(click on photos to enlarge image)
AN IMITATION OF LOUIS XV HALLMARKS
In this page I analyze the hallmarks of a silver sweetmeat
dish decorated with rich embossing of cherubs and floral motifs,
apparently marked with French 18th century hallmarks.
Hallmarks on the sweetmeat dish
If these marks were genuine, they represent (from left to
- a "poinçon de Charge" (A stylized, crowned): mark used
in Paris from 1756 to 1762;
- a "poinçon de garantie or Jurande" (V crowned): mark
used in Paris from July 1760 to July 1761;
- the "poinçon de l'orfèvre" (maker's mark) Joseph
Catherine Varlet, master silversmith active in Saint-Germain en
Laye from 1745 until 1784 (initials JCV, crowned "fleur de lys"
and a funnel between J and C); - a "poinçon de Décharge"
(coquille = shell) used in Paris from 1756 to 1762.
Various details support the assertion that these aren't
(1) On the "poinçon de Charge" (A stylized, crowned)
Here below are illustrated the reproduction of the authentic
mark (left) next to the fake mark obtained from the image above
(center) and the photo of an authentic mark (right).
poinçon de Charge:
poinçon de Charge: fake
poinçon de Charge:
If you carefully observe the left leg of "A" you can note
two small branches (scrolls) almost side by side. The fake mark
bears only one branch, while the second is placed below, almost
at the foot of the leg.
The counterfeiter also ignores what is above the crown. On the
fake mark the crown has on the top what looks to be a minute or
small dot, while, in the authentic mark, the top of the crown
bears a little "fleur de lys" (often worn but, anyway, of
Finally, the fake mark has sharp and thin legs on the "A".
(2) On the "poinçon de Jurande" (warranty
mark) (note 2)
On the fake mark the crown is too small. In addition,
the bars are too enlarged (on the authentic mark the
bars are closer, so that punching often obtains a
result looking as holes between the bars).
Finally, the letter "V" on the authentic punch is
(right) authentic "poinçon de Jurande", Paris
1760-1761 (crowned "V")