ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver newsletter # 92 January 2012 SITE MAP
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2012 ASCAS membership

Members still interested in ASCAS and its activity are invited to send an e-mail to:

confirming their 2012 membership (the simplest way is to use the 'reply' button on our January e-mail).

No action is requested to unsubscribe. Members not confirming their membership will be automatically deleted and shipping of our monthly Newsletter will be suspended on February 2012.
Please IGNORE this announcement if you have already confirmed your interest, by email, within the last month.
Giorgio Busetto
ASCAS Secretary

A new article for ASCAS website

silver tester
Andrea Menarini presents:

Solid silver or silverplate? English version
Argento o silver plate? versione italiana

Solid silver object usually bear hallmarks to testify the silver fineness of the metal. In most cases, also silverplate items, besides the manufacturer's trademark, present well known abbreviations or names to distinguish the metal used in the plating process (EPNS, EPBM, Métal Blanc, Alpaka, etc.).
This is the norm, but what to do when we find a piece unmarked or with a "fantasy" or unknown mark? How to distinguish solid silver from silver silverplate?

Silverplate is the term commonly used to identify an object made of base metal (white metal, bronze, copper, etc.) on which a thin layer of silver was transferred by a process of electro deposition. The silver coat is extremely thin and rarely exceeds 50 microns (5 hundredths of a millimetre)......

click here English version click here versione italiana

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:

Jill Prasnicki - USA
Keith Scott - England UK
Simone Spinozzi - Italy
Douglas Wilson - England UK
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Members' Window # 92

Hester Bateman 1783
Joanne and Emmett Eldred present:

Our Collecting Guidelines (5): Condition English version

Condition is a very important factor for us. For example the hallmarks should be clearly defined, leaving no doubt as to what they are, and as we have already mentioned, the condition of the engraving should be 7 or better. However it is important to remember that teapots and stands were meant to be used and therefore should show some signs of age. Minor scratches and slight dings are likely to be expected and attest to the set's every day use. Typically major damage to the teapot can take several forms, which include ......
click here
English version

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Jurij Kastorsky writes:
...I have a teapot marked B. Ivers & Co. I research information about its origin and maker. I'd wish also to know if the metal is sterling silver or silver plated.
Any idea?
Thank you
I believe that B.Ivers & Co is an US maker, early 20th century, but I was unable to find detailed information about it.
I do not know if your item is sterling silver or silverplate.
Any suggestion will be appreciated
Giorgio Busetto

Tony Absolom writes:
... Recently I came into possession of some silver plate. It consists of a Tea pot, plus warmer, a coffee pot, milk jug and sugar bowl.
The hallmarks seem to indicate that they were manufactured in 1868 by Elkingtons.
I would be grateful if someone could indicate the origin and meaning of the crest (as shown on photo). It is a Fleur de Lys with the words "Pax aut Defensio" in a banner above the crest. There are also the letters A 16640 on all the pieces, at the back with the hallmarks.
I assume this either stands for the pattern or perhaps the customer order.
Could anybody enlighten me please.
Tony Absolom
I found that the motto Pax aut Defensio (Peace or defense) was used also by Landale family (Scotland). But, its crest, described as "a dexter arm, embowed, hand holding up two branches of laurel, in orle", do not correspond to that in your tea pot.
The date letter on the mark is not well readable, but I believe that it corresponds to 1886 (see my web site at
Giorgio Busetto

John Eiring writes:
....I am trying to identify the marks on two silver spoons. I think they were made by William Pugh in Birmingham but I can't match the marks to anything I can find.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You,
The maker is William Page & Co. See my website at
Giorgio Busetto

Simon Buxton writes:
....I wonder whether you or one of your members can assist in identifying the maker of an Old Sheffield Plate chamberstick?
The marks, a menorah with the letters S.M below, are rather like those of Barker-Ellis in the early 20thC, but the method of manufacture is not electroplate and would date to 1825-1850.
The base is typical Old Sheffield plate with silver mounts, but the stem, sconce (also with silver mount) and handle now appear brass or copper and I think would have originally been "French plated", a technique of applying layers of thin silver foil for plating small items but resulting in a surface that was very prone to wear and has now worn away. Those parts might also have been very early electroplated before assembly, but unlikely.
I don't think it is English but more likely French or European, but I have been unable to trace anything on the net or in my reference books, apart from Barker-Ellis.
Simon Buxton
In my opinion the mark is similar to that used by Barker Brothers since November 1912 (Ellis was purchased in 1931).
Giorgio Busetto

Replies to questions

Enzo Vanarelli receives this answer about his tray
(see December 2011 Newsletter)
Maria Entrup-Henemann writes:
... Concerning the tray of Enzo Vanarelli: The swan could be the city mark of Zwickau (Germany)
Maria Entrup-Henemann

Maria Bigliani receives this answer about her bottle
(see December 2011 Newsletter)
Christophe Ginter writes:
...Regarding Maria Bigliani's request, the item shows (very poor) imitations of French Parisian hallmarks used during the XVIIIth century.
These marks do not pass a very simple exam, i.e. French ancient marks were never struck (punched) side by side on the same line.
These are "fantasy" or "apocryphal" marks that were made on demand in Hanau, or in some English or Italian cities during the fall of the 19th century or early 20th one. Hence a possible dating.

Vladimir receives this answer about his knives
(see November 2011 Newsletter)
Pierre Strobbe writes:
... The "crest is only a crown of a Belgian baron plus his initials.
Pierre Strobbe


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

This month ASCAS presents a " MEMORANDUM" accompanying a pocket watch manufactured by
Watch Manufacturers and Importers of Musical Boxes
The "memorandum" was issued to A.E. Holmes Esq., St. George's Place, S.W. on 19 July 1977. The sheet accompanied a watch hallmarked London 1876, L.H over W.H into a shield.
The business was commenced in 1863. The partners were Louis Weill, H. Harburg and Charles Feis active at 14 Hatton Garden, London (later 3 Holborn Circus) and Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland.
Watch hallmarked Weill & Harburg, London, 1876 Watch hallmarked Weill & Harburg, London, 1876 Watch hallmarked Weill & Harburg, London, 1876


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
Scottish snuff mull with silver mounts


The practice of inhaling powdered tobacco became common in Europe in the 17th century and universally among both sexes throughout the 18th.
It continued in the 19th century and have still many adherents.

The result is a plethora of snuff boxes to suit pockets of all depths available for modern collectors.

The more common snuff box used to hold pulverized tobacco consists of a small container with a hinged metal lid..... 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
Josiah Williams & Co mark


The firm was the largest manufacturing silversmiths in England outside London, Birmingham and Sheffield. The activity was established in Bristol by William Woodman at the beginning of the 19th century (pieces with his mark date from c. 1818 to c. 1838).
The business was succeeded by Robert Williams (marks c. 1832-1854). In c. 1845 James Williams took in partnership his two sons James and Josiah Williams, trading as Robert Williams & Sons until his retirement in 1853.
In 1855 the firm, listed as James & Josiah Wiliams, was active at 14 Small Street, Bristol as manufacturers of silver and electroplated goods.....


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 ASCAS presents:
a book per month: The Work of The Silversmith's Studio San Lorenzo a book per month: The Work of The Silversmith's Studio San Lorenzo

1970 - 1995
The Work of The Silversmith's Studio
San Lorenzo

the Catalog published for the exhibition held from October 1995 to April 1996
at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Electa, Milan - Elemond Editori Associati
- 1995 -
(from the introduction of Marco Bona Castellotti): In their assays in this catalogue, Eric Turner and Angela Vattese have managed to brilliantly describe San Lorenzo's output in the contact of the tradition that, from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries onward has given silverware a leading among domestic furnishing.
In particular, Turner dwells on the close relationship - in some cases like the one on which the splendid exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum focuses - between the handcrafted objects and object d'art, when the initial distinction between them is annulled by the principle of quality.
When the quality of an object is extremely high, this become a sort of deterrent to its use. But if I had to specify the fundamental character of San Lorenzo's output, I would certainly define it as being the conscious capacity to reconcile adherence to high aesthetic standard with a functionalist approach.....


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


The Alderson family crest

The crest description is " from behind a a mount, vert, thereon a branch of alder, the sun rising".
The crest was found on three "Old English Feather Edge" tablespoons hallmarked London, 1805, by Thomas Wallis II (Free 3 Feb 1779; died 10 Jun 1836.)
courtesy Charles C. Cage

hallmarks London, 1805, by Thomas Wallis II on three Alderson's family spoons

Three spoons with Alderson's family crest

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Closing our January 2012 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.

My thanks to Tony Absolom, Simon Buxton, Charles C. Cage, John Eiring, Joanne and Emmett Eldred, Maria Entrup-Henemann, Christophe Ginter, Jurij Kastorsky, Andrea Menarini and Pierre Strobbe for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
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