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Rospigliosi Cup as Vintage Fine Arts Fine China Logo Coaster / Fine Arts Sterling Silver Company History

Fine Arts China / Fine Arts Fine China / Made in USA

Here's a pretty little ceramic/pottery/china coaster with a colorful transferware pattern of an unusual centerpiece bowl. I was intrigued by the image of a turtle transporting a snake-dragon with a shell bowl on its back, which has a sphinx/griffon like creature handle. 

Then I flipped it over, and saw the maker's mark incorporated the same dish in the logo. I'd say that makes this an advertising / promotional piece for the company. 

The bowl reminds me of an antique majolica piece, and it seems I've seen it somewhere before, maybe in a price guide book. I'm looking for a photo to add here later. If anyone knows about the bowl, I'd appreciate the help.

Eureka -- I finally went down the correct rabbit hole and found the beautiful bowl that Fine Arts used for their logo. 
It is called the Rospigliosi Cup.

The cup is of splendidly buttery gold, delicately enriched with enamel. A beautifully wrought and finely enameled scallop shell forms the cup’s body; the handle is a superb gold and enamel winged sphinx with a large baroque pearl trembling between her breasts; and the whole is supported by a winged dragon, standing, in turn, upon the back of a sturdy tortoise, both again of gold picked out with enamel. (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1986/10/23/the-fakers-art/) 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Rospigliosi Cup, (so called from the noble Rospigliosi family) sometimes referred to as theCellini Cup, is a decorative ornament in gold and enamel, previously attributed to Benvenuto Cellini(1500–1571), but now known to be an art forgery, of nineteenth-century manufacture.
The Cup is believed to have been created by Reinhold Vasters, a German goldsmith who worked inAachen from 1853 to 1890. Vasters is now believed to be the sole author of many pieces that had previously been attributed as masterpieces of Renaissance jewellery.
So closely did Vasters' Rospigliosi Cup resemble Cellini’s style, it is unlikely that the truth about the forgery would ever have been known, if Vasters' preliminary sketches had not been found. Vasters was a highly skilled artisan, as well as a master of replicating another artist’s style precisely. It was not until the Rospigliosi Cup was taken apart that it became clear that the cup had been assembled in ways that were not available until Vasters' own time.
The Cup is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.

Read an in depth discussion of whether this beautiful piece was made by an artist or a forger -- here: https://thiswritelife.wordpress.com/tag/medici/page/2/ and here: https://lostinthelouvre.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/famous-fake-friday-the-rospigliosi-cup/

Here's what I found out about the Fine Arts China company. It was a part of the Fine Arts Sterling Silver Company: 

Fine Arts Fine China Certificate

Founded by Jerry N. Ashway.  [Source]

Fine Arts Sterling Silver Co. was established in 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, selling patterns made by International Silver Co., and was moved to Morgantown, Pennsylvania in 1972. 

Jerry Ashway passed away in 1973. Perhaps his son ran the company for a few more years.

After moving to Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in 1977, Fine Arts went of of business in 1979. [Source]


FASSC marketed a line of 6 patterns of sterling flatware and sterling and silverplate holloware, all manufactured by the International Silver Co. and sold directly to the consumer by agents who sold ''club'' subscriptions.

They had a lot of sales reps in the 1950s, and held regional get-togethers.

56 dealers of the Fine Arts Sterling Silver company attended a dinner-dance last night at the Hotel President. It was the concluding activity of the 2- day Missouri-Kansas annual convention. Jerry Ashway, Philadelphia, president, spoke briefly. Arrangements were handled by James Allen, .5346 Brooklyn avenue, area manager here. -- The Kansas City Star; Nov. 16, 1952

Direct Marketing Sales (think Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay, Princess House): Salesmen, aka Reps earn sales commissions, and earn commission on the sales of their ''recruits''. 

Here's a newspaper classified ad from Williamsport, PA Sun Gazette in 1972:

AMBITIOUS refined high quality salesman or saleswoman for part or full time to cover area as a fine arts sterling silver company bonded specialists assisting working ladjes or homemakers m selection of their sterling silver fine china stemware and quality lifetime cookware. Someone who is willing to work diligently to take over an area; supervisor to then hire and train his own sales force. High commissions, bonuses and incentives. We will have a booth at the Bloomsburg Fair where you can train and develop your business. Interviewmg locally Saturday September 9th. If you are seriously interested please phone immediately for interview. If you have no intentions of following through on appointment please don't waste our time. I'm interested in finding someone who likes to make money and who enjoys the finer things of life and is willing to work for it. Call J Stiener.  

1957 - Filed with the SEC to sell stock:
Fine Arts Acceptance Corporation, Philadelphia, filed a registration statement (File 2-13713) with the SEC on October 25, 1957, seeking registration of $525,000 of b~% Subordinated Sinking Fund Debentures (with non-detachable Common Stock Purchase Warrants), due November 1, 1977. The company proposes to offer the debentures (with warrants) for public sale at 95% of principal amount. The offering is to be made through Woodcock, Hess, Moyer & Co., Inc., Boenning & Co., Suplee, Yeatman, Mosley & Co., Inc., and Paul & Lynch, underwriters, who will receive a 7.5% commission. The company has also agreed to sell the underwriters, for $80, warrants to buy 8,000 common shares at $10 per share.
The company was organized in 1954 "to develop an organization geared to the special needs of purchasing and collecting on consumer receivables in the direct-to-the-home sales field. Although it intends to broaden out its activities over the years, until now its sole business has been purchaSing and collecting on consumer receivables purchased from Fine Arts Sterling Silver Company, of Philadelphia.
Net proceeds of this financing will be added to the general funds of the company and will be applied to the purchase of additional installment sales contracts. Any excess of cash not so immediately required may temporarily be used to reduce bank loans. President of the company is Winfield C. Cook, one of its promoters.
In 1964 Ashway was looking to expand his sales territory to Hawaii -- nice work if you can get it. His Salt Lake Tribune 11/23/64 classified ad said:
"MANAGEMENT OPPORTUNITY HAWAII - operating International now have opening for a single man 21-35, qualified to accept an excellent management opportunity to build a group in Hawaii. Salary, commissions and expenses.  Write directly to Jerry N Ashway, President Fine Arts International Jenkintown Penn "

In 1950, Jerry N. Ashway filed for a design patent on this cute elephant shaped child's dish.
"Be it known that I, Jerry N. Ashway, a citizen of the United States, residing at Baederwood, Jenkintown, in the county of Montgomery, and State of Pennsylvania, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Child's Compartmented Dining Tray, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part thereof." [Link]
Click the photos to enlarge.

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