ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver        newsletter # 79 December 2010     SITE MAP
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2011 ASCAS membership

No fees are requested nor accepted for ASCAS membership.
Members still interested to ASCAS and its activity are invited to send an e-mail to

confirming their 2011 membership (the simplest way is to use the 'reply' button on our December e-mail).
I apologize for this little effort asked to whomever appreciates and supports ASCAS activity.

No action is required to unsubscribe. Members not confirming their membership will be automatically deleted from the sending of our monthly Newsletter and will be suspended on February 2011.

Please accept my best wishes for a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year and my thanks for your present or past appreciation of my work.

Giorgio Busetto
ASCAS Secretary

Two new articles for ASCAS website

Christofle: a coffee-pot, issued c.1862
Prof. David N. Nikogosyan presents:

Numeration in Silver-Plated Christofle Hollow Ware and its Application to Items Dating:  English version
.....It is a remarkable fact that every relatively large piece of hollow ware, issued by the famous French silversmith foundry Christofle in 1846-1930, possesses a so-called numbering, i.e., each item is marked by its own ordinal number. No other company in the world made such marking. Indeed, Christofle had even two numberings. The first one was used from c.1846 until 1862 (or until 1865) and was running from 1 up to at least 337243, which is engraved on the bottom of a small Christofle coffee-pot from my collection ....
click here English version
London 1789/1790 mark: William Stroud
Giovanni Ciceri presents:

Determining the date on London Assay Office Marks - 1776-1795:  English version
.....At the London Assay Office, each series refers to 20 years, starting with the date letter "a" and ending with the date letter "u" or "v". Only twenty letters of the alphabet have been used, excluding: j, v (or u), w, x, y and z. Note that the last letter of each cycle can be an "u" or a "v", but this is probably due to the fact that in the classic Latin language and alphabet there was no difference between "u" and "v". There is only an exception in the 18th century, prior the introduction of the Britannia standard (1696), when the cycle lasted 19 years and ended with the letter "t" ....
click here English version

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Doug Bartick - England UK
Ricardo Ferreira - Brazil
Donald Haines - The Netherlands
Mauro Liconte - Italy
Alex Shkrobinets - USA
Brian Smeathers - Canada
top page - page map

Members' Window # 79

silver napkin ring: Fabergé
Postnikov presents:

Russian Napkin Rings English version

The napkin ring is a bourgeois invention. The first examples were probably plain or embroidered tapes created by the housewife to personalise the family's napkins between weekly wash-days.
Napkin rings in silver were the result of the growing wealth of the middleclass. Silver napkin rings started in France about 1800 and by 1840 they had spread to most western countries....
click here
 English version 

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Paul Skippen writes:
... I recently acquired a solid silver double salt cellar. The marks on it are quite clear and while I could identify most - Birmingham 1883, made by Horace Woodward & co-Edgar Finley & Hugh Taylor - there is a mark which has the shape of a "kite" mark which has me baffled.
Can you or any of your readers help please?
Many thanks
Paul Skippen
The "fakir" is, simply, the trade mark of Horace Woodward & Co. This is common practice on silver plate marks. Rare in sterling silver markings. You can see an image in the "Figural Trade Marks" page of my Dictionary at
Giorgio Busetto

Raphael Zaphiropoulos writes:
... I'm researching information about a set of spoon and fork bearing seven different French maker's marks. I don't know neither if the set is sterling silver or silver plate nor the reason for the presence of the multiple hallmarking.
Any possible information will be highly appreciated.
Raphael Zaphiropoulos
Your set is an uncommon and interesting item (a sample of the pattern?). I identify five of the seven make's marks: left to right, 2 Compere Leontine Vve – 4 Henin & Cie - 5 Emile Puiforcat – 6 Henry Soufflot – 7 Tetard freres.
I hope that someone of our readers will be able to answer to your question.
Giorgio Busetto

Malcolm Stander writes:
...I have found this interesting piece what looks like an arts & crafts chalice. On closer inspection underneath I discovered it has a concealed apartment.
On removing lid underneath I have discovered it is a communion cup. It has a section space for the communion wafer biscuit. This apartment is gilded inside as well as the inner section of the lid.
Inside it is marked Thune and what looks like 13 1/4 and dated 1870.
Not one of any knowledge on this subject matter I asked my neighbour who is catholic and they say it is used as a communion cup and taken to someone's house by the priest when they are sick.
All I know that Thune is a famous silversmith co from Oslo Norway.
Any of ASCAS members have any more info on this type of communion cup and would this be considered a rare piece as Thune were prolific makers.
It stands 13 cm tall and the base is 7cm across with wafer department 4cm across.
Kind regards
Malcolm Stander
I believe that this is a small chalice used to celebrate Mass on travel or in private homes (its measure is a largely smaller than those used in the church).
Further information will be welcome.
Giorgio Busetto

Jakob F. writes:
...I have a very nice silver flatware that, according to its marks, I thought to be Dutch, 18th century. However after talking to a few experts they could not identify in 100% if it is or not 18th century.
I would kindly ask for your assistance
Kind Regards,

Ingrid Frederick writes:
...I am a conservation and restoration student and am currently researching for my thesis on a spoon which was recovered from an archaeological excavation in Cartagena, Colombia. I would like to know if you can please help me recognize any of these marks on the spoon that I haven't been able to identify after looking through all of the pictures at your website. I will attach two pictures.
I greatly appreciate your help.
Ingrid Frederick

Norah Cooper writes:
...I found your site while looking to identify the maker of a silver horse head on the handle of a riding crop.
This piece was handed down in my family by my great uncle who served under Franz Joseph in WWI.
He took it off a Prussian officer who in turn most likely took it off a Russian or Bulgarian officer.
I am attaching photos of the piece as well as a photo of the silver mark I found on your site. I have done a drawing of the tiny mark. Neither a rubbing or a photograph gives a clear result so I hope this is helpful.
The makers mark I did not find on your site.
The inscription on the piece says:
I npuer
19 29/VII 11 i.
Do you have any idea where to go from here to identify the maker? Have you ever seen a similar riding crop?
Thank you so very much for any advice you may offer.
Norah Cooper

Michael writes:
...You have helped me in the past and, I'm afraid that I am going to bother you again.
I have a Russian Silver Vase with a hallmark I cannot identify.
The Vase is 17.2 cm high, 9.2 diameter at the top, 7.3 at the bottom and weighs 246 g.
I am attaching photos with the markings. Any help will be greatly appreciated
Best regards
The maker of your vase is Petr Pavlovitch Miliukov, active in Moscow, 1877-1912.
Giorgio Busetto

David Mckinley writes:
...Dear Giorgio,
Thanks again for the newsletter (November newsletter).
I found both articles by Lise Moor and Christophe Ginter most interesting and wonder if you would be kind enough to ask either or both of them on my behalf what is the significance, if any, of the crown over the maker's initials in his mark. Many Huguenot silversmiths in England could be identified by this feature and I wonder if it has some particular meaning?
My very best wishes,
David Mckinley
To the best of my knowledge, there is no specific significance attached to the crown over the makers' initials.
The crown is a usage ("un usage") without any further meaning.
Let's be more precise:
(1) in many parts or towns in the French Kingdom, there is no crown linked with the makers' marks. Many examples:
- Toulouse, where the typical maker's mark is made of the full name of the master, sometimes with the first initial of his first name, and without any crown,
- Burgundy or Franche-Comté, where the usual maker's mark contains the city armorials, this usage is defined by the corporation status, and you don't find any crown but sometimes a lilly flower,
- the Lorraine (Nancy) maker's mark bears only a city symbol together with the maker's initials, no crown,
- in Alsace, no crown but the full name of the maker in a cartouche... etc, etc
Again, most of this specifications are linked with some usage and rules that makers themselves created within their corporations.
(2) Before giving a reply to your request, I read through some status and I didn't find any compulsory demand attached to the crown and demanded for instance by the royal authority.
(3) Please note that in other parts of France (Normandy, ...) the crown is never over the initials but over a city symbol: "licorne" in Saint-Lô,"agneau pascal" in Rouen, "léopard" in Caen, etc.
(4) in Paris, a compulsory status is imposing not a crown but a crowned lilly flower over the makers' initials. A "usage" again. The same occurs in many towns in Brittany, etc
(5) To make it short, a crown over the initials seems to be the "typical" French Mark for makers. In fact ... it is not.
I hope this message will be of some help for you.
Christophe Ginter

Replies to questions

Malcolm Stander receives this answer to the question about his Russian Cyrillic letters  
(see November 2010 Newsletter)
Postnikov writes:
... This letters were part of a leather strap (bracelet) or belt, not worn by Cossaks, only by tourists.
The Caucasus was an important tourist center at that time, the Tzar and a lot of nobilities owned very nice palaces there. All objects with the inscription Kafkas were souvenirs and had nothing to do with the Cossaks!
Town mark Novocherkassk in use 1847-1880
Maker: Lasarev Amoartsimovitsch
Silver content: 84 Zolotniki = 875/1000
Lazar Freidgeim writes:
... I think you are right – it is part of a belt. They have been made as Caucasian souvenir in 1890-1910s. A correct word is Caucasus
This word means Caucasus
Lazar Freidgeim
Pierre Gagnaux writes:
... It's the word Caucasus in Cyrillic. It is a classic souvenir bought during vacancies at the Mer Noire during the tzars period. They were surely on a tissues belt. The silversmith is unknown to me. I've the same mark on a belt buckle I sold this summer.
I know those items from Caucasus (a lot were made in St-Petersburg...) because I've sold nearly all the "souvenir" nielloed items from Caucasus, and keep only the really good things.
Adam Goldsmith writes:
... Perhaps I can put some light on the Russian silver question from Malcolm Stander. He is quite correct on the town mark being Novocherkassk with the mark being used until 1880. The maker's mark of L A is not listed. I have several Niello Kafkas pieces which seem to be sold as a reminder of visiting the Caucasus mountains. I do not think that these letters are for a belt but look more as if they would have been sown onto a piece of material – at least that is my suggestion!
Adam Goldsmith


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 1881 advertisement of Walter Thornhill, London
This month we present an image of the

Cutler at 1 Spiceal Street, Birmingham

as was represented in the 1823 Wrightson's Triennial Directory. The various sign shops presents the firm as Gold & Silversmith, Surgical Instrument Maker
Ironmongery & Nailwarehouse


In this column we present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary" 
courtesy of home page
British Assay Offices marks


The British hallmarking system was widely modified in 1999 and some of the traditional marks became optional symbols applied only on request alongside the compulsory hallmarks.
Henceforth, future generation of collectors will fewer and fewer find the full set of hallmarks that for hundreds of years has characterized the British silver...


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


The business was established in 1781 as gilt button makers and was carried on by James Deykin and William Henry Deykin until 1848. The firm was active in its factory, Venetian Works, 5 and 6 Jennens Row, Dale End, Birmingham, mainly as buttons manufacturer, until 1854 when production of electroplated wares was introduced.
At this time the firm traded as J. & W. Deykin (buttons) and Deykin & Sons (electroplated wares) under the partnership of James Deykin and William Redfern Deykin. The production of buttons was abandoned in 1877....


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 Sotheby's Directory of SILVER by Vanessa Brett
The Sotheby's Directory of
Vanessa Brett
Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd for Sotheby's Publications
This book cover the work of silversmiths in Europe and North America from about 1600 to 1940, offering a wealth of information and illustration.
It differs from many other publications on silver in that the main emphasis has been placed on the silversmiths, rather than on the various categories of object which they produces or on the different periods or styles in which they worked.
Basing her choice on sales of silver held at Sotheby's from the 1920s until 1984, Vanessa Brett has arranged her material (which comprises 2000 objects, each of them illustrated) by country of origin, grouped under the makers, who are listed, wherever possible, in chronological order of registration of their marks or of achieving master's status.
The makers represented are from Germany, Austria, the countries historically linked with them and Switzerland, the Low Countries, Great Britain and Ireland, North America, France, Italy, Scandinavia and Russia...


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


A silver spoon crest, with an arm, in armour, issuing, in hand a sword
A tent, a flag.
The crest of Bartan (Scotland), Bartane (Scotland), Bartain (Scotland), Bouwen (England), Carrol (Ireland), Caroll (Ireland), Dukes (England), Hartford (England), Lindsay (Earl of Balcarres, Scotland), Marmyon (England), Quicke (Devonshire), Shed (England), Westlemore (England), Whitaker (England).

The crest was found in a silver plate spoon marked Elkington & Co, date 1878

A silver spoon crest, with an arm, in armour, issuing, in hand a sword

A silver spoon hallmarked London 1821, maker Sarah and John William Blake

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Closing our December 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 Giovanni Ciceri, Norah Cooper, Jayne Dye, Ingrid Frederick, Lazar Freidgeim, Pierre Gagnaux, Christophe Ginter, Adam Goldsmith, David Mckinley, David N. Nikogosyan, Postnikov, Paul Skippen, Malcolm Stander, Andy Urbach, Raphael Zaphiropoulos, for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
ASCAS is a community of people having a common interest in antique silver.
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