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Arion Grand Masquerade Ball

Masquerade Ball Ticket

  • Front and back of ticket number 1397
  • Arion Society Grand Masquerade Ball
  • At Metropolitan Opera House
  • 21 February 1888
  • 121 x 191mm (4¾ x 7½in)
  • Printed by L E Neuman & Co. Lith, New York

The Arion Society was a successful, wealthy, respected and admired Society that sponsored the Arion Ball in 1888 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Their aim was to actively encourage the appreciation of German music, song and culture in the United States through concerts and song festivals. The front of the ticket bears a unique number and shows the Prince of Carnival dancing with two female figures.

Arion was an ancient Greek poet and musician who is considered the mythical founder of choral singing. The fantastical story of Arion recounts how the world's greatest lyre player having amassed a fortune on his travels to Italy and Sicily was robbed by the crew of the ship taking him back to his home in Corinth. He escaped by throwing himself overboard into the sea below, but escaped an almost certain death by drowning, when a group of dolphins surfaced and carried him to the safety of the shore.

Arion Grand Masquerade Ball

The reverse of this beautifully illustrated ticket, richly printed by chromolithography, shows a figure depicting Arion holding a lyre at the head of a group of dolphins framed by two colourful carnival characters, while bottles of champagne symbolise ultimate cultural refinement, elegance and indulgence.


This regular feature shows special items from members’ own collections. Submissions by email should include a scan of the item.