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tline3open  JB & SM Knowles - sterling or coin?

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Author Topic:   JB & SM Knowles - sterling or coin?

Posts: 136
Registered: Oct 99

iconnumber posted 12-06-1999 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a demitasse spoon with the mark of JB & SM Knowles. (At first I thought it was the mark of the Frank Smith Silver Co.) The spoon is marked sterling, but Rainwater 3rd ed. rev. relates the mark specifically to coin silver. Is it reasonable to assume that the mark might have been used on both coin and sterling?

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Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-07-1999 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is certainly reasonable. Some manufacturers varied their trademarks for different materials, but others did not. Remember, not everything has been recorded, and often the best evidence we have of how various marks were used are the objects themselves.

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Posts: 80
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 12-31-1999 01:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Trefid     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Rainwater's 4th ed., J.B. & S.M. Knowles didn't form a partnership until 1875, well into the "sterling period." Of the 10 Knowles patterns I have, only QUEEN, suppposedly introduced in 1870 as a Knowles & Ladd pattern, is marked coin. I write "supposedly" because in an old book on St. Louis silversmiths I found a picture of it with its maker credited as Louis Bauman, working ca. 1850's to 1870. It's possible that Knowles & Ladd could have bought Bauman's die.

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Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 07-08-2006 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if the Knowles pattern Argo would be considered Coin silver? It has the lion holding the letter K upright.
I have a serving piece that has the mark that Rainwater has listed as belonging to "coin silver", however the piece is marked sterling.
Thank you for listening.
Happy Saturday!

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Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 07-09-2006 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally I would consider it highly unlikely that Knowles' Argo was produced in coin. The design was patented in 1892, and I just never see those rococo 1890s patterns in coin.

As suggested previously in this thread, the firm as such was formed at a time when most of the production would have been sterling rather than coin. I suspect that Rainwater's note (that the lion and K in shield mark was "on coin spoons") is either mistaken, or reflects an exceptional set made for a customer who specifically wanted coin, perhaps to match an older set.

As Brent suggests above, the best evidence is often in the pieces themselves....

[This message has been edited by FWG (edited 07-09-2006).]

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Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 07-09-2006 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for your response. Your feelings about my piece are just about where I was also. I just needed confirmation.
I would like to post a picture soon to determine exactly what the piece was used for.( I use it for whatever I need it to be).
Thanks again.

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