ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver        newsletter # 90 November 2011     SITE MAP
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A new article for ASCAS website

Top Marked Spoon (Maker's Mark Rubbed) London 1781/2
David McKinley presents:

The Introduction of Mechanical Marking by the London Goldsmiths' Company English version

By the middle of the 18th century the amount of plate passing through "Hall" for hallmarking had increased to the extent that it was becoming desirable to find a way to speed up the process. Of even more importance was the growing problem of fraud. The form of fraud that was causing the greatest concern was transposition which had become prevalent following the introduction of plate duty on 1st June 1720. This is the practice of cutting out legitimate hallmarks from a small item to solder them into a larger piece or cutting them out of old plate, sent to a silversmith for melting and refashioning, so that, again, they could be used on new pieces which were thus never sent in for assay and proper hallmarking....

click here English version     

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Hassett Auguste - England UK
David Beaumont - England UK
Stuart Burley - England UK
Vitor De Andrade Martins - Brazil
Holly Gardner - USA
Christina Hemphill - USA
John Herber - USA
Mike Lynd - England UK
Charmaine Peterson - Amatucci - USA
Corry Van Aerschot - Belgium
Vincenzo Vanarelli - Italy
Angela Wolken - USA
top page - page map

Members' Window # 90

Gorham soup tureen with caved-in base, dented body and cover
Jeffrey Herman presents:

Before and After  English version

I have repaired and reconstructed everything, from historically important tankards, tea services and tureens to disposal-damaged and dishwasher-dulled flatware.

Illustrated are some of the objects I have restored.

This is a large Gorham soup tureen with caved-in base, dented body and cover.
The piece was in a fire and the soot was fused to its surface - not a pretty sight........
click here
 English version 

Mail to ASCAS: e-mail

Steve Roberts writes:
...I'm trying to get some history on this please and the only maker's mark is the Italy 343 on one ear of the lion.
My mother has had this since the late 60s and a number of appraisers have never seen something like it before and referred me to you.
Any suggestions would help tremendously.
Thank you very much.
Steve Roberts
The Italian hallmarking system is based on a mark containing two letters (the Province code) and a number (a progressive number identifying the silversmith) (see my web site at ).
In your item the province code is absent (possibly your item was made for export).
In this case I can only make some hypothesis.
The 343 number is present only in few Provinces (meaning that more of 343 makers were registered in that province).
The possible makers are:
AL 343 Conti Luigi - Valenza
MI 343 Vergani Mario - Milano
FI 343 Masti Gino - Firenze
VI 343 Francese Cesare - Caldogno
All these makers are not active in present days.
My best choice is AL343 Conti Luigi as the firm was active in a district (Valenza Po) well known for gold jewelry manufacture.
Obviously this is only my personal idea and there is no certainty.
Further information about the marks of Italian silversmiths is available at (follow the links to find the various directories).
Giorgio Busetto

Craig Hart writes:
... I submit the hallmarks on a sterling trigger guard of an old French shot-gun.
I was unable to find reference to most of them on your site, only the chicken seem to correspond, slightly different.
I hope will be possible to date the shot-gun by the hallmarks, as gun experts suggested a date from Louis XIV to Napoleon.
Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Craig Hart
An excellent example of silver workmanship applied to a firearm!
Three of the marks of your shot-gun are illustrated in my web site at The presence of the not official mark of the Silversmith's Association dates your item to c. 1795-1797.
I'm unable to identify the maker (lozenge mark with, I believe, EJ) but I hope that someone of ASCAS members will be able to identify the maker.
Giorgio Busetto

Michael Wink writes:
.... I have a silver tea set and I have no idea where it comes from.
Do you still think this also could be Italian? I thought maybe Czek or maybe Belgian......
What do you think?
I wrote also to a silver forum but unfortunately nobody posted an answer yet.
I bought it from a German dealer (she also got this from a German client...)..
Michael Wink
You made the right choice when you decided to contact ASCAS for an answer to your question.
The maker is Ricci & C, Corso Acqui 41/C, Alessandria, Italy.
This piece bears only "800" (silver fineness 800/1000) and the "ReC" maker's mark, meaning that it was manufactured before the introduction of the new Italian hallmarking system (1935) (see my web site at ).
As the firm was active since 1931, the probable date of manufacture lasts between 1931 and 1935 (the Art Deco style of the coffee pot confirms this hypothesis).
A detailed article about Ricci & C. and its marks is available in ASCAS website at
Giorgio Busetto

Julio P. Marini writes:
...I'm sending to you some marks for me unknown. I'm trying to find them in internet, in my books, but nothing!
At the beginning I was thinking it's a Russian sugar bowl...
The little spoon has a space in the back where it can be put.
Thank you for helping me and for your useful and interesting website!
Best regards,
Julio P. Marini
I am unable to identify the marks of your item.
Your piece is made as a scuttle sugar bowl, similar to many examples present in English silver of late 19th/beginning 20th century.
The 13 was used in German area to identify 13 loth silver (812,5/1000 silver fineness).
The other marks are in the style of Russian silver.
I do not exclude to be in presence of fake marks or a Hanau silver unknown to me.
I trust on ASCAS members for the solution of this little mystery.
Giorgio Busetto

Pietro Rampazzo writes:
... I submit the attached photos of a flatware set contained in a very heavy oak box, consisting of 38 pcs.: 6 table forks, 6 dessert forks, 6 table spoons, 6soup spoons, 6 tea spoons, 6 egg spoons, 2 sauce ladles.
Also included in the case are 6 knives with whitish Bakelite handles with no marks. "Gilpin ltd. Sheffield stainless" is engraved in the blades.
The engraved label on the box shows the dedication of this present from a distinguished English family, and I presume it dates back to the beginning of the past century.
To my modest knowledge the photos identify the James Dixon silver plate production, the trumpet and banner marks being unequivocal.
Nothing can I guess about the other engraved letters.
May I ask you to kindly examine the photos and let me have your opinion as well as an explanation of the various symbols?
Thank you and best regards
Pietro Rampazzo
The flatware, in addition to Dixon's trade mark, bears the letters H and Ld. At first glance I thought that the set was made by William Hutton Ltd (incorporated in James Dixon & Sons in 1930), but further research lead to identify the "H Ld" as the mark of Harrods Ltd, London. In my web site I present similar examples combining "trumpet", "H Ld" and HARRODS logo (see at
In this case, Dixon was the maker of the set while Harrods was the retailer.
The A1 is a symbol indicating the quality of the plating (Superior Quality). Information in my page
Giorgio Busetto

Vladimir writes:
... I need your help to identify the marks of a set of knives and, possibly, who is the owner of their crest.
Best regards
Your knives were made in France in the period 1798/1809 (950/1000 silver fineness)
See my web site at
Any suggestion the maker and the crest will be appreciated.
Giorgio Busetto

Replies to questions

Fran Isaacson receives these answers about his Gorham cigar lighter 
(see October 2011 Newsletter)
Samuel Hough writes:
... The 010 code indicates that the Cigar Lighter is electroplate. The "S" following "Silver" may be for silver soldered, the usage in the American trade to indicate plated ware. The Gorham Archives at Brown University should have records indicating when and how the piece was first made.
Samuel Hough
Jeffrey Herman
... I actually repaired that same piece - it's plated
Jeffrey Herman
Oskar M. Zurell
... The lighter is indeed an interesting functional and nice collectible!
If you would study again the questions part of the markings, you would see that the word 'SILVER' is written in a typographical form of a big capital 'S' and 'ILVER' in small capitals - then there follows again a big capital 'S', with a dot as stop.
It's a short form of the indication, that the lighter is 'SILVER SOLDERED' - that's a kind of quality-indication, how the parts of an item of hollowware, made from e.g. brass, nickel-silver ... were fit together. Usual is being 'SILVER SOLDERED' for hollowware which use is 'strong' in e.g. restaurants ...
The other production method of fitting parts together is not as strong as the former one, it is 'tin soldered', seldom had 'lead soldered'.
Then after normally all these articles were electro plated in several ranges of quality - the highest range is e.g. 'quadruple plate' or 'A1'. But there are also usual some other words or letter to indicate the several ranges of plating.
For collectors it's very helpful if on the object of desire is visible an indication being 'SILVER SOLDERED' - then the object is almost plated.
Oskar M. Zurell

Manuel Lema receives this answer about his spoon 
(see October 2011 Newsletter)
Dorothea Burstyn writes:
... The spoon is in the beautiful Bacchanalian pattern, originally designed by Thomas Stothard for Rundell Bridge and Rundell. (Stothard most famous work is the Wellington Shield - today in Apsley House in London).
The earliest pieces of Bacchanalian date to 1812 and are made by Paul Storr and his successors.
Bacchanalian is a rare pattern, most of the earlier pieces are parcel-gilt.
Dorothea Burstyn

Piero Eduardo receives an additional answer about the mark of his pipe 
(see October 2011 Newsletter)
Joanne Wiertella writes:
... The "Swastika" is derived from the Sanskrit word Svasti, meaning "well-being".
The sign dates from pre-historic times, and for thousands of years it has been used as a symbol of the sun/solar energy (Aryan), infinity (China), and continuing re-creation (Buddhism), as well as a decorative motif in the Americans, China, Europe, Greece and Scandinavia. It has been found in the catacombs of Rome, on textiles of the Inca period, and on relics unearthed at Troy.
In the early 1900's in the United States, the Swastika motif was quite popular, and primarily associated with Native Americans. From a 1907 sales catalog: "Very popular at the present time, the Swastika is an old Indian symbol for good luck, long life, happiness and prosperity, brought to the wearer by the four winds of Heaven represented by the four arms of the cross." Most jewelers and art metal manufacturers offered Swastika lines. For example, the Weidlich Jewelry Company advertised souvenir spoons and jewelry in 1907. The Brainard & Wilson Company manufactured and sold a desk set. And some catalogs devoted entire pages to this motif.
Joanne Wiertella


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
a 1902 advertisement of George W. Shiebler & Co, Fiorito pattern
This month ASCAS presents an October 1902 advertisement published in The Jewelers' Circular - Weekly:
by Geo. W. Shiebler & Co
5 and 7 Maiden Lane, New York
The firm was established by George W. Shiebler in 1876.
In the first the firm produced only spoons and forks, expanding its line to the largest variety of novelties existing at the time.
In 1892 the firm was incorporated as George W. Shiebler & Co ad was in business until 1910 when the firm was dissolved.
The advertisement presents (left to right) Tea Spoon Peony, Dessert Spoon Poppy, Table Spoon Clematis, Table Fork Tulip, Dessert Fork Iris.
The Fiorito pattern was introduced in 1902


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 fish slice


The earliest examples of fish slice were made c. 1735. They were shaped as a triangular pointed trowel, often with round corners with pierced decorations.
Their use was to drain and serve small fishes directly from the pan. After c. 1745 the outline became symmetrically elliptical as they were used to separate and serve portions of a larger fish.
Later examples changed to asymmetrical shape with one blunt and undulating edge rising to a point nearly midway, while the other edge was convex and sharp.
The scimitar blade was introduced c. 1780 and was highly popular until c. 1800...... 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
Henry Wilkinson & Co, silver plate mark  


It is difficult to trace the origin of the firm in the 18th and the first part of the 19th century, owing to the complexity of intertwined partnerships involving the numerous firms active in Sheffield in the silver business. The Chronology until 1829 is only a hypothesis largely based on Frederick Bradbury's book on Old Sheffield Plate (first published in 1912).
Anyway, Henry Wilkinson & Co, Plate Worker, Norfolk Street, Sheffield entered its first mark in the Sheffield Assay Office on September 24, 1831.....


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: Contemporary Silver Made in Italy

Made in Italy

by Eva Czernis-Ryl
Powerhouse Publishing and Lund Humphries
Australia and United Kingdom
- 2004 -
Contemporary Silver: Made In Italy is the first book to tell the story of Italian silverware of the last three decades. Italy has a long and rich history of decorative precious metalwork which has contributed to its achievements in the twentieth century. However, the preference for styles of the past, and the emblematic quality of silver as a material traditionally associated with the elite, hindered technical and stylistic innovation for some time. Contemporary silver showcases the work of major Italian architects and designers such as Ettore Sottsass Jr, Carlo Scarpa, Alessandro Mendini and Robert Venturi, Italian design companies such as Alessi and Memphis, and leading silversmithing studios. It also features designs and work produced for Italian firms by some of the most acclaimed international architects such as Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Charles Jencks, Richard Meier and Kazumasa Yamashita. It will be invaluable for collectors, consumers and design historians.

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Closing our November 2011 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, Craig Hart, Jeffrey Herman, Samuel Hough, Julio P. Marini, David McKinley, Pietro Rampazzo, Steve Roberts, Vladimir, Joanne Wiertella, Michael Wink, Oskar M. Zurell for their invaluable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto
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 periodical newsletters, e-mails and web-site updating 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 legislation about Intellectual Property.
ASCAS does not have the full addresses of its members (only town, country and e-mail address are requested for membership).
ASCAS handles and protects with care its members' e-mail addresses, will not disclose the addresses to third parties, will use this information only to reply to requests received from members and for communications strictly related to its activity.
These rules are expressly accepted by submitting the membership request.
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