Roosevelt African Safari Stein by Ravi Patel
to my interest in collecting steins with elephant themes, I was
fascinated by the steins depicting Teddy Roosevelt on an elephant.
Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an
American statesman, author, soldier, reformer, naturalist, and
explorer, who served as the 26th President of the United States from
1901 to 1909.
In March 1909, shortly after the end of his second term, Roosevelt left
New York for a safari in Africa. Sponsored by the Smithsonian
Institution and the National Geographic Society, the trip received
worldwide media attention.
His party, which included scientists from the Smithsonian, killed or
trapped over 11,397 specimens, from insects and moles to hippopotamuses
and elephants. The Smithsonian was able to share many duplicate animals
with other museums. Interacting with many native peoples, local
leaders, renowned professional hunters, and land owning families made
the safari much more of a social than a hunting excursion. A detailed
account of this adventure - “African Game Trails” - describes the
excitement of the chase, the people he met, and flora and fauna he
collected in the name of science.
The commemorative ceramic stein (circa 1910) memorializes his safari in
an artistic manner. With a tapered form, it depicts Roosevelt riding
atop an elephant and repelling a lion's attack. The handle is made up
of a lioness climbing tree branches; a regal lion finial; and the thumb
press is aged pewter in a beautiful scroll leaf pattern – which rests
perfectly atop the head of the lioness on the handle.
The relief stein shown here is 1-1/2 liters and in full color. The
bottom is stamped “Germany” and measurements are approximately 12-3/4”
tall (to the top of the lion head finial), 4-3/4” across the base, 15”
circumference at the bottom of the handle, 3-1/8” across the mouth and
has an inside depth of about 10”. There are several other similar
themed steins and mugs with varying sizes and colors.
The wording on the stein (which loosely translated in a poetic rather
than literal sense) reads – around the bottom: “By day and by night,
the hunter watches”; under the male lion: “Roar is the lion’s roar when
the waiter forgets your beer to pour”; under the lioness and cubs:
“Calm blood and clear eyes are necessary for hunting.”