ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silvernewsletter # 120 May 2014 SITE MAP
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A new article for ASCAS website

Mustard Pot (unascribed) London 1770
David McKinley presents:

Early English Mustard Pots English version

Anyone wishing to make a collection of English mustard pots will necessarily start towards the end of the 18th century since, although wet mustard had been a common adjunct to food in England since at least the 13th century, notwithstanding that the Romans used it, there are almost no examples of wet mustard pots extant until about the reign of Geo III.
This may be explained by, on the one hand the use of dry mustard during the first half of the 18th. century and on the other, the likelihood that any earlier examples found their way into the melting pot for reasons of fashion.
In the 'Great House' of mediaeval times there would have been a 'Mustarder' who was responsible for keeping the household supplied with mustard. He would make his mustard by crushing the seed in a mortar with a pestle or by means of a quern......
click here English version

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:

Michael & Natalia Berry - USA
Peter Gernetzky - South Africa
Yanlong Huang - USA
Leah Kalin - USA
Clive Longbottom - England UK
Jennifer Richmond - USA
Fred van Staden - South Africa
Bruce Woolford - Australia

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Members' Window # 107

hallmark on William IV silver berry spoon
Christine Erratt presents:

Take time when dating hallmarks English version

At a recent small auction I was fortunate enough to be the only interested bidder in a pair of English berry spoons. The auctioneer's description in the catalogue was inadequate and inaccurate, describing both as Victorian. After examining them and their marks at the preview I rushed home to consult my reference books.

The first spoon was made by Solomon Hougham in the Georgian era and marked London 1801. Nothing particularly unusual about this ornate berry spoon with its gilded bowl. According to most sources, it is considered that many old plain spoons were converted into fancy berry spoons in the Victorian era - a whimsical use, perhaps, for one's old-fashioned flatware...
click here
English version

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Dorothea Burstyn writes:
...I hope you or your readers can help me with identification of the marks on this big serving spoon (37.5 cm) with the following marks, something which reads like BAP or BAR, a house with the letter A in it and a fleur de lys(?).
The mark "BAR" is Spanish, town of Barcelona. This mark was used in the 18th and 19th century.
I trust in the help of ASCAS members for information about the other marks.
Giorgio Busetto

Zelda writes:

... I live in the United States and often reference your wonderful site.
Here is a photo of a lovely Georgian silver sauce boat....exquisitely punched border, scrolled handle, hoof feet.
I cannot identify or find the maker's mark on your site or on any other silver site, my reference books have me stumped....does this mark look familiar to you?
The first letter is partially worn, the last two letters are crisp.....any guidance and help is most appreciated and welcomed.
Thank you.
I'm unable to identify the maker. I trust in the help of ASCAS members
Giorgio Busetto

Thomas Martin writes:
..I contact you in the hope you can give me some more information about a beautiful silver box I bought.
It's silver, enamel, ivory and precious stones.
I looked up the marks at your page and it seems to be German (half-moon and crown), Silver 935, but I cannot identify the other two marks on the right.
The box looks to be from the 1920 around.
What do you think?
Thanks for your help.
Thomas Martin
Another challenge for ASCAS members. Help is needed!
Giorgio Busetto

Jennifer Richmond writes:
...I would like your help to identify what I first thought was a silver bell, but with help from the American Bell Association found out it might be a silver snuffer.
I've included some pics. It stands about 5.5 inches tall and the flute is about 1.5 wide.
I think the flute part might be sterling silver and the handle silver plate but I'm not sure. There are no markings that I can find.
I found it at an antique mart marked $2 with some fake flowers stuck in it and was just intrigued (I threw away the flowers).
Thanks if you can help,
Jennifer Richmond
Your item is neither a bell nor a snuffer. It's a "posy holder or tussie mussie" (a type of funnel-shaped container for holding a posy (a flower or a nosegay), See more details in my "silver dictionary" at
Giorgio Busetto

Replies to questions

Stuart Bennett receives these answers to his
Mote Spoon: An Original Theory
I have a very strong theory about the mote spoon and its usage. My idea shatters the considered opinion that they were used in relation to tea. My theory is as follows:
I think the mote spoon originated out of a drink that was and still is, a Chilean beverage known as "Mote con Huesillo".
After voyages to the New World and South America I think this fascinating drink would have brought back and taken up by the gentry of the day. All the ingredients were available in the UK at that time and would explain why it could possibly have been a "fad" for less than a century.
The drink itself consists of cooked husked wheat, dried peaches, sugar, water and cinnamon - where the peaches and wheat were soaked overnight, then once hydrated cooked with sugar and water and maybe a cinnamon stick.
Once put in a glass the sweet liquid (anything sweet was popular in this era!) the wheat or motes sank to the bottom. Hence the need for a long pierced bowled spoon to eat the motes and a toothpick (the spiked end of the mote spoon) to remove the wheat husks from the teeth.
I argue this point that if the mote spoon was meant for tea then there would be far more of them in extant than there are, they would be found made in other materials (for the less well-healed) like plate, copper, brass or pewter - and they would have come en-suite inside tea caddies.
I would be interested what your opinion might be?
Stuart Bennett, RA (Antq.)
(see April 2014 Newsletter)

David McKinley writes
I read Stuart Bennett's well reasoned theory on mote spoons with great interest as I have researched them for some time now.
I agree with him that it is a mystery that they were so limited in both numbers and places of manufacture.
However the facts are these: The first mention of them appears in a London Gazette for 1697 in which they are called "long or tea strainer spoons with narrow pointed handles". During the 18th century they were called either tea strainer spoons or simply tea strainers.
Norman Gask in his book OLD SILVER SPOONS OF ENGLAND published in 1926 refers to them as "olive spoons" and doesn't mention the word 'mote' at all. Jackson of about the same date thought they might be connected with serving punch so it would seem that the word 'mote' was not used until well into the 20th century.
Although Stuart's theory sounds a good one and although we still do not know for sure how these spoons were actually used I am afraid we must continue to look for an explanation within the ritual of tea drinking and this explains why mote spoons appear to have only been made in silver. Tea was very expensive in the 18th century and only used by the rich.
David McKinley
Mary Kay Felton writes
I must say I find Mr. Stuart Bennett's supposition that mote spoons were not intended for tea, but rather for drinking Mote con Huesillo, to be a fascinating proposal. I would love to hear more from Mr. Bennett on the topic of Mote con Huesillo, including information about the ingredients, recipe, and any special items/equipage that were utilized in its preparation or consumption.
Since there are complete tea equipages, such as large shagreens containing silver tea caddies, sugar bowls, sometimes a creamer, and tea spoons, tea tongs, and a mote spoon, it supports the original contention that mote spoons were involved in consumption of tea.
It is possible however that the mote spoon was included not as part of a "tea equipage," but rather as part of a "beverage equipage" with items for consuming tea, coffee, chocolate, and Mote con Huesillo.
Of course that raises the question as to why these shagreens are normally known as "tea equipages."
I myself am among the many who would love an answer to the mote spoon mystery.
I hope we hear more from Mr. Bennett and others on this topic.
Mary Kay Felton

Gary D. Gardner receives this answer to his request of information about Scottish silversmith Robert Anderson
I am a collector as well as independent scholar of American Southern history & material culture, currently researching an Inverness, Scotland trained silversmith named Robert Anderson who immigrated to the US about 1819 when he appeared in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I noticed that Mr. Robert Massart had supplied one on-line marks reference with images of silver marks by this man's father or grandfather who was active ca. 1760-1780. I didn't know if ASCAS members have any biographical information on the elder silversmith.
I think the younger Robert Alexander was born ca. 1756, but again the smith who settled in America could be a grandson of the Inverness smith.
Thanks so very much!!
Gary D. Gardner
(see April 2014 Newsletter)

Robert Massart writes
I have following comment on Gary D. Gardner's question: The book "Jackson's Silver & Gold marks of England, Scotland & Ireland", edited by Ian Pickford, mentions that: 'Inverness was deemed to be one of the six principal burghs of the kingdom in the reign of David I, c.1130, but its early goldsmiths remain unknown to us, due to the destruction of the Burgh records in 1556. The constitutions of the Burgh and the Incorporated Trades were revised in 1678, at which date there were no goldsmiths in the town. The only surviving minute book of the Hammermen's Craft runs from 1690 until 1861, but it is clear that only a small part of their proceedings are recorded in it, and the calling of the members is not always stated.'
For the mark of Robert Anderson see picture on the left in attachment.
Picture on the right gives the information regarding Robert Anderson in "A Directory of Scottish Provincial Silversmiths & Their Marks" by Richard W. Turner.
(click on the image to enlarge)
The most complete information from the surviving registration documentation regarding Scottish silversmiths is to be found on following site:
This site mentions Robert Anderson for Inverness with following details:
Freeman 23 April 1755
Trades Councellor 1784-1785
Active in the Hammermen's affairs until 1791
Died 1792
The site has no further biographical information regarding Robert Anderson.
As a Robert Anderson, emigrated to the US c.1819 as a Scottish trained silversmith, it would be interesting to learn more about him (for instance what was his maker's mark).
I suggest that Gary D. Gardner contacts the archivist of the site mentioned above to discuss his query.
Kind regards
Robert Massart


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 Busetto's website home page

The Acme Silver Company, 1885 advertisement
This month ASCAS presents an ancient advertisement of:



The firm was established in 1884 as "Manufacturers of Finest Quality Electro-Plated Ware", with factory and salesroom at 9/11 Church Street, Toronto (Canada).
The Acme Silver Company was liquidated in 1893 and sold to W.K. George and others who formed The Standard Silver Co, Toronto Ltd.

This image is part of the ADVERTISEMENTS IN SILVER - SILVER ADVERTISING section of website


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
silver medicine spoon


Medicine spoon is a medical spoon used to administer medicine. Examples in silver or silverplate can be found.
Four forms of medicine spoons are known:
- a short spoon with a vertical ring on the bowl and no stem;
- a spoon with the usual stem and the front end of the bowl covered except a small aperture;
- a spoon with the usual stem, the front of the bowl covered and a small tube protruding from the end;
- a double ended spoon with two bowls of different size. In some cases, thanks to the hinged stem, the smaller bowl swivels and fits into the larger..... 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


The firm was founded in 1830 as Joseph Howes. Sometime between 1861 and 1870 a partnership was formed between Joseph Howes and Alfred Browett.
The partnership was dissolved in May 1870 and the trade was carried out by Alfred Browett alone.
In 1878 the firm was active (works and showrooms) as Electro Silver Plate and Britannia Metal manufacturer at 14 Dean Street, Birmingham....



In this column we present images and descriptions of Crests and Mottoes of British, Irish and Scottish families as engraved on silver items.
This column is published under the kind permission of Giorgio Busetto's website home page



family crest: TRAFFORD
A crest used by Essex and Lancashire families.
The crest is described as "a man holding a flail (thrasher)".
The motto is "Now Thus.
The crest was found on an unmarked Old Sheffield Plate bread (or fruit) basket.
family crest: TRAFFORD

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Closing our MAY 2014 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.

My thanks to Dorothea Burstyn, Christine Erratt, Mary Kay Felton, Thomas Martin, Robert Massart, David McKinley, Jennifer Richmond, Zelda for their precious contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
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