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    Presented to Mormon Apostle While on a Mission to England

    Ezra T. Benson: Presentation Gold Pocket Watch. 51 mm (2") 18K gold pocket watch presented to Ezra T. Benson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while visiting England on Church business in 1856. The dust cover is engraved: "Presented to the Apostle/ Ezra T. Benson./ with the love & esteem/ of his Brethren assembled in/ Council at/ Birmingham./ 23rd July, 1856" The watch is a gilt lever fusée with lateral lever escapement. It is housed in an 18K gold hunter's case with "CM" hallmark. The gilt movement is marked with the name of the maker, J. W. Benson of 33-34 Ludgate Hill, London. The dust cover, dial and case are 18K gold. The dial has multi-colored gold trim and is missing the subsidiary second hand. It is currently not running. The total weight is 102.2 grams.

    Ezra Taft Benson (1811-1869) was a key figure in the early Mormon church. A native of Massachusetts, he worked as farmer, hotelier, cotton mill operator and postmaster before moving west with his family. In 1838, he settled in Quincy, Illinois where he had his first contact with Mormonism. He and his wife were baptized in 1840. President Hyrum Smith ordained him an Elder and High Priest at Nauvoo, where the Benson's moved to in April 1841. They were part of the first company to move West in 1846. That eventful year saw him appointed to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by Brigham Young, being ordained as the 20th Apostle on July 16, 1846. He was one of the pioneers to the Great Salt Lake Valley in the Spring of 1847, moving there permanently in 1849. Together with Orson Pratt, he traveled to England in 1856 and presided over the English mission until the Fall of 1857. From that time until his sudden and untimely death in 1869, he was active in scouting new settlements ("stakes") and supervising their development. He served in eight formal missions on the behest of Brigham Young. Of particular interest was his role in providing workers for the completion of the transcontinental railroad, completed three months prior to his death with ceremonies at Promontory Point, Utah. The Central Pacific held up $200,000 due the Mormons, but Benson paid workers in full with his own personal funds.

    The watch was passed down in the consignor's family through a grandmother's aunt, who married a grandson of Ezra T. Benson. In this sale, we are also selling a circa 1863-1864 photo album of Mormon interest that includes a carte-de-visite portrait of Benson.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2016
    3rd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,707

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