YOUR GUIDE TO FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER:
mail to ASCAS
replies to questions
a page per month
a silversmith per month
a word per month
a book on my shelf
a crest per month
contributors to this Newsletter
A new article for ASCAS website
Steve Cox presents:
An 18th Century Trade Silver Gorget
I will start out by stating that it is extremely rare to encounter a piece of unmarked trade silver that is well documented. Other than a few pieces in museums, or retained by descendants, or persons having relations with the original owners, the best analytical documentation we have today are records kept from Archaeological excavations. I have to say the remaining Archaeological records are a rich source of details used to help put together the story of how Trade Silver influenced relations between the Europeans and the Native Americans. Today, with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of November 16, 1990, this source of professionally recorded information has come to an end. A vast amount of original notes or documentation concerning Trade Silver has over the years become separated from the artifact. All of these factors, and a lack of creditable provenance, make it very difficult to construct an authoritative opinion on Trade Silver, however, I feel it is an important goal worth pursuing. I will also inform everyone that Trade Silver artifacts are among the most counterfeited pieces in the world. I attempt to examine every facet of a piece before rendering my opinions, but there is no way for anyone to be 100% certain of their opinion.
First I will note that I have no previous information about the subject of this paper, an 18th Century Trade Silver Gorget. When possible, I prefer to form an opinion on a piece based first on what I can conclude from personal research and examination, rather than be influenced by what I may have been told about it.
Unlike many Trade Silver pieces, this gorget has many characteristics, and is very well made, and when studied in detail it becomes possible to develop a well substantiated opinion. A large number of characteristics are typically avoided by counterfeiters slimily because of the lack of knowledge required to produce such a piece without making mistakes. From the first time I looked at this gorget I did not see one trait that would make me question its authenticity. As with other research papers I have written, I will start with a list of conclusions.....
Welcome to new ASCAS members:
Suzanne Cotter - USA
Allan Laurenson - New Zealand
Mike Lawson - Australia
Members' Window # 115
Christine Erratt presents:
A contemporary mote spoon
I have long yearned to be the owner of a silver mote spoon. I am an avid tea drinker and an appreciator of silverware. Over recent years I have enjoyed and learnt much from the various articles about mote spoons that have been published in our ASCAS Newsletters.
My hobbyist silversmith husband apparently 'took the hint' some months ago and secretly designed and made one for me which was my Christmas morning surprise.
Imagine my delight when I unwrapped his gift and found my very own bespoke mote spoon!....
Mail to ASCAS:
Bruce Woolford writes:
...these photos are of a recent purchase. As you can see, this item is Austro-Hungarian silver from the period 1867 - 1919. Included is a photo of the Austrian "Dianakompf" mark. I don't know what the second mark is. Possibly a maker's mark?
It's been described as a sugar "lock box" or chest and has a functional lock, unfortunately, the key is missing.
The "A" on the Diana mark corresponds to Vienna.
The other mark is, presumably (the mark is slightly different), the maker's mark of Eduard Pill, active 1894-1913
I believe that your item is a Judaica Etrog box, see my website at http://www.silvercollection.it/dictionaryetrogbox.html
Michael S. Carter writes
I have the answer to the question from Daniel Monk regarding the photos in the Jan 2017 (#152) edition of the ASCAS newsletter:
The coffee pot is French from about 1784 and has the following marks:
Maker's mark of Jacques Massé (JM)
Charge mark for Versailles (LL) used from about 1781-89
"Jurande" mark for Versailles (fleur-de-lys with 84) used beginning in Nov 1784
The piece should also have a fourth mark (not shown in the photos), which is the corresponding discharge mark for Versailles (probably a lily or possibly a rose).
This well-known maker is mentioned in Henry Nocq, Le Poinçon de Paris, vol. III, pp. 215-16, and in Beuque & Frapsauce, Le Dictionnaire des Poinçons, p. 144 (no. 1,292).
I do not know the origin of the coat of arms, which shows the crown of a count.
Michael S. Carter
The maker Jacques Massé was identified also by Emil Fonfoneata, Christophe Ginter and Jolyon Warwick James.
Interesting to note that in the images supplied by Daniel Monk the discharge mark is missing
"A PAGE per MONTH"
In this column we presents 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 column is published under the kind permission of Giorgio
This month ASCAS presents a 1911 image of
HENRY BIRKS & SONS
MONTREAL - CANADA
Henry Birks (1840-1928) began his activity as junior partner and manager of Savage & Lyman and after the liquidation of the firm established in 1870 his own activity as Henry Birks & Co.
FACTORIES, PLANTS, SALESROOMS, SHOPS AND WORKSHOPS: OLD IMAGES
In 1887 the firm opened its first factory to produce jewelry and in 1893 became Henry Birks & Sons, admitting to full partnership William Massey, John Henry and Gerald Walter Birks.
Henry Birks & Sons Ltd was incorporated in 1905.
"A WORD per MONTH"
In this column we
present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary"
Since the 19th century a variety of holders were manufactured in an attempt to maintain strings under control and prevent their tangling.
From the beginning, the classic string holder shape was the metallic beehive, but, over the years, many other more decorative forms and materials were used to hold this household and office utility.
Examples were made in ceramic, pottery, china, chalkware, wood and glass assuming a variety of shapes (conical, globular, oval, dome) and figures (animals, humans, fruits, vegetables) following the raging fashion of 'novelties' of the early 1900s.... MORE...
"A SILVERSMITH per MONTH"
HENRY GEORGE MURPHY
THE FALCON STUDIO
Henry George (Harry) Murphy was born on 27th October 1884 at Birchington, Kent. After the death of his father (1895) the family transferred to London (Kensington) where the young Harry entered in contact with Henry Wilson, member of the Art Workers Guild, being taken as apprentice. When his apprenticeship ended Murphy stayed on at the Wilson's workshop as a full-fledged craftsman working in Kensington and later at Wilson's studio in St Mary's Platt, Kent.
He was inspired by Wilson, whose personal style drew on Gothic and Renaissance designs, favouring the use of bright enamels in intricate settings. Murphy's style evolved a similar look to that of Wilson, developing his skill in the decorative techniques of enamelling and niello to the highest level....
"A CREST per MONTH"
The crest of Vaughan family.
The Latin motto is 'Vitae via virtus' (Virtue is the way of life)
The crest is described as 'a Boy's Head Couped At The Shoulders, Round The Neck A Snake Entwined'
The crest was found on a sterling silver napkin ring, maker John Evans, London
"A YEAR per MONTH"
FROM SHEFFIELD ASSAY OFFICE REGISTER
- 1773 -
This table is obtained from
The Book of Entries of the Names, Places of abode and Marks of the several Silversmiths and Plate Workers residing in Sheffield, or within twenty miles thereof, who are required to send their goods to the Assay Office, lately established in the Town of Sheffield by an Act of Parliament lately passed in the Thirteenth Year of the Reign of King George the Third intituled:
Closing our February 2017 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope
you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.
My thanks to Michael S. Carter, Steve Cox, Christine Erratt, Emil Fonfoneata, Christophe Ginter, Jolyon Warwick James and Bruce Woolford for their precious 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.
ASCAS keeps in touch with its members only through
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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
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