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Author Topic:   Use of term "English Sterling"
Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-13-2009 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This wonderful coffee pot from the 1870s, which you all have proven to me is indeed by John Wendt of New York.

The mark has been carefully obliterated. A long block-letter company name (BRAVERMAN & LEVY?) arches OVER the legend SAN FRANCISCO and below this curves ENGLISH-STERLING.

San Francsico was not entirely blotted out. The retailer or manufacturer is unreadable, much as I tried.

The coffee pot was attributed to John Wendt by the vendor who sold it to the collector. It is a splendid example of neo-grec aestheticism, with its wonderful floral motifs on a stippled ground--unlike anything I can call to mind. As a curator, the San Francisco origin is more important even than the maker--but I'm glad to know that Wendt used English Sterling (other than Grosjean and Woodward for Tiffany).

Here is a great neo-grec horned mask from the spout:

And a slightly blurred shot of the die-roll at the base:

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-13-2009 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Definitely Wendt, and the scratched out mark is almost certainly Braverman & Levy. I have seen a number of identifiable Wendt pieces retailed by Braverman & Levy. Wendt also sold through M.M. Frederick of Virginia City, Nevada. I know Gorham had retailers in San Francisco, and I wouldn't be surprised if some others did as well.

I have a picture somewhere of what is probably your mark, or close to it. I'll post it if I can find it.

Brent

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-13-2009 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Hi again,

Here is the piece, a little baby cup. Is this the mark?

When I lived in California I saw several pieces of known Wendt flatware patterns like Medallion and Ram's Head with Braverman & Levy marks. So, it seems clear that B&L were retailing Wendt silver, and we know Wendt used an English Sterling stamp. There may have been other San Francisco Wendt retailers, but I kind of doubt it. Close enough for an attribution?

Brent

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ellabee

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 02-13-2009 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a side issue, but what kind of vine is that? It's not an ivy or a grapevine, at least not a typical example.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-15-2009 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! This is fantastic. The only difference in the mark is that SAN FRANCISCO is spelled out in full--but it's a much bigger piece, and that would make sense. I had also found elsewhere since posting this that Wendt did indeed use ENGLISH STERLING.

Thanks again, oh brave silver heroes.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-06-2009 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm just adding this because i've added pictures above and it did not bump the thread up to the top of the list. I'd love to see more John Wendt pieces that people know of...

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-12-2009 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, and the vines around the bottom of the two sides appear to be morning glories. All the flowers are very much in the "language of flowers" vocabulary of the time--but the low-relief arrangement is very much "Kensington School" and looks at the aesthetic movement. That's one reason I like the design of this so much.

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ahwt

Posts: 1923
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-12-2009 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Ulysses noted the mark on this coffee pot was carefully obliterated by someone in the past. The defacing of marks on 19th century American silver has happened more times than I would expect (actually once would be more that I would expect) and I have never been able to determine why this was done.

Why would anyone want to scratch out the Braverman & Levy name? Defacing of marks is not a problem unique to the U.S., but it does seem to occur in greater number on American silver.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 03-12-2009 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Meriden Brittania Company obliterated its marks on pieces that failed a quality test. On flatware, an arrow was stamped over the mark. That is all I know about this subject.

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wev
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Posts: 4030
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 03-12-2009 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Why would anyone want to scratch out the Braverman & Levy name?

Often times the retailer's name was stamped directly by the manufacturer prior to shipping to the final destination. If the retailer retracted an order, the maker might kill the mark and send the piece on to another seller. Or the goods could be picked up as old stock by a second retailer, who excised the original dealer's indicia.

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ahwt

Posts: 1923
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-14-2009 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Dale and WEV. The zigzag lines on this pot look to be professionally made - much like process used to gather silver for assaying and WEV's suggestion may be the answer since the pot is obviously not of inferior quality.

I have seen other defacement's of marks where the removal of silver was not done professionally. Someone just used a pointed object to scratch out the name or set of initials. That action is still a mystery to me.

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bascall

Posts: 1619
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 03-15-2009 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a little bit about Braverman & Levy: there is reference to Louis Braverman and John Levy being in business in San Francisco, California from 1855 to 1881. In 1882 John Levy & Co jewelry manufacturers and Louis Braverman & Co Diamond Importer are listed in the San Francisco City Directory. Louis passed away in 1909 and John's wife is listed as a widow in the 1900 U S Federal Census for San Francisco.

Louis' son Sigmund Louis continued as a diamond importer into the twentieth century. Sigmund has an 1882 earring patent, 263755.

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Polly

Posts: 1765
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2018 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In case anyone's still pondering the Braverman & Levy - Wendt link, I spotted this mark on a mug the same shape as the one Brent posted. (This is the seller's photo, not mine; it's not my mug.)

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11082
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 01-28-2018 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a much better example ...thanks so much.

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