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19th C. Anniversary Tin Top Hat

The 10th Wedding anniversary is called the Tin or Aluminum Anniversary because of the pliability of those metals. This pliability is representative of the flexibility that is necessary to make a relationship and marriage work. The couple has made it through a decade of marriage and the 10th Anniversary was cause for a celebration and gift giving.

This is why tin was used to produce a gift for the Tenth Anniversary, called the "Tin Anniversary." While not as well known as the twenty-fifth, which called for silver gifts, the Victorian housewife knew she might well receive a tenth anniversary gift of tin. Tinsmiths provided whimsical gifts just for this purpose. It's a shame that this tradition has gotten lost with time, isn't it?

 In Victorian America, the Tin Anniversary became an occasion of riotous celebration, and whimsical gifts made of tin were presented to the married couple. Often they were over sized items or humorous pieces with personal meaning. If a union survived ten years, it followed that the relationship was durable and could be bent without being broken, much like tin. These rare reminders of this curious custom often demonstrate the great skills of the professional tinsmiths, who cut the pieces from sheet tin templates and then soldered the sections together.  Surviving Anniversary Tin demonstrates not only the skill with which the items were fashioned but also the variety of forms available.  

Museum collections include not only hats and bonnets and tin shoes and watches as well as decorative vases that could never be used to hold water. A lot of the Anniversary Tin is whimsical and larger than life. Certainly, it couldn t be worn or even used, but was meant to be displayed on a shelf as a remembrance of that anniversary.  Almost any object found  or meaningful to the recipient could be made out of tin and "gifted".

In this case the Anniversary Tin Gift is a very special Tin Top Hat . . .  Special because it has a wide copper band. It is 7 inches high without the stand which is not included. It is in excellent condition with a great patina. Very well formed, demonstrating the art of the tinsmith.

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