The Geelong 1874 Gold Cup  by Edward Fischer

Engraved ‘E Fischer, Geelong’ 19 oz. 18ct. gold. 25 cms


The Geelong Advertiser of 1874 states: making of the Geelong Racing Club 100 sovereign gold cup, has been entrusted to Mr Fischer, in design it will be quite different to anything made here before, being of oval shape on an elegantly chased stem, the two handles following the contour of the bowl, the lid will be surmounted by a horse  rampant, signed by Mr S. Woodhouse, the height will be fully nine inches and the weight not less than 20 ounces. A more elegant trophy could not have been desired.


19th Century Australian Silver J. B. Hawkins Vol I, page 295, plate 256 and page 301. This is the first recorded Geelong Gold Cup, it is also illustrated in colour, p 301, plate 39.

The World of Antiques and Art, February – July 2003.

Edward Fischer, Silversmith of Geelong time for a closer look?  Veronica Filmer and Brian Hubber  pp. 62-65  In this article Filmer draws attention to two collections of design drawings one purchased by the Geelong Gallery, the other purchased by a private collector relating to the products of Fischer’s workshop, the addition of this original material to our corpus of knowledge of Fischer’s work should be published.

Australian Business Collectors Annual, Bicentennial Edition 1987/1988, pp. 53-56

Glittering Prizes. J.B. Hawkins 


Mint Museum Sydney, March 1995 to March 1996.

Gold and Civilisation Exhibition, National Museum of Australia 2001.


Purchased by John Hawkins from Miss Tait, then living in Moss Vale NSW, the grand-daughter of John Tait (1813-1888) racehorse owner and trainer, born 5th November 1813 at Melrose near Edinburgh, trained as a jeweller he reached Hobart 2nd November 1837 and opened a jewellery business. Moving to NSW he took over the Black Bull Inn at Bathurst in 1847. Strong and wiry his great skill as a boxer enabled him to tame his rougher patrons, Tait won the NSW St Ledger at Homebush three times, three Queens Plates in Victoria, moving to Sydney in 1853 he became the Licensee of the Commercial Hotel in Castlereagh Street.

In 1857 Tait adopted his famous racing colours of ‘a yellow jacket and a black cap’ and went into racing as a business. His most famous horse was ‘The Barb’ or ‘Black Demon’, who won for him the Melbourne Cup in 1866 and the Sydney Cups in 1868 & 1869. He won the Melbourne Cup three times and it is estimated that by 1880 ‘Honest John’ Tait had won over £30,000, all by fair means.


The Tait family by descent, purchased J. B. Hawkins 1980, sold Kerry Packer 1981.

Re-purchased J. B. Hawkins, sold Koopman London 1988 and Export Licence approved by the Movable Cultural Heritage Authorities in Canberra.

Purchased in the United Kingdom by Mr P Simon.

The Kennedy Collection.

It is of interest that Brian Kennedy in 1998, then Director of the National Gallery in Canberra, informed me  in person that the reason they did not buy Australian gold cups was that they did not buy basement material.

Thank goodness times have changed!