ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver         newsletter # 46 - MARCH 2008
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Two new articles for ASCAS website

'SIC' mark used as official fineness warranty

Franco Negrini and Francesca Rapposelli present:

- Silversmithing in Mantua from the 14th to the 19th century (part 1) English version
- Note sull'arte degli orefici a Mantova (1a parte) versione italiana

The recent discovery of a silver spoon with the rare mark of the "swimming swan" offers the opportunity to retrace the evolution of the silver hallmarking system in Mantua from the 14th to the 19th century.
August 19, 1310 is the date commonly considered as the beginning in Mantua of regulations issued to protect buyers from fraud and to certify the quality of the silver alloy.....

click here English version       clicca qui versione italiana

The anatomy of a spoon Willand Ringborg presents:

THE VIOLIN HANDLE - development of rococo style in Swedish silver soup spoons English version

In Sweden, the French influence in art and craftsmanship came to its full expression by the crowning of King Gustaf III year 1772. He was a strong admirer of continental art and culture, particularly French, built the Royal Opera, started academies of literature and art (and sciences). And the French language became literally "Lingua Franca" in the Swedish court. Court architects, ebonists, decorators, fountain makers and fire-works designers were called for service in Stockholm from abroad.......

click here English version

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

M. Amro - The Netherlands
Maurice Bethell - England UK
William Paul Butt - Scotland UK
Theo Delder - The Netherlands
Tony Duke - Canada
Cheron Frazier - USA
Shea Hecht - USA
Damon Kenton - USA
Alexis Kowalsky - USA
Victoria Obey - USA
Giselle Luci Parisi - USA
Peter Thorley - Australia
André Van den Kerkhove - Belgium
Larry Wiles - England UK
Gregory Wachter - Canada
Ann Wilhelm - USA

Members' Window # 46

Samuel Wood silver salt cellar

Robert Massart presents:

An "Early Georgian" Salt Cellar English version

A sterling silver open cauldron salt cellar or open master salt, made in London, England in 1746 by Edward Wood.......

click here English version

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Gregory La Vardera writes:
...this is the story of the pieces as I know:
These are four silver pieces which appear to be service pieces for tea or coffee. The story behind them is my uncle returned from Europe with these after his service in World War II. He was a collector of sorts, and while he was there he traded to collect various artifacts. I somehow ended up with these after my parents moved and cleared out their house.
The pieces are marked with an anchor, and the initials DDSG and another mark that reads HERRMANN. The story in the family about these was that they belonged to a German Naval officer during WW2. I'm not entirely sure that this is true - I've found that the DDSG was the Danube Steam Shipping Company which was a shipping outfit in Austria. The company may have been in the service of the Germans during the war and this may have hatched the story, or the pieces may have originated with the shipping company and went with one of their captains when he transferred to serve on a German naval vessel.
- The first piece is a coffee or tea pot marked 50cl on the bottom. It is approx 6" tall and 4" at the base. The photos of this piece are marked 50cl.
- The second piece is a tea pot marked 30cl on the bottom. It includes a small strainer that fits inside under the lid. It is approx 5" tall and 3" at the base. The photos of this piece are marked 30cl.
- The third piece is a small lidded pitcher. It is approx 4" tall and 2" at the base. The photos of this piece are marked creamer (although I am not sure of its intended function).
- The fourth piece is an open pitcher. It is approx 3" tall and 2" at the base.
I have included one photo of the group, and individual photos of each piece, the bottom of each piece, and a close up of the markings on each piece. I found information about the DDSG at this web site:
If anybody has more knowledge of this than I, or can help me fill in the story of these pieces I would welcome any information.
Thank you!
My best,
Greg La Vardera

Pamela Coates writes about the article "Travelling for Faith" on February Newsletter:
... Kudos yet another exciting newsletter. Thank you for your continued good works.
One question - the "spoon" that is shown in the Holy Communion set - is that used for the holy wafers? Not being a Catholic, I'm not familiar with this particular piece
Thanks again

Giovanni Ciceri (author of the article) supplies the information obtained by the link
"It is important for us to know that the early Christians used to receive Holy Communion in a completely different manner than the present practice in the East. They received from the celebrant a portion of the consecrated Bread into their hands, and they communed directly from the chalice, exactly the way priests do today. In fact, some of the more ancient liturgies, such as the Alexandrian Liturgy of St. Mark and the Jerusalemite Liturgy of St. Iakovos, still call for the lay people to commune in this way. Because of the fear of accidents, the Church adopted, in time, the use of tongs, with which the elements were mingled together and placed carefully into the mouths of the communicants through this instrument. By the ninth century, the Church changed over to the Communion spoon for the same practical reasons, and it is this practice that remains in place today.>"

Gustav Roos writes
... Dear Giorgio, I write about three Russian silver spoons of which I tried to identify the makers using the information in your website (editor's note: Gustav refers to
spoon 1 - St.Petersburg 1899-1908 (Postnikova-Loseva # 3881
spoon 2 - Moscow 1869
spoon 3 - Moscow 1864 - assayer Aleksandr Nikolaevich Mitin (Postnikova-Loseva # 1175)
I hope you may confirm, correct and complete my observation.
Moreover, in your page dealing with "fakes" there's a mark very similar to the mark of my spoon 3. I don't believe that my spoon is a fake as it belongs to my family from three generations at least.
Thank you for your help
Gustav Roos

I agree with your observation. Your spoons look to be authentic Imperial Russia silver.
Their marks present some incoherence. Anyway I'll try to help you with few observations.
- spoon dated 1812: town mark appears to be Moscow, end of 19th century (not coherent with date). Silversmith and assayer not found
- spoon date 1864: town mark is rubbed, but appears to be Orgeev and not St.Petersburg (an A.M assayer is present in St. Petersburg)
- spoon date 1869: town mark is Moscow, but, unusually, silversmith mark and assayer mark are over-stamped (and not readable)
I trust in the help of ASCAS members for a more qualified examination of your marks.
Giorgio Busetto

Frédéric Madelenat writes:
... I'm trying to find information about my silverware. Can someone identify these marks?
Thank you in advance
Frédéric Madelenat

Replies to questions

Vadim Dardik receives these replies about the marks of his spoons ( see February Newsletter)
Ellen Fuerst writes:
... While I don't recognize the first two marks, I can confirm that the Diana symbol in the five-lobed cartouche was used between 1887 and 1922 in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Because the cartouche is five-lobed (and probably also contains the numerical "3" in the left-hand lobe), the silver piece is 800 silver. There also should be a letter somewhere in the lobes, referring the city of manufacture. A stands for Vienna, B for Linz, C for Prague, etc. through V for Zagreb.
Ellen Fuerst
Dorothea Burstyn writes:
...Re Vadim's question, the master mark (a helmet) is used by the firm of Klinkosch, court jewellers and silversmiths as shown also in the doubleheaded eagle mark. By the way the double headed eagle mark was not only used by purveyors to the court, but also by many other firms who had bought a licence to produce silver. For more info on this see W. Neuwirth: Viennese Silver 1781-1866 Makers-and Company marks, Vienna 2002, page 242-249 Double Eagle marks.
With best regards,
Karin Sixl-Daniell writes:
...The maker’s mark with the helmet is for the purveyor to the Viennese Imperial court, J.C. Klinkosch. The double-headed eagle is the mark that only a purveyor to the court was allowed to use.
With best regards

Giampiero Ierbulla writes about his hand hammered dish ( see March 2006 Newsletter)
... with the help of Anna Clerici, Finarte Auction House, I identified the mark "hammer and S intertwined" presented in March 2006 Newsletter of ASCAS.
It belongs to ditta Mario Soldati, Largo Treves 2, Milan. This firm was bought in 1938 by one of its workers, Marco Dabbene. The firm is still active and belongs to Dabbene family.
I may supply some useful links:
Giampiero Ierbulla

Thomas Richardson receives these replies about his Chinese Silver Coin ( see February Newsletter)
John Lawrence writes:
...A friend has supplied the following information on this coin:
Depending on the size, it appears to be a 4 momme 6 fun silver coin of Akita City of Ugo Province in Northwest Honshu (if it is about 65mm long). If it is about 85mm long it is probably a 9 momme 2 fun from the same place.
John Lawrence


In this column we present a page obtained from makers' brochures, books, auction catalogs, advertising or whatever other printed paper related to silver, which may be of interest for ASCAS members.
The images will be published at a "low resolution" level and for private and personal use only
A 25 shares certificate emitted by by G.B. IZAR - Milano This month ASCAS presents a certificate of 25 'shares' emitted at the beginning of the 20th century by G.B. IZAR - Milano - Fabbrica Italiana di Posateria e Oggetti di Metallo in Genere (IZAR Inc. - Italian Factory of Silverware and Metalware) A 25 shares certificate emitted by by G.B. IZAR - Milano


In this column we presents an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary"
courtesy of home page
silver marrow spoon: London 1704


The long narrow gulley of the spoon, allowed one to remove marrow from the bone. These spoons were widely used during the reign of Queen Anne, when marrow was considered quite a delicacy and meat was a luxury only the rich could afford on a regular basis.
The marrow spoon was made of silver because that would fit in best with the rest of the fancy silver dishes and utensils on a dining room table and, moreover, a wood or a tin marrow spoon would probably break while digging inside the bone........


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 the shelf" of this month is presented by Karin Sixl-Daniell:

THE BOOK OF OLD SILVER - English - American - Foreign     

by Seymour B. Wyler
Crown Publishers, New York, Twentieth Printing, June, 1966 (THE FIRST EDITION was first published in 1937)

As you can see, on the cover it not only says "More Than 20,000 Hallmarks", but also is proud to be "Profusely Illustrated".
THE BOOK OF OLD SILVER  - English - American - Foreign THE BOOK OF OLD SILVER  - English - American - Foreign


Closing our MARCH 2008 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, Giovanni Ciceri, Pamela Coates, Jayne Dye, Ellen Fuerst, Giampiero Ierbulla, Gregory La Vardera, John Lawrence, Robert Massart, Franco Negrini, Francesca Rapposelli, Willand Ringborg, Gustav Roos, Karin Sixl-Daniell, JoAnne Wilkinson for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
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