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Author Topic:   Towle Old Colonial
iconnumber posted 04-10-2003 10:38 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re: Towle "Old Colonial"
Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference, or more specifically a readily identifiable difference, between Old Colonial pieces made in the last ten years or so and those made several+ decades ago?

I cannot distinquish anything and don't know if others feel older pieces are more valuable or not. Any thoughts anyone could offer would be very appreciated.


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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-10-2003 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since newer issues of old patterns generally if not always use old dies, the reissues tend to have less detail. Also, in the interest of cost-cutting, hand finishing is eliminated. For example, the new pieces of Reed & Barton's Love Disarmed pattern are totally disappointing compared to the beautiful pieces made 75-100 years ago.

So, although I've never seen new examples of Old Colonial, my guess would be their details aren't as crisp as older examples and perhaps they are not as well finished.

Can anybody who has handled new Old Colonial verify or refute my statement?

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iconnumber posted 04-11-2003 10:27 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Paul. That makes complete sense. I guess I'm wondering then if you only had one piece or one set and all your pieces matched, would there then be anything to tell you if you had the older or newer made pieces? I can see if you have pieces side by side, but how would I explain that to someone if we didn't pieces to compare or if we were speaking over the phone what they shoujld look for? Again, I really appreiate your expertise in this area.

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iconnumber posted 10-16-2003 09:12 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a similar question regarding older versions vs newer of the same patterns. I have Old Colonial by Towle, as well, and it predates 1940. But my set is labeled "Holmes & Edwards" and not "Towle", although it is the Old Colonial pattern. How can this be? Does this marking in some way date the age of my silver?

Thanks for your help! Ann

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 10-16-2003 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Welcome to the Forums.

Is this your pattern?

It would help if you could post close-up photos of the marks.

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iconnumber posted 10-16-2003 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Anuh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have any of the Towle "Old Colonial" on hand at the moment to look at, but I can tell you that Gorham's Chantilly shows a marked difference between old pieces and new pieces, even in things like teaspoons. Mostly, it is in the weight of the pieces.

I have some which are monogrammed during the first few years that they were produced, and the pieces are twice as heavy as the new ones. This, in itself, means they are higher quality pieces and you will find their value considerably higher as well.


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iconnumber posted 10-17-2003 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It has always seemed to me that quality control at the major silver manufacturers slipped drastically in the 60's and 70's. Once I did a buyout of a jeweler and received spoons in several major patterns. Weighing these spoons, I found that within patterns the weight would vary quite a bit: between 7.5dwt to 12dwt. each. The turning point appears to have come when Dansk took over Gorham. Quality rapidly returned with enforced standards.

On the remakes, there are two observations I can make. One is that in the late 50's or early 60's, Mexican makers began to produce cast replicas of some of the older patterns. The most common ones seemed to be the salad set in Love Disarmed. The casting was rather crude, usually with imperfections on the stomach. As these were large pieces, and cast silver tends to be brittle, I doubt many have survived.

Beginning in the 60's hippy craftspeople began to make silver replicas. My recollection is that a number of them eventually came to produce small items for certain silver dealers, who shall remain nameless. The first item produced usually were salt spoons. And many of these were in patterns that had never had such items. From the salt spoons, they moved on to making strawberry forks, chocolate and sorbet items, muddlers, the whole array of small sized silver flatware. Some moved into making replica Art Nouveau jewelry. I have encountered a number of drop dead perfect knock off's of chatelines.

I met two of these silversmiths and came to know them. They were always rather mysterious people. But then they were forever dodging lawyers from Gorham and Towle. So, no names, no numbers and no addresses. They would take orders, and a piece to work from. Then disaper for a period of months. Only to resurface somewhere with the requested pieces. They learned very rapidly. Soon the items were the equal of the factory pieces. Have not seen any in years, but can remember them.

Hope this sheds a little light on the question here.


[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 10-17-2003).]

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