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Author Topic:   English Sterling - New York - 1860's
iconnumber posted 06-03-2003 11:54 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Great site, I hope you can help solve this mystery that has intrigued me for a long time. Over the years, I have seen this mark on a number of New York silver pieces dating from the 1860's and 70's, sometimes it is in conjunction with Ball, Black & Co, Tiffany, and Wood & Hughes retailer's marks, sometimes all by itself and almost always with a 3 letter pattern number beginning with 4. Does anyone know who the maker is?

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iconnumber posted 06-03-2003 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the term English Sterling was used during the period most makers were using coin to show it had a higher standard. Weren't Tiffany and Kirk among the first to do this?

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iconnumber posted 06-03-2003 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found a Gorham advertisement from an 1890 Jewelers' Weekly which says "The GORHAM trademark is never used on any other than English Sterling." Apparently the term was still popular for at least twenty years after the major manufacturers began using the sterling standard. Perhaps this mark was as well.

[This message has been edited by Stephen (edited 06-03-2003).]

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iconnumber posted 06-03-2003 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Most dealers and collectors I have spoken to, myself included, believe that this particular "ENGLISH STERLING" mark belongs to John R. Wendt, particularly if the retailer is Ball, Black & Co., Braverman & Levy, or other retailers who did a lot of business with Wendt. Pieces without retailer marks are usually attributed to Wendt as well. That said, we do know thar John Chandler Moore used a similar mark, and possibly William Gale as well. Early Tiffany holloware marks do include a similar "ENGLISH STERLING" stamp, but they either include the actual maker's mark (i.e. G&W for Grosjean & Woodward) or were made by Moore. I'm afraid I have not seen any pieces with Wood & Hughes trademarks and "ENGLISH STERLING". I'd love to see one, if you have a picture.

I hope this helps. I'm afraid no one seems to have any actual proof in this matter. I'm sure that at least some, if not the majority of pieces with a mark like yours were made by Wendt.


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iconnumber posted 06-03-2003 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two quotes regarding Tiffany may be of interest:

(1)from An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware:

In the United States the legal standard for sterling silver, introduced by Charles Tiffany in 1852 for silverware sold by Tiffany and Company, and later adopted by the government . . . .

This statement ignores the earlier use of the term on Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and probably elsewhere.

(2)from the Carpenters' Tiffany Silver:

When Tiffany and Moore made their exclusive arrangment in 1851, they immediately adopted the English standard for stirling and soon showed it in their marks.

From 1854 to 1870, centered in the Tiffany mark was:


After 1870 the term was changed to:


If the firm followed this practice strictly, it would appear that the mark on this piece would not be Tiffany's.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 06-03-2003).]

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