Robert Massart presents:
French Inventory Marks (Poinçons de recense)
Le Poinçons de Recense en France - 1722-1984
Fraud is of all time and, in order to counter it, the French
government always fought against it by introducing more
sophisticated defense systems. Particularly silversmithing did
not escape from fraud, theft of hallmarks, imitations and
forgery. In order to avert this, and because marks had been
counterfeited, the government, during the "Ancien Régime",
created in 1722 the inventory mark and organised the first free
census. Since that date inventory means that, after a
certain date, all preceding marks lose their value and all
articles need new marks. 'Recenser' (inventorying or
verification), means an official counting of golden and silver
articles before they are sold......
Welcome to new ASCAS members:
Paul Bele - Australia
Angela Goins - USA
Trond Hjerpseth - Norway
James E. Williams - USA
Olga Wright - Australia
Mike Jeanes writes:
...I am wondering if you can help me with a recent purchase, as
there are things I do not understand about it.
The item is a silver cake basket as photos attached, which I
recently purchased from a seller in France on eBay.
You will see the normal UK hallmarks for 1775 and the makers
mark of W.P (William Plummer), who is well known for his pierced
However in addition there are two French (Paris) hallmarks of
Minerva which would have been applied after 1838 if I understand
My problem is that I assume such marks would only be applied to
silver being purchased for sale in France, rather than silver
brought across from the UK by someone emigrating to France. If
this is right, then why would a silver dealer purchase a second
hand item of UK silver for sale in France? After all, France has
an excellent tradition of silver manufacture itself.
You can clearly see from the mark on the base that the mark has
slightly damaged the armorial shield on the inside, so clearly
the armorial was already in place when the French mark was
applied. Why would anyone of the time want a piece of silver
bearing someone else's armorials?
Also, why would two marks be required on the same body of silver?
There are also no marks, UK or French on the handle, which I
find rather odd.
It is interesting that the shield is that of a lady (or possibly
a clergyman) being a lozenge shape, rather than that of a
gentleman, but that is irrelevant to my query.
Any information you can supply would be very much appreciated.
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
This month ASCAS presents an 1896 advertisement
ROGERS & HAMILTON
The firm was founded in 1886 taking over the
spoon business of Holmes, Booth & Haydens. The
president was Charles Alfred Hamilton who had
travelled for Rogers & Bros for some years. William
H. Rogers, secretary and stakeholder, wasn't a
silversmith and undoubtedly participated to the
business to add "Rogers" to the company name.
Rogers Brothers were the main and best renowned
American silverplate makers and many other firms,
often having no link with them, were founded to take
advantage of the name
'Rogers' for their business.
The firm was active at Waterbury (CT) with branch
offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco,
Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Rogers & Hamilton was one of the original companies
International Silver Company in 1898.
"A WORD per MONTH"
In this column we
present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver
Bell is a hollow metallic object that vibrates and
emits a musical note when struck.
The main bells made in silver are:
- a bell in the form of an inverted cup with a vertical
handle and a clapper inside. The handle is usually
baluster-shaped with a ball finial. Sometimes they have
the shape of a ring or of a human figure. Smaller bells
were the central unit of an inkstand but, being a
separate piece, often they have survived apart from
their inkstand Table and inkstand bells were used to
call a servant to do an errand.....
"A SILVERSMITH per MONTH"
PAIRPOINT BROTHERS, SILVERSMITHS IN LONDON
The firm was founded in 1848
by Edward James Pairpoint. The original address was 44
Whitcomb Street, Leicester Square but the firm soon
moved to 16 Litchfield Street and later to 44 Greek
In 1856 Edward James Pairpoint entered into partnership
with George Wood and the firm was renamed Pairpoint &
The partnership was dissolved in 1850 and E.J. Pairpoint
continued the business alone until the closure for
bankrupt in 1879.....
"A BOOK ON MY SHELF"
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:
SMALL ANTIQUE SILVERWARE
by G. Bernard Hughes
Bramhall House - New York
(from the cover page of the book)
Increasingly in recent years collectors have been buying
the smaller antiques made in silver. They are often
useful, generally not too expensive, and they are always
attractive. Up to now, however, no single authoritative
work has provided a reliable guide for the dealer and
collector. With this book, illustrated by no less than
250 examples, a renowned authority, G. Bernard Hughes,
has provided just the guide whose lack has hitherto so
conspicuously been felt.....
Closing our OCTOBER 2015 edition of ASCAS Newsletter I hope
you have appreciated its content.
Your comments, suggestions and advice will be of great help.
My thanks to Ludo D' Haese, Mike Jeanes and Robert Massart for
their precious contributions.
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.
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