ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver         newsletter # 16 AUGUST 2005

Two new articles for ASCAS website

Cast tongs with shell cups - Charles Hougham - London c.1775
Graham Hodges presents:

Georgian Silver Sugar Tongs of the period 1770 to 1820,

A well documented article on English silver sugar tongs of a period that saw the change from tea tongs, through cast sugar tongs, to the standard style of this item.
click here

silver gilt ewer from the 'Treasure of Seuso'
Giorgio Busetto presents:

Buried treasures - Tesori sepolti,

To bury the silver to prevent enemies' robberies is an ancient practice, still surviving in recent times.
This articles deals with the finding of some of these unknown treasures.
The article is available in double version

English English version / Italiano>  Italiano

New members

Welcome to new ASCAS members:  

Nina Brunel - USA
Martine D'Haeseleer - Spain
Lillian Greenberg - USA
Nigel Haddow - England UK
Murray James - Canada
Diana McIlvaine - USA
Colin Morrison - England UK
Eleanor Pinault - USA
Martin Pye - England UK
Yvonne Riches - Australia
Bill Sehl - USA
Neale Talbot-Scobie - Australia
Iris Terral - USA
Fred E. Zweig - USA


Members' Window # 16

Robert Garrard silver teapot
Giovanni Ciceri presents:

Three excellent Victorian teapots / Tre teiere di qualità di Epoca Vittoriana

a well documented description of an engraved, a neo-gothic and an Indian ethnic decorated teapot of the 19th century.
The article is available in double version
English version / Italiano  Italiano


Questions from ASCAS members

Genni Grassi
requests your help to decipher the marks of her Victorian teapot.

marks of Birmingham plate I believe that the date mark on the body of the teapot looking to be 'u' into a circle is instead 'n' into a circle into a circle (upside down, corresponding to Birmingham 1887/88), while the date letter on the cover is 'u' into a squareinto a square (corresponding to 1894/95).
This wouldn't be surprising, signifying only that che cover was manufactured some years later than the teapot.
But the 1887/88 hallmark is lacking of the 'duty mark' with Victoria's head (whose use ceased in 1889/90).
I'm a bit confused and maybe something is wrong. I hope that ASCAS members more acquainted with English silver will clarify this apparent incoherence.


Randy Vanhoose writes:
I have this crumb butler. I have looked at hundreds and hundreds of makers marks and touch marks in book after book. I cannot identify the maker, town or purity. It remains however, very beautiful and highly hand decorated with flowers and leaves. It is 12 1/2 inches long and 3 inches wide. The piece is very heavy.
The rat tail handle should be a hint of its age. There is a highly decorated band between the handle and the rat tail. I have enclosed a hand rendering of the marks for your viewing pleasure.
Would you be so kind as to take a peek at the piece and perhaps tell me what the marks mean or maybe someone can identify them for me.
Forever in your debt.


Hymie Dinerstein writes:
I have bought a pair of unusual unmarked silver frames.
The larger one is 13.8 cms long from the top of the handle and 8.8 cms accross. They are identical apart from the difference in size. The backs are enamelled in deep blue and the fronts have hair arrangements. The front of the frames have identical fine eighteenth century feather engraving.
On the reverse below the larger silver frame is engraved in fine Script 'Acaric 1908' and on the smaller frame is engraved 'John 1908' I believe these names and dates were put on in 1908 and the frames are late eighteenth century.
I would appreciate anybody's help. Thanks
H Dinerstein

This isn't an easy task! Do someone have some suggestion?


What is this piece ???

Lillian Greenberg writes:
I have found two similar pieces on the web but I have not discovered for what these urns were used. The top and bottom open. They are hinged.
The height is 3 5/8" (cm.9) and it is marked on the inside of the bottom lid.
The mark is an impressed rectangle with unidentifiable (to me) item(s) on the left but ends in o5, o3, or oS.
The piece is gilded on the inside. It is engraved around the upper section below the figure HTD 1846. On the bottom is engraved HT? over AC(?)D. All of the engraving is composed of small dots and written in a simple script.
Thank you in advance for any information that can be provided.
Best regards, Lillian Greenberg

what is this item? what is this item?
what is this item? what is this item?
(click on images to enlarge)

The hinged bottom is unusual for me, but perhaps one of ASCAS members would know the use of this object.
Giorgio Busetto


Replies to members' questions

crest The Phoebe's spoons question of Jerry Hogan (July Newsletter) have received these replies:


Rafe Nottage writes:
Those "Phoebe" markings are the Electro Plate markings for Harrison Brothers & Howson
Marks used:- HH, HB&H
Trademark:- a five point crown
Originally known as Harrison Brothers (from 1849) this Sheffield manufacturer took on Howson as a partner in 1862. The majority of flatware produced by them was EPNS, however some silver items can be found. They also produced good quality cased sets of carvers, fruit eaters and fish eater/server sets. They still trade today.

Norma L. Young writes:
for Jerry Hogan's : spoons with a nautical "Phoebe" crest ?
- whomever tested these as sterling silver needs to learn better about both plated marks and testing silver !
- marks are British or Commonwealth origin (ie Canada, Australia etc ) and not mid-19th century cutlery style, but late 19th century markings.
- a 'naval coronet' device does not mean a ship of British Royal Navy by any means .... the late 19th century marks rule out any HMS Phoebe (there are 3 or more by that name, including one launched circa 1939)
-most likely is SS Phoebe, built 1851, & by 1857 owned by Union Line (later Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co) & used on Southampton to Cape Town mail service to 1861. Then acquired by New Zealand Steam Shipping Co. & by 1876 absorbed into Union S.S.Co of New Zealand . 1878 was sold to Newcastle, NSW (Australia) owners. In 1901 she was hulked and was scrapped in 1904.
- mail ships also carried paying passengers, so long-wearing plated cutlery would be a necessity and even today's cruise ships employ heavy plated flatware in all levels of dining rooms ( just travelled on Q. Mary 2, as first class passengers, and our exclusive dining room had plated flatware! )
- as each owner would have spent some money to refit a ship on purchase, its very likely by 1876 or 1878 her new owners acquired new furnishings, changed some decor, and laid on more cutlery from a UK or Commonwealth supplier, hence seeing Phoebe pieces with late 19th century plated marks.
- flatware from hotels and cruising ships does manage to get all around the world to the most far-flung places, often 'liberated' as souvenirs from a trip

I'm aware that Jerry was highly disappointed discovering that his spoons are not sterling silver of 18th century, but I hope he will renounce to his threat of ... throwing those three spoons out the window of my moving truck, and into the desert....
They are, anyway, an interesting witness of 19th century navy.
Giorgio Busetto



Dutch serving spoon Janjaap Luijt replies to the question of John Imhoff (July Newsletter) about his silver serving spoon:

The object Richard Reinhart asked for information is a 20th century Dutch fish server made for export to England and the States. The decoration is a so-called Old-Dutch scene. In the decoration of the top of the spoon one will probably find the maker's mark. The date letter B is indeed that of 1911.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Janjaap Luijt

jewel hallmark Sam Mitchell's question about the hallmark of his Danish jewel (July Newsletter) has received this reply by Norma L. Young:

The Scandinavian brooch (Solje) has a 830S mark which indicates modern manufacture, ie 20th century. These brooches were usually worn by married ladies in Norway (and the 830S mark can be found in that country) on their fancy regional Costumes, each area having a different style of brooch to distinguish them from women in another town.


jewel hallmark John Imhoff requested to identify the maker and the pattern of his set of flatware (July Newsletter).This is the reply of Norma L. Young:

John Imhoff 's sterling is Wellesley pattern, by International Silver Co., USA, produced 1912 and thereafter, discontinued at unknown date (when sending in photos for identification, on North American patterns, people should include the entire handle, from where it meets the back of bowl for example to the tip as this is very helpful to see how far the pattern extends etc).
Lots of re-sale web sites show odd pieces available in the States.



book cover: Epergne - Elkington & Co. Birmingham 1885
English version The Fondazione Palazzo Coronini Cronberg (Coronini Cronberg Foundation) of Gorizia (Italy) is known by ASCAS members through the article published by Serenella Ferrari Benedetti on Setpember 2004 Newsletter ( A Napoleonic sugar bowl from an Italian Museum ).
The Foundation has a wide collection (over 1300 pieces) of Russian, English, German, Austrian, Danish, French and, obviously, Italian silver tableware from 17th to 20th century.
The Foundation has just published the book Argenti da tavola e posate (Silver tableware and silverware) containing the complete catalog and a look to the archival documents of this section of its silver collection.
The book presents 277 inventory sheets, each with a photo and a wide description of the piece, its marking and provenance. Of great interest is the section with the photographic representations and description of the hallmarks (over 400). A photographic gallery with high quality color images complete the book.
The book is in Italian, but its excellent photographic outfit may be of general interest.
The cost of the book is 62 Euros and may be requested to:
Fondazione Palazzo Coronini Cronberg
Viale XX Settembre 14 - 34170 Gorizia - Italy
fax (39) 0481/547222 - e-mail address: or
Italiano La Fondazione Palazzo Coronini Cronberg è già nota ai soci dell'ASCAS attraverso l'articolo pubblicato nella Newsletter di Settembre 2004 dalla Dr.ssa Serenella Ferrari Benedetti ( Una zuccheriera napoleonica da un museo poco conosciuto).
La Fondazione ha una vasta collezione (oltre 1300 pezzi) di argenteria da tavola Russa, Inglese, Tedesca, Austriaca, Francese e, ovviamente, Italiana dal XVII al XX secolo.
La fondazione Coronini Cronberg ha appena pubblicato il volume Argenti da tavola e posate con il catalogo completo di questa parte della sua vasta collezione di argenti ed una rassegna dei documenti di archivio inerenti a questa raccolta.
Il libro contiene 277 schede del catalogo degli argenti, ognuna con la foto ed i dettagli del punzone e della provenienza del pezzo. Di grande interesse è anche la sezione dedicata alla rappresentazione fotografica e alla descrizione dei punzoni (oltre 400). Infine, il libro è completato da una bella rassegna fotografica a colori di alcuni dei pezzi più significativi.
Il prezzo del libro è di 62 Euro. Può essere ordinato contattando:
Fondazione Palazzo Coronini Cronberg
Viale XX Settembre 14 - 34170 Gorizia
telef.0481/533485 fax 0481/547222
e-mail: oppure

Argenti da tavola e posate
a cura di Cristina Bragaglia Venuti, Simonetta Brazza, Serenella Ferrari Benedetti, Luca Geroni
Edit. Umberto Allemandi & C.
Closing our August newsletter I hope you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.
My thanks to Giovanni Ciceri, Hymie Dinerstein, Jayne Dye, Serenella Ferrari Benedetti, Genni Grassi, Lillian Greenberg, Graham Hodges, Rafe Nottage, Randy Vanhoose, Norma L. Young for their highly valuable contributions.

Giorgio Busetto

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