ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver        newsletter # 71 APRIL 2010     SITE MAP
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This month ASCAS celebrates its sixth anniversary. A happy ocurrence with a little regret.
For the first time in its existence, ASCAS newsletter is published without its monthly column "MEMBERS' WINDOW".
The reason of this absence is obvious: the "store" of material suitable for publication in this column is empty and no new article was proposed this month by ASCAS members.
In the past, in similar occurrences, I wrote something suitable for publication in this column.
This month I did not as I would prefer that this continues to be the ASCAS Newsletter and not Giorgio Newsletter. I realize that the newsletter and its columns are already overcrowded and abundantly supplied with my writings (answers to questions, "a book on my shelf", "a word per month", "a page per month", "a silversmith per month", "a crest per month", etc. and other external contributions are desirable and necessary.
My appeal for aid is to the mass of potential authors who could contribute to the ASCAS newsletter writing about their small or large collection and sharing with others (anonymously if necessary) their knowledge, their passion and their researches.
My thanks to Christophe, David, Dorothea, Jayne, Giovanni, Lazar, Piero, Postnikov, Robert... and to the many other authors, not listed here, who were also an indispensable support to my work. I am proud to affirm, that they have made a decisive contribution to the ASCAS success in these six years.
Happy birthday ASCAS.
Giorgio Busetto

A new article for ASCAS website

Russian matchbox holder: maker Rukawischnikov
"Postnikov" presents:

Russian Matchbox Holders English version

.....There were several important centers of gold and silver work in Russia but I will focus mainly on Moscow (Moscow work tended to consist of traditional Russian design) and St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg silversmiths developed a new style that had a western orientation yet retained Russian characteristics).
From about 1830 until 1917, Russian aristocrats favoured English design (especially in match safes) and Russian silver work showed evidence of that liking. The idea of combining European art with Russian technical genius produced great pieces. What was en vogue in European countries was adopted at once but altered in the Russian way: larger dimensions, a high level of workmanship, and more expensive than the European models they were inspired by......

click here English version

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Joel Abramowitz - USA
Kathleen White Koehrsen - USA
Marwan Khoury - Lebanon
Irving J. Meyerson - USA
Fred Newman - England UK
Alan Shearman - England UK
Hope Stubbs - Canada
Jennifer Stubbs - Canada
top page - page map

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Piero Eduardo writes:
...I need information about this pipe bearing two silver hallmarks:
Assay Office Birmingham 1908, L & A.O into a oval - Louis ORLIK Alfred ORLIK trading as L&A ORLIK - London
and another: W.H , possibly William Hannay, Glasgow 19th c./1st half or W.H into an oval, possibly W M Hayes, end 19th c./beginning 20th c.
I'm wondering why there are two different hallmarks and different date letters?
Your help will be greatly appreciated
Piero Eduardo
The W.H mark belongs to William Harrison, London, but his marks were entered by Imperial Tobacco Co. In my opinion the pipe was mounted by (or in the interest of) Imperial Tobacco Co using silver mounting supplied by specialized manufacturers.
Obviously, this is only a hypothesis and your question needs an answer by someone with a deeper knowledge of pipes.
Giorgio Busetto

Tom Baronas writes:
...I have a silver casket and I'm unable to identify the master mark and year of manufacture. Its weight is 400 gr. and measures 15x12x9 cm.
Can you help me?
Tom Baronas
The casket is marked 12 Lot, corresponding to silver fineness 750/1000. Lot was used in German areas before c.1890 but I'm unable to identify the maker.
Any suggestion will be appreciated
Giorgio Busetto

Shirley Nesbitt writes:
...I am so interested in tracking down a Silversmith & Retailer JAMES WEIR and find out when he operated.
I believe he was a Glasgow Silversmith and Retailer.
I have a Silverplated Toastrack in the shape of a stylised leaf (looks rather 'Arts and craft' style) .... I am assuming it is not silver as I cannot find a Hallmark on it, although it looks like 'silver' quality.
The mark on the Toastrack is :- JAMES WEIR 8357 (also scratched on free hand the following: - ' 467 R/A' (the R/A is crossed through) also N/A and an asterisk of sorts). I wondered if the number was a style or Registration Number and where I would find a list of Registration Numbers for Silverplate?
I would be very grateful for any light you may be able to shed on this Toastrack mystery!
Many thanks,
I found little information about James Weir, Jewellers & silversmiths, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. J Weir Ltd after c1920. Weir registered sterling silver marks at Glasgow Assay Office between the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century.
The number is, probably, the model number of your item. Obviously it's silver plate and not sterling silver.
Any further information will be welcome.
Giorgio Busetto

Michael Carter writes:
...I have a question for other ASCAS members. In a small silver shop in a Paris flea market, I saw a large serving spoon presented as 18th century Russian. I didnít buy it because I couldnít identify the hallmarks from the Tardy or other reference works I have consulted.
Has anyone ever seen such hallmarks?
Michael Carter

Neil Hodgson writes:
...I am a very keen collector of antique silver though I tend to focus my interest on Maltese silver from the period of the knights.
I recently purchased this silver reliquary (see attached pictures) but I am having problems researching the marks also finding anything about the history of the reliquary itself.
Could I therefore ask the members is they could help me shed any light on this item and help me in my quest to attain a little provenance on this well executed ecclesiastical English silver reliquary.
Thanking you all in advance.
Kind Regards,
Neil Hodgson

Replies to questions

Jolyon Warwick James receives this reply about the marks of his spoon 
(see March 2010 Newsletter)
Christophe Ginter writes:
The "mysterious" mark may be French, but the master with initials FVB is unknown to me at first glance. Probably a maker in the province, first quarter 20th century.
The female head is, from my point of view, some kind of "family armorial", dedication to a woman.
Some years ago, I had a dinner in a northern town in France, and the service was struck with such a head and I was informed that it was a grandmother of this family.
RJ would be her initials.

Tyr Baudouin-Lowet de Wotrenge receives this reply about his Russian chalice 
(see March 2010 Newsletter)
Postnikov writes:
A Russian chalice with 8 "Finifts" (painted enamel plaques), silver/niello, gilded.
Chronicles from the Ipatjev monastery recorded the existence of Russian Enamels as early as 1175. In those days coloured enamels were valued because of their exquisite beauty and very high prices were paid for them. The production technique was borrowed from Byzantium but as time went on, the art of enamelling acquired traditionally Russian features. The name of the technique came from the Greek word "fingitis" (i.e. white stone), then it changed to "finipt" and then to "finift".
The old Russian town of Rostov has always been famous for this artistic tradition.
The marks are (top to bottom):
year: 1729
maker: Vasilij Lukin
town mark: Moscow 1729-1733, assayer: Afanasi Rybakov
Without better, less blurry photos I can give no better answers.
Here are the images of two similar chalices

Sara Dilewski receives this reply about her mysterious items 
(see March 2010 Newsletter)
Simon Buxton writes:
The 6 twist stem items in March issue are indeed sugar crushers. I have one or two in Old Sheffield Plate dating to around the 1790s. It is possible those shown date to the early 1800s since I think they were never used much later, such as after the introduction of electroplating. The marks suggest close plating (silver foil on steel) which superseded the old Sheffield plate process for cutlery due to its greater strength. Its grey colour where worn or a simple test with a magnet or compass should confirm this.


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
1921 letterhead G. OLIER & E. CARON, Paris, France
This month Pietro Fantazzini presents a 1921 letterhead used by the French (Paris) "Fabrique d'Orfevrerie Argent H. Soufflot - G. Olier & E. Caron"

Usine: 143 Rue Michel-Bizot
Ateliers: 37 Rue N.D. de Nazareth
89 Rue Turbigo

a page from a 1921 catalog of Olier & Caron, Paris, France a page from a 1921 catalog of Olier & Caron, Paris, France a page from a 1921 catalog of Olier & Caron, Paris, France a page from a 1921 catalog of Olier & Caron, Paris, France
Henry Soufflot was active with the mark "HS, sun and star" from 1884 to 1910 (89 Rue de Turbigo).
Another mark was entered by Soufflot & Cie in 1910 (from May 25 until November 9, 1910). On November 15, 1910 Olier & Caron entered a similar mark using the initials OC (possibly this mark was cancelled in 1936).
This letter (dated 1921) is signed by G.Olier & E.Caron and bears on the letterhead both marks (the ancient HS and OC). It accompanied a flatware catalog sent to ditta (firm) Giuseppe Menzani of Bologna (Italy). The firm, owned and managed by Pietro Fantazzini's family (the founder was his grandfather), is still active in the present days and continues to trade gold and silver jewelry in its Bologna shop.


In this column we present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary" 
courtesy of home page
Edwardian English silver stamp case  


The silver stamp cases began to be produced toward the end of 19th century using gold, silver and wood. Some of the earliest British stamp boxes date from the 1880s, when the silver stamp case came into regular production. In 1888, James Allen of Birmingham registered a pocket letter scales/stamp holder, which he made in silver and brass. Production of stamp cases offered a wide array of combinations with one, two, three and occasionally four different compartments...



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
BB over SLd into a shield mark, Barker Bros Ltd, now Barker Ellis Co LTD, Birmingham 1930


Business established in Birmingham in 1801. The firm still possesses the original Boulton & Watt dies acquired during its early days of manufacturing. The business appears in an 1871 directory as Barker Brothers, silversmiths active in Paradise Street. As Barker Brothers Silversmiths Ltd, it was incorporated in 1907....



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)
The "book on my shelf" of this month presents:
The HANDBOOK of GORHAM SALT DISHES: by George & Carolyn Tompkinsl, 1987 book

This is what the authors wrote in their "Introduction" of the book:
Carolyn Tompkins began collecting little inexpensive salt dips, or open salts, in October of 1971. When her collection had grown to more than 1,800 different examples of various materials she realized that the specialization was necessary, so in 1980 she decided to concentrate on salt dishes made by Gorham (because George Tomkins was Manager of Data Processing for that company from 1970 until his retirement in 1978). At that time there were thirty-five Gorham salts in her collection, and George joined Carolyn in the pursuit of Gorham specimens. By frequenting flea markets, antique shops, antique shows, and through the good offices of many cooperative antique dealers and friends, the collection has grown to the present size of three hundred fifty plus, and is continuing to grow....
The HANDBOOK of GORHAM SALT DISHES: by George & Carolyn Tompkinsl, 1987 book


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



JAMES-CAMPBELL, Esq. of Lethen and Coulmony, Nairn.
A dexter hand with a bunch of arrows
Motto: Be mindful to unite
The crest is engraved on a pair of tea canisters, hallmarked London 1770, silversmiths John Parker I and Edward Wakelin
tea canister with Brodie crest


Closing our April 2010 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.

My thanks to Bryan Abbott, Tyr Baudouin-Lowet de Wotrenge, Charles C. Cage, Paola Continella, Sara Dilewski, Jayne Dye, Pietro Fantazzini, Mario Galasso, Johanna Gehrlein, Christophe Ginter, Ilsiya Gloova, Fritz Guercke, Jolyon Warwick James, Darren Marais, Carolyn Meacham, Josť Luis MuŮoz, Caroline Padavano, Postnikov, Luigi Speziale, John Yale 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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