After a 15-year-long fight to bring it home, some of the sterling silver presentation service is now back on board the Battleship New Jersey.
“It’s wonderful to have the silver back home. This is where it belongs. This is what it was made for,” said Museum Curator Jason Hall. “It’s wonderful for our public to share in this because it’s a unique silver service that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”
Almost half of the 105 pieces in the set were moved from the Governor’s Mansion after an agreement was reached with the Drumthwacket Foundation to share the silver, which was made by Tiffany & Co..
“The detail is incredible because it depicts different industries on the punch bowls. Most of the items all have the Great Seal of the United States and the Seal of the State of New Jersey,” said Battleship New Jersey Executive Director Phil Rowan.
The silver would be used by the captain for entertaining presidents, royalty and dignitaries when the ship visited foreign ports.
“It’s great to have it here for the visitors to come aboard and see what the captain had and what it means to that ship,” said Ken Kersch, Battleship New Jersey 1967-69.
A newspaper article from 1906 shows the day the silver was delivered the captain said the service would never be lost unless the ship went down.
“It’s important to get all the things back that were moved from the ship, whether they were different guns and things like that,” said Rowan. “But silver is a very special item for the ship.”
The entire service is owned by the Navy. The 45 items now at the ship are displayed in a secure case in the captain’s quarters.
The New Jersey is the most decorated battleship in Navy history.
Eventually the museum would like to have all of the silver returned, but officers are thrilled to have back on board at least a part of the ship’s rich history.