ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver        newsletter # 83 April 2011     SITE MAP
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This month I am pleased to celebrate a double anniversary, the 7th year of activity of ASCAS and the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification
Giorgio Busetto
150th Anniversary of Italian Unification

A new article for ASCAS website

Paris Bigorne in use from 1938
Robert Massart presents:

The Bigorne mark on French silver  English version
L'argent massif en France et le poinçon de bigorne  version française
.....In order to prevent and detect fraud of hallmarked silver articles, French authorities instituted, by Ordinance of 1st July 1818, a system of countermarks on the opposite side of the guarantee mark. These countermarks are known as "bigornes".
The term bigorne literally means two-horned anvil or two-beaked anvil and refers to the shape of the projecting ends of the anvil. Each anvil has two striking areas, one flat and one of rounded shape. The rounded horn served to mark hollowware and the flat horn was used to mark flatware....

click here English version
     click here version française

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Andrea De Vita - Italy
Marco Di Bonaventura - Switzerland
Susan Brüll - Argentina
Laure Dorchy - Belgium
Emmett Eldred - USA
Mary Ann Fraser Sawant - USA
Edward Gryg - Australia
Carin Huizinga - Australia
Justin Jones - USA
Caroline Mergalet - France
Pierre Moullard - France
Delia Munoz - USA
Anita Payne - Australia
Lou-Ann Raimo - USA
Michel Sage - France
Bob Stewart - USA
Pete Summers - England UK
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Members' Window # 83

London and Stettin silver casters
Maria Entrup-Henemann presents:

Life History of a Small Caster... or ... Just a Fairytale English version

Once upon a time there was a little caster (10,5 cm, 65 g) made in 1718 by the London silversmith Charles Adam.
His silver purity was 958/1000, in Britannia standard, which had to be used those times (1696 - 1720) to limit the clipping and melting of sterling silver (925/1000) coinage.
The London Goldsmiths did not like this material. They thought it was a disadvantage their competition with the Huguenot immigrants, who were used to working with this softer material, because the silver standard in France was 950/1000.....
click here
 English version 

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Piero Eduardo writes:
... Dear George,
another lucky find! An old pipe Axfin (a mark completely unknown to me!) with pure amber mouthpiece. I need your help to identify the maker of the silver mount (mark WH WH, without frame, Chester Assay Office 1912). This maker is not quoted in your site and I think you can possibly add this mark as "unidentified".
Thank you in advance for your help.
I do not find any WH over WH mark entered in Chester Assay Office. I believe that, in this case, we are in presence of a double struck of the mark W.H. If this hypothesis is correct, the maker would be William Harrison (many addresses in London) who entered very similar marks in Chester between 1907 and 1912.
William Harrison is quoted as "silversmith" in Chester register, but one of his marks was presented to registration by Imperial Tobacco Co. The mark WH is illustrated in my web site at
Giorgio Busetto Jong writes:
... I have a silver item from the 18th century but I do not know what the marks mean.
Would you be so kind to tell me the meaning of these hallmarks?
I hope you can help me Jong
The mark is not 18th century, but Hanau (Germany) end 19th century. The maker is, possibly, Wolf & Knell, founded 1887.
Giorgio Busetto

Karen A. Lottie writes:
... Perhaps you can steer me to a resource (possibly yours with more instruction) which can tell me more about this hallmark on a teaspoon distinctly marked 1837.
Thank you.
Karen A. Lottie

Claudio Morelli writes:
... Caro Giorgio, another question for you and our friends of ASCAS.
I'm unable to identify the marks on this tray and salt cellars.
The dimensions of the tray are 19 x 13 cm with a weight of 390 grams.
Thanks for your help.

Philippe d'Arschot writes:
... I send you a question for the next newsletter:
I have found a very unusual silver object. Maybe it could be a counter for an old card game, but I will be happy to have other opinions.
Dimensions: 9 x 6 cm
4 small feet on the reverse
All the small plates on the sides can be raised or lowered
Best regards.
Philippe d'Arschot

Replies to questions

John Alejandro receives these answers about his silver pyx 
(see March 2011 Newsletter)
Werner Lack writes:
... The shown mark is from former Tschechoslovakia, in use since Jan. 1st 1929 - for silver content 800 (Tardy p. 399)
Kind regards
Adam Goldsmith writes:
... The triangular mark with the ‘5’ in it on John Alexandro’s pyx and paten is the Czechoslovakian 800 purity mark used between 1929 and 1940. Hope this helps.
Adam Goldsmith
David Nikogosyan writes:
... The image inside the triangle relates to the famous cross of Slovakia (see for example Slovak eurocoins). Therefore, my suggestion that these marks are related to the first Slovak state (1939-1945).
See attached is the scan of 2-euro Slovakian coin.
David Nikogosyan
Slovakian 2 Euros coin
Karin Sixl-Daniell writes:
...the item originated in the Czechoslovakia as it bears the Czechoslovakian hallmark denoting 800 fineness used from 1929 onwards (I am not sure how long this mark was used for, if I am not wrong it was until 1942). Unfortunately, I am unable to shed more light on the maker.
Maja Houtman and Janjaap Luijt write:
...John Alejandro asked about the mark with the hill, cross and five in a triangle. It is struck in Czechoslovakia between 1 January 1929 and 30 January 1942. It stands for 800/1000 silver
Met vriendelijke groet,
Maja Houtman and Janjaap Luijt

Piero Eduardo receives this answer about his pipe with silver mounts 
(see March 2011 Newsletter)
Les Salvage writes:
... I contacted Birmingham Assay office about Piero Eduardo's pipe and received this information today.
The 'LA' Sponsor Mark on the pipe belonged to Louis Adler, a merchant from London, first registered the mark in 1897, the mark on the pipe is from 1905'.
Best Regards,
Les Salvage

Joy Aumiller receives this answers about her silver bottle 
(see March 2011 Newsletter)
Chitra Balasubramaniam writes:
... I write about the object presented by Joy Aumiller - I think is a surma dani - or Kohl liner. The black powder inside it might by Kohl used to line the eyes with.
Itar dhan (essential oil based perfumes) or Perfume holders are also shaped like this. But if it has black powders it could be surma dani (surma meaning kohl for the eyes) and dan or dani meaning container. It is used extensively in the Middle East, Egypt....
The little pointed stick is what the kohl is lined with. Kohl is also made by traditional methods, at home in many parts.
Warm Regards
Luis Castelo Lopes writes:
... Your small bottle is a 'makhala' or a 'kohl' container, and these were/are used by ladies to "paintquot; the make-up around the eyes (or eyeliner), in a number of Arab countries. Kohl is the black powder used as eye paint.
I have found a similar piece in a market in Cairo this January. They are made either of silver or plated metal. The models are always very similar. As I can not see a clear enough photo of the marks I can not help you with that. As for the date of the piece, as far as I know the model has been the same for the last 200 years at least.
I hope this is of some help.
Best regards
Luis Castelo Lopes
Maja Houtman writes:
... Joy Aumiller has this bottle, I think it might be a bottle for kohl, the black powder women (used to) put around their eyes in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The design of the finial and (maybe) Arabic letters on it make me think this way.
met vriendelijke groet,
Maja Houtman

David March receives this answers about his German beaker and its crest 
(see March 2011 Newsletter)
Pierre Strobbe writes:
... The arms are those of the family Wostrowsky von Skalda und Witzab. Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia:
"De gueules à deux poissons d'argent l'un sur l'autre .
cimier: un poisson d'argent en pal, la tête en bas".
(two silver fish on a red background)
This piece has a hallmark from Germany
Karin Sixl-Daniell writes:
... In response to David March's German beaker, here is some information about the maker's mark:
it refers to Behnisch & Co, Berlin. I have no information on the coat of arms as of yet.


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
an 1895 advertisement of Whiting MFG Co
This month ASCAS presents an 1895 advertisement of
Broadway & 18th St.,


In this column we present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary" 
courtesy of home page leave your LIKE on facebook
Hanoverian Shell Back pattern silver spoon


The "Hanoverian" is the most important British flatware pattern in the 18th century. In this pattern the stem widens gradually toward the curved terminal and then turns upward.
This form was adopted because the spoon was lad on the table in the French manner (the bottom of the bowl downward).... more



In this column we present marks, information and history of silversmiths and silver manufacturers.
This column is published under the kind permission of Giorgio Busetto's website home page leave your LIKE on facebook


The business traces its origin to Fenton, Creswick & Co, a partnership involving Matthew Fenton (an apprentice of Thomas Law), Richard Creswick and William Watson. They were active as silversmiths and Sheffield platers and were among the first to enter their mark at the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773.
In 1789 Fenton left the firm and was replaced by Edward Oakes. The firm changed its style to Fenton, Creswick, Oakes & Co. In 1795 the partnership was dissolved and the business was continued under the style of Watson & Co under the partnership of Thomas Watson, James Fenton and Thomas Bradbury I (a former apprentice of the firm)....


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 Karin Sixl-Daniell presents:
a book per month: Collecting American 19th Century Silver
by Katharine Morrison McClinton
Bonanza Books
The field of American 19th century silver is a veritable collectors' paradise: the supply is plentiful and the variety extensive, from elaborate tea and coffee services of many pieces down to thimbles and book marks. there is something for everyone, no matter what his taste or pocketbook.
This book give the collectors a survey of the century's varied styles which included:
Federal and Empire (1800-1840)
Rococo (1840-1850)
Renaissance Revival (1850-1870)
Eclecticism (1870-1900)
Art Nouveau (1895-1910)

The early pieces, like those of the preceding century, were hand crafted and not as plentiful. With the opening of American mines, the development of machine techniques and invention of electro-plating, production was greatly increased and silver became such an important item in 19th century life that the number of articles manufactured far exceeded what is made and used today.


In this column we present images and descriptions of Crests and Mottoes of British, Irish and Scottish families as engraved on silver items.


hip flask with crest

English, Irish (Cahill) and Scottish (Scrimzeor, Scrymzeor, Wadderburn) families.
A lion’s paw grasping a scimitar

The crest was found on a sterling silver hip flask hallmarked Sheffield 1898, maker (possibly) William Fairbairns & Sons, 65 St. Mary Axe, London

hip flask with crest hip flask with crest

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Closing our April 2011 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advices will be of great help.

My thanks to Chitra Balasubramaniam, Philippe d'Arschot, Jong, Jayne Dye, Piero Eduardo, Maria Entrup-Henemann, Adam Goldsmith, Maja Houtman, Werner Lack, Luis Castelo Lopes, Karen A. Lottie, Robert Massart, Claudio Morelli, Prof. David N. Nikogosyan, Les Salvage, Karin Sixl-Daniell and Pierre Strobbe for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
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.
ASCAS keeps in touch with its members only through periodical newsletters, e-mails and web-site updating and ignores and is not responsible for any other activity pursued by its members.
Likewise, ASCAS is not responsible for opinions, evaluation and images displayed, and in any form 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.
ASCAS does not have the full addresses of its members (only town, country and e-mail address are requested for membership).
ASCAS handles and protects with care its members' e-mail addresses, will not disclose the addresses to third parties, will use this information only to reply to requests received from members and for communications strictly related to its activity.
These rules are expressly accepted by submitting the membership request.
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