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Sterling silver and gold gem-encrusted alms basin. Engraved center scene shows women holding children, with several male figures praying and making offerings. Inscribed around the scene are the words, "When They Had / Opened Their / Treasures They / Presented / Unto Him / Gifts Gold And / Frankincense / And Myrrh." The outer border reads, "All / That Is / In The / Heaven / And / In The / Earth Is / Thine."




Silver, gem


3.375 H x 20 W inches

Object ID

2021.27.1 a

Resource ID



In 1873, Old St. Paul's Church experienced the theft of two alms dishes. To make up for this loss, Reverend Dr. John Sebastian Bach Hodges (1830-1915), reverend of St. Paul's for more than 30 years, suggested that a new alms basin be sourced through jewelry donations by the congregation. The congregation responded, first donating items such as watches, chains, rings, spooks, jewels, among others, on St. Paul's feast day in January 1874. These donation added up to 25 pounds of gold and silver, which were used to fund the commissioning of this alms basin, six smaller collection plates, and other miscellaneous altar silver. The donations were smelted to make the basin and additional silver and included various amethyst, topaz, garnets, bloodstone, crystals, etc. The basin was dedicated and first used by the church in a service on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1876.

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


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