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Author Topic:   Date??
Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-05-2002 03:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just acquired 3 pieces of Tiffany Sterling Serving flatware. I am interested in dating these pieces and identifying patterns. The first is a sugar sifter, 7" long, weighs 2.7oz., has a guilded bowl and shows men & women seated and laying, playing a lire and wearing togas. Marked with 'C' before Tiffinay and Co. patented 1878. The other two are serving forks, 8 3/4" long, weighs 2.8oz., and has 4 peapods and vines on handle. 'M' stamp on handle. Hallmarks on prong are: F C..B..F W, circle crossed, .925,
and small cased 'h'. Any information regarding these pieces will be a great aid.
Thanks.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-05-2002 06:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It sounds like your first pattern is the Olympian pattern. Olympian is a multi motif pattern designed by Antoine Heller & Edward C. Moore in 1878/79.

If I recall correctly there are 17 themes in the Olympian pattern. Maybe Bill Hood could list all 17 for us?

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-05-2002 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your second pattern is Vine, a multimotif pattern introduced in 1872 and probably designed by Moore also. The peapod motif is found on more than one serving fork, but I believe your size fork is the cold meat fork. The hallmarks mean the piece was imported into London sometime in its life. A picture or good description of the date mark (the "h") would help us know just when it was imported.

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-05-2002 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AS this is my first time in this forum, can I get quick info on the inclusion of photos into this fornat.
Cheers Mark

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to Scott and Paul. The photo inclusion is my next step here.

If this works then if I can ask your indulgance once again... this is the hallmark on the cold meat fork. cAn you decifer it. I have two hallmark books that don't seem to explain imported silver to England.
Mark

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Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Scott for that........... gosh you guys are good at this. Sorry about the size of the picture. The camera shoots at 2MEG and I thought I had reduced it to a smaller picture. I generally use Jackson's Hallmarks. Is the date code the same as any of the English towns.....London...Birminham??

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Never mind the question..... I've just read it for myself. I see the import marks listed in Jackson's. I guess, though, that this begs the next question here. With the peapod motif that you attribute to 1872, a Tiffany M stamp, and an export stamp of 1926, what is the actual date of manufacture? It's easy to appreciate the English and their hallmarks. No guessing.
Mark

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Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark,

Is the above mark on the Tiffany Vine pattern? If yes then I suppose the "F C..B..F W" may be the importers or retailers mark? Does anyone recognize the mark? I haven't had the time to plough through the Enlish books in our library.

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Paul Lemieux

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Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-06-2002 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The piece was probably made before 1891, judging by the sounds of the M mark. It was imported into London in 1923. The FC/B/FW mark is the assayer's/importer's, not a maker's mark since Tiffany made the piece. I do not know who the mark belongs to. My guess is that the mark reads "F.C. & F.W. B_____," with B being a common last initial (father/son?).

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-07-2002 02:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul..... How is it that a piece of silver flatware would exist for some 32 years and then be exported? Is it still an unused piece of silver before export?
Mark

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Paul Lemieux

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Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-07-2002 04:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There could be many reasons for its being imported into London decades after manufacture. Perhaps in 1923 somebody in England wanted a Vine cold meat fork, so an English silver dealer had one sent over from the U.S. Or perhaps an American owning the fork brought it over for some reason--as a gift, he was moving to England, etc. There are a number of possible explanations. You might be able to dig up some facts about why it travelled to England in 1923. How did you obtain the fork? Is it possible to make inquiries into its provenance?

By the way, do both forks carry those English marks?

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-07-2002 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe in 1923 London Assay Officials used the fire assay process. This process involves scraping a small sample (a diet) from the item. On new items, silversmiths would often make the item with a small tab
which would be snipped off by the Assay Official, thereby negating the need for scraping. A diet leaves a mark that looks like a zig-zag:

So does the fork have a diet mark somewhere on it? If not, was some other assay method used with imported items? Or is there a spot where a diet might have been buffed out?

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Crocodile Mark

Posts: 55
Registered: Feb 2002

iconnumber posted 02-07-2002 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To answer a couple of Questions...... Yes both forks are with their pea-pods & vines. AS far as any areas that may havebeen snippe.... none at all visible to a loop inspection. I guess the overall conclusion for me is that Tiffany has made it very difficult to ascertain any exact dates. The Brit system of hallmarks make the whole cataloguing process so much easier. Example: Here are two forks, made before 1891, that may have or may not have been used for a thity-two year period before they arrived in London for a hallmark. Were they brought over for sale or were they in ownership and then hallmarked for tax purposes by their owner. No possibility here for research, as is often the case, when bought from unknown sources. The second issue arrives.... Without an exact date of manufacture, even though condition, weight, length, and availability is known, how can a fair and reasonable estimate of a piece like this be determined? My set of Kings Shell sterling is an exact game..... dates.... condition and weight help arrive very quickly at fair and comparable estimates. Is Tiffany always going to be this difficult?
Mark

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-07-2002 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although maybe one can't say exactly when your forks were made, the date range can be narrowed to about 20 years. I don't think the value rests so heavily on exact date. The point is they are 2 original (i.e. not fake/recast) Vine meat forks, and to estimate a value all you need to do is compare prices for other Vine cold meat forks in similar condition. Yes, the British hallmark system allows for quick and precise dating, but American silver's lack, in most cases, of such a system does not make our silver less valuable or harder to value.

Also I don't think Tiffany is overly hard to date--the initial of the then current Tiffany president (on your forks, "M" for Edward Moore) helps and one can also use monogram style, pattern, etc. as dating clues.

Incidentally, I would find it hard to believe that these forks went completely unused for over 30 years.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 02-07-2002).]

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William Hood

Posts: 271
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-09-2002 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for William Hood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because of problems with internet access, I am getting into this discussion very late, for which I apologize. Am still having problems maintaining contact, so will answer in two parts. Your sugar sifter is in Tiffany's Olympian pattern, which was introduced in 1878 but not patented until 1879. The pattern is unusual in that there are seventeen handle motifs (all displayed along the long axis like a frieze) based on classical mythology. The description of the motif on your sifter sounds like no. 5 ("Orpheus in search of his wife Eurydice. He is playing upon the lyre presented to him by Apollo..."). All seventeen are illustrated on pp. 212-213 in Tiffany Silver Flatware, 1845-1905: When Dining Was an Art, by Hood et. al., published in 2000. The motifs are described in Table 5, pp. 214-215. All flat-handled pieces are marked with an incuse PAT. 1878 (sic) and a "date letter." The incuse C date letter means the pieces were made between 1902 and 1907 (see Table 11, p. 311, and the accompanying text in the book cited).

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William Hood

Posts: 271
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-09-2002 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for William Hood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your cold meat forks are in Tiffany's Vine pattern, which was introduced in 1872 but never patented. It has thirteen handle motifs featuring various fruits and flowers and one grain, wheat. Your pieces have the peapod motif. The various motifs are pictured on pp. 190-191 in the Tiffany book cited above, and some of the pieces made in each motif are tabulated in Table 4, pp. 192-193. Flat-handled pieces are marked with a raised M. The M was used between 1869 (or 1876?) and 1891 (see Table 11, p. 311, and accompanying text). The raised mark signifies that the date letter was incorporated into the die used to make the piece. Thus, this type of date letter tells you only when the die was cut--not when the piece was actually stamped from that die, which might be many years later. The Vine pattern became obsolete (the dies were destroyed)in 1934, so your pieces could have been made any time between 1872 and 1934.

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