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  Is this Christofle? how old?

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Author Topic:   Is this Christofle? how old?
Janice (Cannon)
unregistered
posted 12-01-2002 10:20 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have two spoons larger than our contemporary soup spoons, quite heavy. Hallmarks in the bowl just at top edge. On one side are two boxes one with: 84G, the other with: METAL BLANC. On the opposite side of the handle but still in the bowl is another box with a musical staff containing two 1/8th notes and under this the letters: STDO (or SIDO). Would like to reconfirm that this is Christofle and what year. Thanks very much.

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 12-02-2002 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know little about plated ware or Christofle, but since no one else has answered, I'll throw in a couple of thoughts in the hope that someone with more solid information will add to them.

The key is the company mark of a musical note - I have no recollection ever seing it mentioned in connection with Christofle (nor anyone else for that matter). The "STDO" could be a short form company name or some other abbreviation.

What makes me doubt that these spoons are Christofle are the two 'quality marks'. It is plausible to view the '84g' as a weight based quality mark in the system used by several European countries although I don't believe French law ever recognized that system. If it is that, then it represents the lower end of the quality range in that system. I see this as decreasing the likelihood of these spoons being by Christofle.

The second mark 'Metal Blanc' is equally difficult to associate with Christofle who were a leader in this sector for so many decates that 'Metal Christofle' has entered several languages as a synonym for silverplated nickel-silver. For them to use such a lower quality base is unlikely IMHO.

Still, this is only tentative, a conclusive answer to the question can only be provided by a verifiable attribution of the 'musical note'-mark.

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 12-02-2002).]

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vathek

Posts: 837
Registered: Jun 99

posted 12-02-2002 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most Christophle I have seen has been cleary marked and I believe uses scales of justice in their mark?

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 8975
Registered: Apr 93

posted 12-02-2002 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Silver Saoln Forum search function reveals several prior posts about Christopfle. For example:

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smfc75

Posts: 122
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 12-03-2002 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for smfc75     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding Christofle silverplated flatware:

  • Christofle did produce electroplated white metal (métal blanc) spoons and forks. Source: Original Christofle catalog, 1885.
  • The coexisting 84 in a square / METAL BLANC marks were French silverplate marks. 84 indicates the number of grams of silver used. Source: Letter from Martine D'Haeseleer (member and creator of the Silver Society in Belgium) concerning a fork by a different maker and thought to have been made in the last half of the nineteenth century. Published in Silver Magazine, 1999.
  • STDO could be an acronym for "Saint-Denis Orfèvrerie". Saint-Denis is an industrial suburb of Paris and Christofle has had an orfèvrerie (goldsmithery) there since 1875 -- perhaps other makers did too.
  • 84G probably means 84 gramme (grams).

I know that none of this answers either of the original questions but hope it helps!

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Janice
unregistered
posted 12-03-2002 11:36 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to all who have responded. I know now that my spoons are not Christofle. But what are they is my further search. Anyone head me in the right direction on searching for this musical staff hallmark? Am I right in assuming that they are European because of the words "metal blanc"....or did American/English makers use this wording? This is a very helpful forum...thanks for being here.

Janice

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Janice
unregistered
posted 12-03-2002 04:06 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After thinking about this, I might have spoons made in this Saint Denis Paris suburb, but by another silversmith than Christofle....hence the musical notes hallmark. Are there any good french hallmark books I could check out at the library perhaps? I can't find anything in the "french" section of the silver book I have. thanks,,,,,,Janice

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 12-03-2002 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the info, SMFC! Glad to learn something. Christofle's use of white metal is rather surprising specially against the background of their 19thC. slogan: « Une seule qualité, la meilleure ». Could it be that they continued for a limited time a line from some acquired other business?

As for the '84g' designation, do you (or anyone else) have any information, or firmly held opinion, as to the timespan during which it was used, and what it actually means? i.e. is it related to the common weight based standards of the neighboring countries?

I believe that France had no silverplating regulations when the current ones were introduced in 1983, yet there are plenty of references to the '84' earlier in the century. Today, French companies liberally use weight based comparisons in their communications even though the marking stays resolutely different. Might it be all the same standard, thrown out by France around WW2? I haven't been able to find when the others adopted the current standard but had assumed it to have been in the twenties or early thirties. Now with your information about the '84' marking in France during the 19thC, I wonder whether the two are totally unrelated, or whether the others originally copied the approach from the French. I'd appreciate any light you can shed on this.

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smfc75

Posts: 122
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 12-04-2002 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for smfc75     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arg(um)entum, excellent questions! I'm sure hoping that someone who can answer them pitches in.

I haven't been able to find any books (in English or in French) addressing the French silverplate (i.e. electroplate / métal argenté) industry as a whole, their histories, the marks they used (maker's marks or guarantee marks), or the patterns they produced.

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doobees

Posts: 277
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 01-28-2003 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doobees     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though I'm just starting out in this - I do know that since I live in France the book "Tardy's Hallmarks on Silver" in engligh seems to be an indispensible resource to sort out the complex French system... unfortunately, it exists in Frnace only "en français!" Maybe you can get your hands on a copy over there in the motherland... good luck.

- Doobees

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doobees

Posts: 277
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-04-2003 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for doobees     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had a Christophle expert in for a quick class yesterday, and yours are indeed not from thet maker. The scales of justice are classic for them as well as the "lozenge" diamond with 3 stars over "O" and "C" on either side of a bee after 1935 - or the diamond with 2 sides squared off and 3 stars over the bee with "C" on either side before 1935.

As for their quote "one quality - the best" If I understood correctly, he did allow the Christophle mark on his silver-plated objects, but only when they were fabricated using "selon des tchniques ancestrales" - or using only the old ancestral methods.

doobees

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