On May 15, 1750, Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis, marking her ascension into the highest echelon of Virginia society. As befitting her new station, she and her husband outfitted their home with the finest dining wares from England. This pair of silver sugar tongs, engraved with the early Custis crest of a wingless bird of prey with feathered ears (often thought to be an eagle), was once part of an elegant tea service. Following the untimely death of her first husband in 1757 and her second marriage to George Washington, the tongs and Mrs. Washington made their way to Mount Vernon.

See also tablespoons, W-2531 and W-2537.


Silver sugar tongs of scissor form with circular finger guards and C-scrolled handles; cyma-curved arms terminate in shell-shaped bowls or "grips"; Custis family crest, the head of a wingless bird of prey above a wreath, engraved on the circular pivot hinge.








Overall: 4 1/2 in. x 2 in. (11.43 cm x 5.08 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by Mrs. Augustine Jaquelin Todd, Vice Regent for West Virginia, 1972
Conservation courtesy of the Life Guard Society of Historic Mount Vernon


Two hallmarks are stamped on the interior of each of the two bowls: 1740-1755 London sterling standard mark depicting a lion passant within a fitted shield; Robert Cox's round-cornered rectangular mark bearing the letters "R" and "C" in script.
Handwritten in black ink on the proper-right rear arm: "W-2616".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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