ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver         newsletter # 25 May 2006
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Two new articles for ASCAS website

Saint Gregory icon

Pierre Gagnaux presents:

Story of a forgery English version
Histoire de faux français

a fake icon and a fake silver 'riza'.
How to discover a well planned theft

English English version Français français

K&O, 1906-10, Aster/Daisy/Pinks

Joanne Wiertella presents:

American Art Metal Jewelry Boxes 1900-1925 English version

Jewel boxes, also called 'caskets', gained great favor -from the tiniest ring box to the very large handkerchief and glove boxes. They were made of cast metal, first plated with copper, then with silver or gold.
Joanna Wiertella offers an introduction to American Metal Jewelry Boxes from 1900 - 1925 from her book on these fascinating objects.

click here


New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Sharon Bares - USA
Michael Blake - England UK
David Elyea - USA
Sheila Felker - USA
Fritz Guercke - Germany
Miles Harrison - England UK
Hilda Hayson - USA
Karl Ickes - USA
Glen Jacobs - New Zealand
Maria Letizia Lombardi - Italy
Pauline McClafferty - Canada
Mimi Sansbury - USA
Donna Schoyen - Canada
Pat Steen - Northern Ireland UK
Hada Shamma - UAE
Roland Swälas - Sweden
Alan Taylor - England UK


Members' Window # 25

Carl Peter Foght sterling silver bowl
Hymie Dinerstein presents:

A Danish sterling silver bowl English version

A Danish bowl or drinking vessel with a swan holding the bowl, possibly made to commemorate the fairy story 'The ugly duckling' by Hans Christian Andersen.
click here English version

Questions from ASCAS members

Lars Björkman writes:
...... I have a question concerning half a dozen of Scottish dessert spoons made by Robert Gray & Son in Glasgow but hallmarked in Edinburgh 1814 (Glasgow did not have hallmark rights at that time). My problem is that I do not know whom to ask for the family/clan crest on the up-side of the spoon.
I have gone through hundreds of crests, some of which are similar but none has exactly the same arm holding the weapon which looks like a flail. You must have contacts among Scottish silver experts who can help out with this
Best regards from Gothenburg where finally the snow is melting away!
Lars Björkman


Hymie Dinerstein writes
.....enclosed are photos of a hoof-opped spoon, silver gilt, with mother of pearl flat bowl (unmarked) which I believe is 17th Century.
Have your readers ever seen one like this.
Any comments will be welcome
H. Dinerstein


Carmen Damian writes:
... hello!
this is a wonderful candy dish, diameter 15 cm, h=7 cm, weights=260 g, but have only mark 'E 69 800'-
What can be?
Regards, Carmen


Greg Montana writes:
... Hello Giorgio, I mentioned to you a couple of months ago that if I purchase this cross I will send the pictures for your newsletter. Here are the pictures of a silver cross which was a possession of the last Empress of Russia Alexandra Feodorovna. The engraving is in Russian Church Slavonic and says:
The storehouse of Her Imperial Majesty, Empress of Russia Alexandra Feodorovna.
Its provenance: it belonged to a Russian noble family in England.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Greg Montana

This is the opinion of Pierre Gagnaux, known to ASCAS members for his articles about Russian silver (an article is published also in this Newsletter):
...For the russian piece of silver, it dates between 1908-1917, Moscow, and the silversmith is Vasily Semenov. The quality is not good enough for an Imperial present to an important person. I think it was a simple gift for somebody who has something to do with the Russian Empire. There are thousands of gifts made to people working around the Imperial family and this cross has a very simple engraving, partially machine made. I think it was a gift for a nurse or somebody equivalent as it's really too cheap for a noble or a dignitary. It may possibly belong to a noble family, but in this case the family was of little importance.
Anyway this is an interesting and nice piece but of moderate interest for me.

Svein Solhjell writes:
... I would like to find out more (origin and date especially) about this antique salt.
Here I send a picture showing the hallmarks. GG for the maker, I think, and the interesting one: Above the line 3 'fishes' and below it may be a sort of I2, perhaps IL or maybe a n?
Svein Solhjell


Ian Crowland writes:
... I have been trying to research the silver item shown in attachments.
Having slaved over page upon page of heraldic pages I have given up and remain undecided as to the origins of this piece be it Russian or German.
There is no hallmark to help and the only markings are shown in the third attachment. I guess that the piece is 'plated' an assumption based on the lack of a hallmark.
I would welcome any help on this item and thank you in advance.


Georgetta Schnurr writes:
...I'm looking for any information on a tea set that I have acquired and I hope that maybe you can help me. I need help on identifying the stamps on it. In order the stamps are:
a cat with it's right paw held up and it's head facing towards you, two Gothic looking letters that appear to be P S and a five point crown.
Thank you so much for your time.
Georgetta Schnurr



Replies to members' questions

P-G Begin receives this reply about his wine tester question ( see April Newsletter)
Charles C. Cage writes:
Regarding P-G Beghin¹s wine taster, I believe it is from Dijon, France, 1775-76. 'Les orfèvres de Bourgogne' by Armand de Chassey, et al. (Paris: Éditions du Patrimone, 1999) identifies the marks as follows:
Z, crowned: Dijon warden¹s mark, used Jul 1775-Jul 1776
P, crowned: Dijon excise ('charge' mark), used 1775-1781 (no discharge mark used during this period)
F, below the arms of Dijon: the maker's mark. This exact mark is not found in 'Les orfèvres de Bourgogne', but it strongly resembles that of Jean-Baptiste Foucherot (1754-after 1799, master 1779). As it cannot be Foucherot's (who did not become a master until 1779 and therefore could not have used a mark in 1775-76), I suspect it is that of his father Pierre Foucherot (1727-1807, master 1750), whose mark is not illustrated.
The excise mark is properly called the 'charge' mark. In the practice of the time, a French silversmith would strike his mark on a roughly shaped item and then take it to the Guild hall where the wardens would test it for purity and stamp it with their mark, a date letter (here, Z) which changed annually. Then he would take the piece to the 'tax farmer' who would weigh the piece, charge the appropriate duty and stamp it with his 'charge' mark (for Dijon, the letter P, crowned). After this procedure, the silversmith was free to complete the piece.
Once done, he would return the piece to the tax farmer in finished condition, where it would again be weighed and the amount of duty reconciled with the piece's finished weight.
Then the item was struck with the farmer's 'discharge' mark, and the silversmith was free to sell the piece or deliver it to his patron.
'Les orfèvres de Bourgogne' was indicating by the 'pas de décharge' notation that the tax farmer of 1775-1781 did not use a discharge mark. Therefore, the second mark's description should read as follows:
P, crowned: Dijon excise (or 'charge' mark), used 1775-1781; no discharge mark used during this period.
Charles C. Cage


Les Salvage receives this reply about his butter knife question ( see April Newsletter) '
Geoffrey Axt writes:
.... in response to Les Salvage's inquiry about his butter knife, the object was made by Henry Hobson & Son at 92 Queen Street, Sheffield.
This firm of manufacturing silversmiths specialized in cutlery.
Reference: The Directory of Gold and Silversmiths (1838-1914) by John Culme, Vol. 1, page 233.
Kindest regards,
Geoffrey Axt


"A page per month"

In this column we present a page (one page only) obtained from makers' brochures, books, auction catalogs or whatever other printed paper, that may be of particular interest for ASCAS members.
The images will be published at a "low resolution" level and for private and personal use only


a page of the book Old Sheffield Plate by Edward Wenham This month ASCAS presents the images of two 'old sheffield plate' objects:
- cucumber slicer, c. 1830
- lantern with bead mounts, c. 1795

This image is a page of the book "Old Sheffield Plate" by Edward Wenham
G. Bell and Sons, Ltd
London, 1955

book Old Sheffield Plate by Edward Wenham

Encyclopédie Diderot & D'Alambert: Orfèvre-Bijoutier: Planche V
In April Newsletter (click here) ASCAS presented the images of ancient silversmith's tools from Planche V 'Outils' of L'Encyclopèdie Diderot & D'Alambert, coupled to the table of the corresponding 'legend' containing the French name of each tool. I'm still unable to offer the complete English translation of the page, but some useful information was obtained from the RIO GRANDE (Albuquerque) sale catalog "Tools & Equipment 2004".
Giorgio Busetto

The Jewelers Basic Hand Tool Kit illustrated below comprises; saw frame, saw blades, pliers (plain, round, chain) and cutters, straight blade shears, mallet, chasing hammer, forming hammer, riveting hammer, finger gauge set, cut hand files (flat, half-round, hal-round ring, square and barrette), cut needle files (equalling three square, half round, round, square, barrette), tweezer, bent burnisher, bench pin and anvil...


files: barrette, half-round ring, half-round, square, flat chasing tool set
files: barrette, half-round ring, half-round, square, flat
chasing tool set

set of files hammer: ball peen, chasing, lead-filled mallet, brass-head, riveting
set of files: half-round, barrette, three-square, round, equalling, warding, square, crossing, knife, round-off
hammer: ball peen, chasing, lead-filled mallet, brass-head, riveting

# Table Encyclopèdie French Table
English name English name
bigorne d'établi = bench anvil
# 3 bench anvil (round horn and flat horn)
marteaux = hammer
# 7- 8 goldsmith's hammer for riveting and shaping
ciselets = chasing tools
# 13-14-15-16-17 chasing tools
lime = file
# 30 flat file - # 31 half-round ring file -
# 33 knife file - # 35 rat-tail file

Italiano Grazie al cortese aiuto di Paolo Leonelli ASCAS è in grado di fornire anche la traduzione in italiano della maggior parte degli attrezzi contenuti nella tavola dell'Encyclopèdie Diderot & D'Alambert. Alcuni degli attrezzi sono poco decifrabili nell'illustrazione, ma nella maggior parte sono ancora utilizzati nelle (poche) botteghe ancora operanti in Italia (il # corrisponde a quello indicato sulla tavola dell'Encyclopèdie):
Attrezzi da argentiere e cesellatore:
1) Tasso B supporto in legno - 2)Tasso da banco - 3) Bicornia da banco A punta quadrata B punta tonda 4) Piatto con pece per cesello - 5) Martello in legno ? - 6) Martello in legno ? - 7) Martello da cesellatore o mazzetta - 8) Martello da cesellatore o mazzetta - 9) Bottoniera - 10) Fino a 20) scalpelli e ferri da cesello - 21) e 22) Punte per trapano ad arco - 23) Trapano ad arco - 24) e 25) Punte per smaltare ? - 26) e 27) Limette - 28) e 29) Brunitori - 30) Lima piana - 31) Lima mezza tonda - 32) Lima quadrata - 33) Lima a coltello - 34) Lima a triangolo - 35) Lima a coda di topo - 36) Lima ovale - 37) Raspa - 38) Raspa mezza tonda - 39) Raspa quadrata - 40) Raspa a coda di topo - 41) Limette da traforo varie sagome
Paolo Leonelli organizzerà tra poco un corso di sbalzo e cesello (vedi sotto per maggiori informazioni)


What is this piece ???

Mary Clarke 'mystery items'( see April Newsletter) receives this reply:

Paolo Leonelli writes:

.... I believe that the items of Mary Clarke on 'What is this piece ???' (April Newsletter) are a roast fork and a knife sharpener belonging, maybe, to a travel set.

Italiano Un'altra informazione che può interessare i lettori italiani:
ad ottobre darò il via al primo corso di sbalzo e cesello destinato a tutte le persone che per hobby o per lavoro sono interessate ad apprendere questa antica tecnica di lavorazione del metallo. Il corso si svolgerà a Roma. Tra poco sarà visibile sul sito Internet la scheda del corso base.
Chi fosse interessato può contattarmi e sarò lieto di dare maggiori informazioni.
Paolo Leonelli



Closing our MAY 2006 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.

My thanks to Geoffrey Axt (USA), Lars Björkman (Sweden), Charles C. Cage (USA), Ian Crowland (UK), Carmen Damian (Romania), Jayne Dye (USA), Hymie Dinerstein (UK), Pierre Gagnaux (Switzerland), Paolo Leonelli (Italy), Greg Montana (Canada), Svein Solhjell (Norway), Georgetta Schnurr (USA), Joanne Wiertella (USA), for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
ASCAS is a community of people having a common interest in antique silver.
It is a no-profit association without commercial links. Membership is open to whomever have a true interest in this subject matter.
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