ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL COLLECTORS OF ANTIQUE SILVER
ASCAS
  Italiano article # 150
home
SITE MAP
next
previous
by Claudio Morelli and Giorgio Busetto
if you like this page, support ASCAS clicking on the +1 button of google    
(click on photos to enlarge image)

FIVE CENTURIES OF NEAPOLITAN SILVER MARKS

The use of the marking of silver in Naples dates back to the fourteenth century during the reign of Joanna I of Anjou. The first official documentation of this practise dates back only to 1437 and is the privilege issued to goldsmith Paolo di Roma by King Alfonso of Aragon.

Over the following centuries the Goldsmiths' Corporation became very powerful, so that the Viceroy Count of Sant'Esteban, August 19, 1690, promulgated "The Pragmatic De Monetis LVII.". This Law imposed the concentration in Naples of all activities involving the processing of precious metals and the use of 833.33/1000 fineness.
   (on the right) Portrait of Joanna of Anjou, the First Queen of Naples from 1343 to 1381  
Giovanna I Regina di Napoli dal 1343 al 1381
To ensure the quality of the metal the objects were punched with:
1) mark of silversmiths' guild
2) initials of the name and surname of the alderman with the addition of a "C"
3) initials of the master silversmith (or the full surname, especially in the 19th century).

THE GUILD OF SILVERSMITHS MARK

The Guild's mark consisted until to 1690 in the abbreviation "NAP" or "NAPL" or "NA" (the latter only from 1680) surmounted by a crown.
From 1690 to 1699 under the abbreviation of Naples have been added the last two digits of the year.
Since 1700, the date has been indicated by including the last three digits of the year. However, some exceptions are known, 1729 - 1732 - 1735, when the year was indicated in four digits.
These punches, as well as the date, differ also in the shape of the crown and remained in use until 1808.
Naples, mark  c.1437 Naples, mark c- 1465 Naples, mark used in the 16th century Naples, mark used from 1619 to 1680 c. Naples, mark used from 1680 to 1690 Naples, mark used in 1694
c. 1437
c. 1465
16th century
1619 / 1680 c.
1680 / 1690
1694
Naples, mark used in 1702 Naples, mark used in 1710 Naples, mark used in 1739 Naples, mark used in 1745 Naples, mark used in 1786 Naples, mark used in 1808
1702
1710
1739
1745
1786
1808
THE ALDERMAN MARK

The alderman used a mark with the initials of his name followed by the letter "C" (meaning "Console").
This punch was of rectangular shape until the end of the 17th century (the last was that of Marcantonio Di Benedetto elected "console" in August 1700).
Later, the punch was of various forms: square, round, oval, roughly triangular, hexagonal. In almost all cases, however, the letter "C" was on a separate line (below the initials of the "console")
Naples, mark of console Domenico Mazzola Naples, mark of console Salvo Gambardella Naples, mark of console Melchiorre Maturano Naples, mark of console Giuseppe Cangiani Naples, mark of console Aniello Simioli Naples, mark of console Nicola Della Noce
Domenico
Mazzola
c. 1588
Salvo
Gambardella
c. 1605
Melchiorre
Maturano
1653-1683
Giuseppe
Cangiani
1690
Aniello
Simioli
1713
Nicola
Della Noce
1700
Naples, mark of console G.Battista D'Aula Naples, mark of console  Domenico Antonio Guariniello Naples, mark of console Gennaro De Blasio Naples, mark of console Nicola De Blasio Naples, mark of console Aniello Guariniello Naples, mark of console Giuseppe Guariniello
G.Battista
D'Aula
1702
Domenico Antonio
Guariniello
1719
Gennaro
De Blasio
1740
Nicola
De Blasio
1750
Aniello
Guariniello
1753
Giuseppe
Guariniello
1757
THE SILVERSMITH'S MARK

The silversmith used a punch with the initials of his name and surname. The initials were on a single or on two lines inside a simple contour (often rectangular). In the 19th century, in some cases, the silversmith used a mark with his full name.
The use of marks with the illustrated symbol of the workshop, widespread in most other Italian regions, was not followed in Naples.
Andrea Blasio - 18th century Angelo De Luca - 18th century Giovanni Casolla - 19th century Gennaro Iaccarino - 19th century
Andrea Blasio
18th century
Angelo De Luca
18th century
Giovanni Casolla
19th century
Gennaro Iaccarino
19th century
THE FRENCH DOMINATION

With the Napoleonic invasion of the Kingdom of Naples the new rulers (Joseph Bonaparte, 1805 - 1808, and Joachim Murat, 1808 - 1815) fully reformed the activities related to the gold and silver manufacture.
The Guilds were abolished, any activity was liberalized, the decimal system was adopted introducing the organizational model active in France since 1797 (Law 9 Brumaire, Year VI - November 9, 1797).

The Law n. 242 of December 17, 1808 established new purity degrees for gold and silver. Two levels of fineness were admitted for silver: 917/000 and 834/000. Each piece was punched with:

warranty mark;
assayer mark;
maker's mark

The warranty mark depicts a female bust and represents the mythical siren Parthenope. Aside this mark was applied an Arabic numeral ranging from one to five. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 were used for gold, while 4 and 5 indicated respectively 917/000 and 834/000 silver fineness.
1st silver fineness mark 917/000 2nd silver fineness mark 834/000 2nd silver fineness mark 834/000
1st silver fineness
mark 917/000
2nd silver fineness
mark 834/000
This hallmarking system was maintained in use until 1823, well beyond the end of the French occupation (1815).

Other marks used during the "French" period were a "V" and an "S" (coupled with "4" or "5"). In the literature examined the use and nature of these punches is controversial.
Some authors (Ugo Donati and Donaver-Dabbene) report the "S" as the symbol used to mark the imported silver and the "V" that used for "old" silver. In contrast, Elio and Corrado Catello do not mention the hallmarking of foreign silver and attribute the mark "S" to "old" silver.


FROM THE "KINGDOM OF THE TWO SICILIES" TO THE "KINGDOM OF ITALY"

1824-1832
Following the presence of numerous false dies, King Ferdinand I, on December 15, 1823 (decree No 881), introduced new marks for precious metal and abolished those in use since the French domination.
The new mark depicted the head of Parthenope guardant towards right with aside the number indicating the fineness or the "E" (Estero) for imported silver. The silver fineness was represented by the Arabic numerals:

7 for 916/000 or 11 ounces
8 for 833/000 or 10 ounces
1st silver fineness mark 917/000 2nd silver fineness mark 834/000 mark for imported silver
1st silver fineness
mark 917/000
2nd silver fineness
mark 834/000
mark for
imported silver
1832-1872
With Decree No 723, January 26, 1832, to further differentiate the domestic from foreign production, the marks were modified adding to the profile of Parthenope the letter "N" for domestic ("Nostrale") or the letter "E" for foreign silver ("Estero").
Domestic silver 917/000 Domestic silver 834/000 Foreign silver 917/000 Foreign silver 834/000
Domestic silver
917/000
Domestic silver
834/000
Foreign silver
917/000
Foreign silver
834/000
1839-1872
With Decree No 5207 March 4, 1839 was introduced a special mark for worship objects dedicated to the religious service. This mark used the symbol of the "Cross" instead of the female profile.
Religious silve 917/000 Religious silve 834/000
Religious silver
fineness 917/000
Religious silver
fineness 834/000
Naples became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, but maintained its previous hallmarking system until 1872.

The law May 2, 1872 issued by Vittorio Emanuele II King of Italy liberalized the production of precious metals. Only an optional and voluntary control was provided for the verification of silver fineness.
Punzone I titolo 950/000 Punzone II titolo 900/000 Punzone III titolo 800/000
1st silver
fineness
950/000
2nd silver
fineness
900/000
3rd silver
fineness
800/000

NAPLES: BRIEF HISTORICAL CRONOLOGY

The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282.
Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of Naples to distinguish it from the island-based polity. During much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Aragon's/Spanish dynasties.
In 1806, following decisive victories over the allied armies at Austerlitz and over the Neapolitans at Campo Tenese, Napoleon installed his brother, Joseph as King of Naples. When Joseph was sent off to Spain two years later, he was replaced by Napoleon's sister Caroline and his brother-in-law Marshal Joachim Murat, as King of the Two Sicilies.
In 1816, after the defeat of Napoleon, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon was restored to the throne of Naples merging with island-based Kingdom of Sicily to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
In 1860 Naples and the territories of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
(based on information by Wikipedia.org)


Claudio Morelli and Giorgio Busetto
- 2011 -