The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection


George Washington White House china plate


George Washington - (1732 - 1799) - Rare 9 5/8" - Chinese Export Porcelain Plate - (circa 1786 ) - Official White House China example - one shown of a pair of such 9 5/8" dinner plates in near perfect condition - Both from The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection. Note: The Amyx Collection is indebted to Ms. Becky MacGuire, perhaps America's most acclaimed authority on early Chinese Porcelain, for mentoring as well as rendering valuable historic insight. The rare historic Washington Porcelain, illustrated above, was owned and used by President George Washington, within three of his Presidential residences - New York City, Philadelphia and Mount Vernon.

Description of above is detailed in brief: All Presidential porcelain painted by skilled Chinese artists in 1786. Note: There are no circa 1786 pieces of the original set that feature any markings on the verso whatsover. George Washington's China features a hovering angel blowing her trumpet, suspending the Eagle emblem of the Society of the Cincinnati, within an impressive, molded scalloped rim decorated in an elegant under-glaze blue.


Color image of Mount Vernon circa 1790

Mount Vernon - Circa 1786 - The coveted Washington Service, "Society of Cincinnati", arrived here - prior to being in use by President Washington in New York and Philadelphia

The story of Roman aristocrat, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519-430 BC) the selfless farmer turned soldier, in defense of his beloved Rome, stirred the imagination of General Henry J. Knox (1750–1806) and his colleagues, to include General George Washington, and led them to organize the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783. This was to be a fraternal hereditary order of French and American officers who fought off and on together, for eight years, during The American Revolution. The Society of Cincinnati remains active to this very day - with it's own National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Although some Americans opposed an organization that might be viewed as elitist, others, like George Washington, thought it important to recognize those officers who helped win American independence. “His greatest pride now,” wrote a visitor to Mount Vernon in 1785, “is to be thought the first farmer in America. He (Washington) is quite a Cincinnatus, and often works with his men himself."

The Society of Cincinnati was organized in May 1783, with George Washington as President and General Henry Knox (1750-1806) as Secretary General. During the first meeting members chose the now-familiar design, although this artistic design had heavy imput from the well known Pierre L. 'Enfant (1754-1825) . The elements for the badge/emblem, including the American bald eagle - used in various forms by Revolutionary War Officers. Specifically, the badge/emblem was used by General Washington as the center motif of General Washington's Presidential China is the Society of Cincinnati, as featured above.

Earlier, Major Samuel Shaw, (1754–1794) a gallant Revolutionary War officer and an aide-de-camp to General Henry Knox, and a member of the Society of Cincinnati had set out, in 1785, from China on the "Empress of China". This was to be the first ship to enter the American China trade. And it was Samuel Shaw who was determined to make direct contact with China. Shaw set his sights on opening up China trade and locating a trusted source for the production of impressive Chinese Export, suitable for former officer's of the Revolutionary War. Samuel Shaw was later appointed, by President George Washington to become America's first Counsel to China.


George Washington's impressive Cincinnati service, (Perhaps the Holy Grail of Presidential Porcelain collecting), with the single Angel of Fame bearing the society emblem, on a blue ribbon and proclaiming its importance, was the result of Major Samuel Shaw's first efforts to obtain china related to the Society.

Washington's service is bordered with the butterfly version of the chinese export pattern, under blue glaze. The remaining pieces of this Washington service are perhaps the most historically important of the early Chinese porcelains made for the American trade. This historic Washington Porcelain was used by President George Washington, for Official State entertaining, in at least three Presidential residences - New York, Philadelphia and then back to Mount Vernon.

George Washington, a man who did not attend college, was blessed with supreme attributes. Washington, as a leader, rose steadily and even his more highly educated contemporaries seemed to perceive that they were serving with a man possessing greatness in abundance.

George Washington portrait with sword


A portrait of 'Light Horse Harry' Lee

Colonel "Light Horse" Harry Lee, (1756-1818), a man of some wealth, and also Father of Robert E. Lee, gifted, in 1786, the famed Presidential "Society of Cincinnati Service" to his commanding Revolutionary War General George Washington

Although later, differently designed motif "Cincinnati sets" were made to Samuel Shaw's order for other officer's that served in the Revolutionary War. But the historic service that was to become General Washington's arrived in his hands under less auspicious circumstances.

Washington had been searching for "Cincinnati China", for more than two years when his friend, Colonel Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee (1756–1818) reported in July 1786 on a set available in New York City.

In August, " Light-Horse Harry" Lee (1756-1818) purchased, for George Washington, a “Set of Cincinnati China", containing an Official Service of the original George Washington's 1786 - 302 Society of Cincinnati pieces. Today, merely a few of the above rare Washington pieces of porcelain survive and remain in advanced private collections and/or private institutions.

This historic porcelain, today known as, "Official White House China", arrived at Mount Vernon in September of 1786. And due to the fact that President and Mrs. Washington did use this exact china service for Official functions as the President of The United States, the exact illustrated above pattern is featured in important official Presidential China books, such as those authored by Margaret Brown Klapthor's and Robert L McNeil, Jr.', and as such is approved by the Curator's White House office, which also has a few impressive examples within the Executive Mansion Collection.

George Washington's "Official White House China", Cincinnati Service, was passed on by Mrs. Martha Washington, after her own death, to her Grandson, George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857). The famed service was then used at what was to become the Confederate General Robert E. Lee's (1807-1970) - Arlington House - which is now a part of the Arlington National Cemetery.

Following the Civil War, the official George Washington 1786 china that remained in the government's possession, (after severe breakage, damage and pilfering during removal from the Robert E. Lee's Arlington House by Civil War Union troops), was finally released by order of President William McKinley. The President ordered the return of the George Washington famed service to Mary Custis Lee, the daughter of General Robert E. Lee, and Mary Anna Randolph Custis (1808-1873). There is also evidence that some pieces were given away as gifts by descendants of First Lady Martha Washington.

Washington and horse


A gifted man. Among other attributes, Washington was a horseman, farmer, totally fearless military leader, Statesmen, friend, husband, father and consumate political leader.

Robert E Lee's Arlington house
The well known Washington Service made it's last stop at the Custis-Lee Mansion - "Arlington House", where it was to remain until Union Troops ravaged the Lee home, looted and/or destroyed it's contents - George Washington's China included - In 1897, President William McKinley, by Executive Order, returned to the Lee family contents still in possession of the U.S.A.

In 1928, Henry Francis du Pont acquired more than sixty porcelain pieces, remaining in the possession of the descendants of Mary Custis Lee (1835-1918). All of the sixty pieces are now preserved within Institutions. Most other rare examples from the Official, and iconic Washington "Society of Cincinnati Service", are a part of very few advanced Presidential and/or Americana presentations - such as the well known Collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx.

Raleigh DeGeer Amyx in library
The George Washington 1786 piece illustrated and described above, one of two such rare "Society of Cincinnati" plates, is in the well-known collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx.

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ATTENTION: Would be pleased to purchase Presidential China from Collectors, Former Lenox, Castleton, Tiffany, Shenango, Wedgwood, Pickard and White House Employees

My name is Raleigh DeGeer Amyx. Currently I possess the most prolific American Presidential China collection in America. However, it is always in the forefront of my mind to keep improving the quality and quantity of this White House China collection.

If you happen to have several examples of Presidential China that are either duplicates, or have less appeal to you today than they once did, then feel free to contact me immediately using the contact form or phone number below - I would be very interested in buying your sample Presidential pieces. With the above in mind, please know that all contacts from you to me are to remain totally confidential in nature. You will find me a fair man.

Please feel free to review the current Presidential China pieces in The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection on this website. However, I have multiple floor-to-near-ceiling lighted and mirrored cases awaiting additional and/or duplicate Official White House China examples to include along with existing highlights.



Mr. Amyx is always looking for new and interesting additions to this portion of the collection, via trade and/or purchase. Also, some items may be available for purchase.
In addition, be sure to take a moment and go to eBay seller's site RDA38
for current eBay listings.

The Collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx is protected by a State-of-the-Art Security System including Sound and Video; as well as Infrared recordings of all visitors. A select few items, illustrated on this website, are not now and were never a part of The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection. Certain portions of this vast Collection, including all Provenance, is securely housed at a secured remote location.

Please note that ALL PHOTOGRAPHS are Digitally Encrypted with an Official Watermark and are Copyrighted by The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection unless otherwise noted.