Polished Coal Presentation Inkwell for Runkle Camp 47 P.O.S. of A
Description: This is a rare and most likely one of kind carved and polished coal (yes, coal as in burning it for power) inkwell. The piece was obviously carved out of chunks of coal in the form of a barrel on a square base. The barrel is hollow on the inside and has a lid with a polished finial on top. There is a milk glass insert that goes into the barrel. The exterior of the barrel is carved and polished and has the following writing in raised lettering "George E Runkle Camp 47 P.O.S.of A." Camp 47 appears to be located in Penns Grove New Jersey and we assume Mr. Runkle was a member or an official in the camp. The barrel itself is also decorated with polished and unpolished or textured alternating bands. The barrel sits on a squared base, which we believe is made of a separate piece of coal and is probably glued to the bottom o0f the barrel in some fashion or another. The top of the base is nicely polished with carved tree braches emanating from the corners and going towards the barrel. The sides of the base are matte in appearance and have a rough texture. The bottom of the base is cut and smoothed but unpolished or decorated. This is very different inkwell made of an unusual material. This piece was probably made for Mr. Runkle and was most likely a presentation piece. It was most likely made by hand and to order, so we assume it is one of a kind or if others exist they would be a very small number. Because the piece is in such good shape we are assuming it was never used as an inkwell but rather cherished and kept in a safe place by its owner. Please carefully review the photos presented as they are part and parcel of our description.
Date: Uncertain but most likely mid 20th century, could be earlier.
Origin: Purchased at an estate sale in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Size: The base of the inkwell measures ~4" by 4", while the barrel is 2 1/2" in diameter with the opening being ~1 5/8" in diameter and in ~2" deep. The entire piece is 4 1/2" high t the top of the finial and weighs ~ one pound and six ounces.
Condition: The inkwell is in excellent original condition with minor scratches, nicks, and defects associated with the natural material used to make it. Most noticeable are two chips in the base. The one (see last two photos) at the edge of the base is associated with two cracks, each 1" long, emanating from it, one along the edge and the other within the base. These cracks appear to be stable and the piece is intact and solid. The other chip, which is within the base itself appear to be an artifact of the making, but could have happened later and can be seen in the last two photo. The lid is also intact with one small nick on the inside edge, which could also be an artifact of the making process. The glass insert is also in good shape and intact. The piece has some soiling and would probably use a good cleaning to bring out its full beauty but we leave that to the new owner. Just a great vintage inkwell made out of coal to add to your collection. Please see photos for additional condition information.