2012 ASCAS membership
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Andrea Menarini presents:
Solid silver or silverplate?
Argento o silver plate?
Solid silver object usually bear hallmarks to testify
the silver fineness of the metal. In most cases, also
silverplate items, besides the manufacturer's trademark,
present well known abbreviations or names to distinguish
the metal used in the plating process (EPNS, EPBM, Métal
Blanc, Alpaka, etc.).
This is the norm, but what to do when we find a piece
unmarked or with a "fantasy" or unknown mark? How to
distinguish solid silver from silver silverplate?
Silverplate is the term commonly used to identify an
object made of base metal (white metal, bronze, copper,
etc.) on which a thin layer of silver was transferred by
a process of electro deposition. The silver coat is
extremely thin and rarely exceeds 50 microns (5
hundredths of a millimetre)......
Welcome to new ASCAS members:
Jill Prasnicki - USA
Keith Scott - England UK
Simone Spinozzi - Italy
Douglas Wilson - England UK
Members' Window # 92
Joanne and Emmett Eldred
Our Collecting Guidelines (5): Condition
Condition is a very important factor for us. For example
the hallmarks should be clearly defined, leaving no
doubt as to what they are, and as we have already
mentioned, the condition of the engraving should be 7 or
better. However it is important to remember that teapots
and stands were meant to be used and therefore should
show some signs of age. Minor scratches and slight dings
are likely to be expected and attest to the set's every
day use. Typically major damage to the teapot can take
several forms, which include ......
Jurij Kastorsky writes:
...I have a teapot marked B. Ivers & Co. I research information
about its origin and maker. I'd wish also to know if the metal
is sterling silver or silver plated.
I believe that B.Ivers & Co is an US maker, early 20th
century, but I was unable to find detailed information about it.
I do not know if your item is sterling silver or silverplate.
Any suggestion will be appreciated
Tony Absolom writes:
... Recently I came into possession of some silver plate. It
consists of a Tea pot, plus warmer, a coffee pot, milk jug and
The hallmarks seem to indicate that they were manufactured in
1868 by Elkingtons.
I would be grateful if someone could indicate the origin and
meaning of the crest (as shown on photo). It is a Fleur de Lys
with the words "Pax aut Defensio" in a banner above the crest.
There are also the letters A 16640 on all the pieces, at the
back with the hallmarks.
I assume this either stands for the pattern or perhaps the
Could anybody enlighten me please.
I found that the motto Pax aut Defensio (Peace or
defense) was used also by Landale family (Scotland). But, its
crest, described as "a dexter arm, embowed, hand holding up two
branches of laurel, in orle", do not correspond to that in your
The date letter on the mark is not well readable, but I believe
that it corresponds to 1886 (see my web site at
John Eiring writes:
....I am trying to identify the marks on two silver spoons. I
think they were made by William Pugh in Birmingham but I can't
match the marks to anything I can find.
Any help would be appreciated.
Simon Buxton writes:
....I wonder whether you or one of your members can assist in
identifying the maker of an Old Sheffield Plate chamberstick?
The marks, a menorah with the letters S.M below, are rather like
those of Barker-Ellis in the early 20thC, but the method of
manufacture is not electroplate and would date to 1825-1850.
The base is typical Old Sheffield plate with silver mounts, but
the stem, sconce (also with silver mount) and handle now appear
brass or copper and I think would have originally been "French
plated", a technique of applying layers of thin silver foil for
plating small items but resulting in a surface that was very
prone to wear and has now worn away. Those parts might also have
been very early electroplated before assembly, but unlikely.
I don't think it is English but more likely French or European,
but I have been unable to trace anything on the net or in my
reference books, apart from Barker-Ellis.
In my opinion the mark is similar to that used by Barker
Brothers since November 1912 (Ellis was purchased in 1931).
Maria Entrup-Henemann writes:
... Concerning the tray of Enzo Vanarelli: The swan could be
the city mark of Zwickau (Germany)
Christophe Ginter writes:
...Regarding Maria Bigliani's request, the item shows (very
poor) imitations of French Parisian hallmarks used during the
These marks do not pass a very simple exam, i.e. French ancient
marks were never struck (punched) side by side on the same line.
These are "fantasy" or "apocryphal" marks that were made on
demand in Hanau, or in some English or Italian cities during the
fall of the 19th century or early 20th one. Hence a possible
Pierre Strobbe writes:
... The "crest is only a crown of a Belgian baron plus his
In this column we present a page obtained from makers'
brochures, books, auction catalogs, advertising or whatever
other printed paper, related to silver, that may be of interest
for ASCAS members.
The images will be published at a "low resolution" level and for
private and personal use only
This month ASCAS presents a " MEMORANDUM" accompanying a pocket
watch manufactured by
"A WORD per MONTH"
The practice of inhaling powdered tobacco became
common in Europe in the 17th century and universally
among both sexes throughout the 18th.
It continued in the 19th century and have still many
The result is a plethora of snuff boxes to suit pockets
of all depths available for modern collectors.
The more common snuff box used to hold pulverized
tobacco consists of a small container with a hinged
"A SILVERSMITH per MONTH"
JOSIAH WILLIAMS & CO LTD
The firm was the largest
manufacturing silversmiths in England outside London,
Birmingham and Sheffield. The activity was established
in Bristol by William Woodman at the beginning of the
19th century (pieces with his mark date from c. 1818 to
The business was succeeded by Robert Williams (marks c.
1832-1854). In c. 1845 James Williams took in
partnership his two sons James and Josiah Williams,
trading as Robert Williams & Sons until his retirement
In 1855 the firm, listed as James & Josiah Wiliams, was
active at 14 Small Street, Bristol as manufacturers of
silver and electroplated goods.....
"A BOOK ON MY SHELF"
In this column we present books, new
or ancient, dealing with silver in all its aspects (history,
marks, oddities...). This isn't a "book review" but only a fair
presentation of some useful "tools" that anyone may have in the
shelf of his bookcase.
ASCAS members are invited to contribute to this column
(click to enlarge images)
In the "book on my shelf" of this month ASCAS presents:
1970 - 1995
The Work of The Silversmith's Studio
the Catalog published for the exhibition held
from October 1995 to April 1996
at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Electa, Milan - Elemond Editori Associati
- 1995 -
(from the introduction of Marco Bona
Castellotti): In their assays in this catalogue,
Eric Turner and Angela Vattese have managed to
brilliantly describe San Lorenzo's output in the
contact of the tradition that, from the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries onward has given silverware
a leading among domestic furnishing.
In particular, Turner dwells on the close
relationship - in some cases like the one on which
the splendid exhibition at the Victoria and Albert
Museum focuses - between the handcrafted objects and
object d'art, when the initial distinction between
them is annulled by the principle of quality.
When the quality of an object is extremely high,
this become a sort of deterrent to its use. But if I
had to specify the fundamental character of San
Lorenzo's output, I would certainly define it as
being the conscious capacity to reconcile adherence
to high aesthetic standard with a functionalist
"A CREST per MONTH"
In this column we present images and
descriptions of Crests and Mottoes of British, Irish and
Scottish families as engraved on silver items.
The crest description is "
from behind a a mount, vert, thereon a branch of
alder, the sun rising".
The crest was found on three "Old English Feather Edge"
tablespoons hallmarked London, 1805, by Thomas Wallis II
(Free 3 Feb 1779; died 10 Jun 1836.)
courtesy Charles C. Cage
January 2012 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have
appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.
My thanks to Tony Absolom, Simon Buxton, Charles C. Cage, John
Eiring, Joanne and Emmett Eldred, Maria Entrup-Henemann,
Christophe Ginter, Jurij Kastorsky, Andrea Menarini and Pierre
Strobbe for their invaluable contributions.
ASCAS is a community of people having a common
interest in antique silver.
It is a non-profit association without commercial links.
Membership is open to whomever has a true interest in
this subject matter.
ASCAS has no real property and no fees are requested nor
accepted from members.
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and ignores and is not responsible for any other
activity pursued by its members.
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published or supplied for publication, by its members
who, in any case, maintain the property of their works
and assure the respect of national and international
legislation about Intellectual Property.
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