Wednesday, May 22, 2013

B.H. Stief Jewelry Co. Nashville TN, founded 1858

The Moran's enjoyed good quality items including silverware.  In 1926, Brud Moran wrote to the B.H. Stief Jewelry Co. of Nashville for  some sterling silver tea spoons, to be sent on approval. The price, if purchased, being $12.00  I wonder if anyone these days but the very wealthy are given the opportunity to receive items on approval before deciding if they want to purchase them?  No clue if Brud kept them or returned them but here's a bit of background on the company as well as the letter, dated May 5, 1926, from G.J. Fox, the secretary and treasurer of the company.

The B.H. Stief Jewelry Company of Nashville Tennessee was founded in 1858. They are not affiliated with the Steiff Company of the Steiff bear fame.  Bruno Hugo Stief was born on March 21, 1845, in Prussia.  He was 7 years old when he boarded the passenger ship  "Irma" at Hamburg Germany with his father Franz Stief, his mother Susan Helena and his brother Oskar and sister Attelia.  They arrived in the United States on August 6, 1852.  By 1860 they are living in Nashville.  Franz is a "ban-box maker" while Oscar and Bruno are apprentice watchmakers.  Bruno married Francies G. Fields on March 3, 1869.  It doesn't appear that the couple had any children which would most likely account for the company passing out of the hands of the family after the death of Bruno in 1890.

The following excerpt comes from The Jewelers' Circular v. 78, issue 1, 1919:

A Pioneer in Dear Old Tennessee:  Taking a westward direction we reach what was once termed "The Athens of the South," Nashville, Tenn., and pay a visit to the store of the B.H. Stief Jewelry Co.  About 50 years ago the then proprietor had the honor of serving Gov. Andrew Jackson and many wealthy southern people whose families resided in Nashville because it was such a great educational city.  They bouth the best, and the firm sold only solid gold jewelry and solid silverware.  The stock was dispensed from a diminutive establishment 15 x 18 feet, with no employees but Mr. Stief himself.  The population of the town was then 25,000, with two daily newspapers.  Goods were bought directly from all the large manufacturers of jewelry and silverware.

J.A. Cayce, President
G.J. Fox, Secty & Treas.
The B.H. Stief Jewelry Co.
Jewelers and Silversmiths
Stief's Corner
Church St. & Capitol Boulevard
Nashville, Tenn.
May 5, 1926

Mr. C.H. Moran,
Dresden, Tenn.
Dear Sir:
As per your request of the 3d, we have sent you on approval six Sterling Silver Tea Spoons in our ADAM Pattern, which is one of the finest patterns which we have, and the price of same is $12.00.

Trusting you received them in due time, and that they will prove satisfactory, also, thanking you for past valued favors, we are,
Very truly yours,
B.H. Stief Jewelry Co.

GJF-H  It was signed by Gilbert J. Fox.

Updated January 8 2018
I came across a listing by Muddy Mo. Antiques on the website for a spoon by the B.H. Stief Jewelry Co.  Much of the information they have listed was taken directly from this webpage word for word and without bothering to cite the source of the information.  It makes it seem as if the spoon they are listing has some connection to the Moran family but there is no connection at all. Do not be fooled into thinking that if you purchase the item they are selling that it came from the Moran Estate.  I have asked them to add a citation indicating that the information they have provided came from the Moran Family blog.

Updated January 9 2018
I'm pleased to report that the owners of Muddy Mo. Antiques have added the citation.  If anyone buys the spoon they are definitely getting a piece of Tennessee history!  Just not Moran history.  :)

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