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tline3open  Hallmarks and engraving help please!!

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Author Topic:   Hallmarks and engraving help please!!
obnock

Posts: 27
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for obnock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-0954]

I have just bought this charming pepperette. I am having difficulty with the hallmarks. The lion is facing the wrong way the anchor suggests Birmingham, but I have not come across one this shape, and the other hallmark I cannot identify it at all. The fact sterling is written below suggests to me that this is not an English hallmark at all. What does the number (A1034) mean?. Also there is an engraving of a hand holding a cross, any ideas?




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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lion-anchor-G the pseudo English hallmarks of the American company, Gorham--a very nice thing indeed.

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obnock

Posts: 27
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for obnock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks. Can one date this item from these hallmarks?

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hello

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Used between 1898 and 1932, as noted by the A prefix by the #

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asheland

Posts: 925
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are you sure those are the only marks? Most Gorham holloware has date symbols.

Nice piece!

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-14-2006 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gorham hollowware from 1868 until 1931 was often marked with a symbol for the year it was made. These were normally very small marks and could be overlooked. Perhaps you could examine your pepper pot to see if any other marks appear.

A cross with four crosses in the arms is called a cross crosslet and signifies the fourfold mystery of the cross. See: The Meanings Behind the Symbols

Your engraving with three arms of a cross with crosslets, all held by a covered arm would have some meaning. Perhaps bearer or carrier of the faith.

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outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 03-15-2006 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Almost any American with an interest in silver is always on the lookout for the lion, anchor, G . Gorham date marked many of their items, but not all of the smaller ones. I have a brush set by Gorham where the date mark is only on the mirror, for example. Gorham produced very high quality silver during this time. Good find!

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obnock

Posts: 27
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-15-2006 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for obnock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all your help. American silver is a mistery to me and it is an area that I might explore. One thing, in one of the postings rian states "pseudo english hallmarks". Was Gorham intending to confuse or were they not confident enough in there wares?. Did american silver making start of mimicing stuff from the old world or am I surmisising too much from a couple of back stamps. Thanks again Keith

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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 03-15-2006 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I used the term "pseudo English" for the marks, I was repeating what I believe may be an unfair slur. Gorham was trying to convey information with the marks they put on their product. Other than in the state of Maryland, I know of no controlling authority though, so different manufacturers used different marking systems. In Gorham's case I believe they used the lion to mean the piece was solid silver--not plated. The anchor was for Providence, RI and the G for Gorham, of course. When they did make plated ware, it had only the anchor and the Gorham name.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-15-2006 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi!


Just to add my 2 cents.

  1. I have also heard that the A before the number for Gorham were for special order items.
  2. The symbol type Hallmarks used were to mimic the European marks so that people thought you had the "good stuff".

Please correct me if I have been mislead.
Jersey

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outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2006 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, Jersey. People came from England initially and they often had fondness for the home of their ancestors. England also owned the US until the revolution. The US was the wild frontier for a couple hundred years and people were busy surviving and not as concerned with gentility. Even after the revolution England was seen as a country of refinement adn quality goods. It took a long time for the US to not try to imitate the English. But, by the time Gorham started manufacturing there was very little going on as far as hallmark imitation. USA silver held it's own by the mid 1800's. Gorham was one of the first major companies that showed that the United States, too, was capable of high quality.

[This message has been edited by outwest (edited 03-16-2006).]

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-16-2006 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
British hallmarking of silver has been around for many centuries. Over the past seven centuries that British hallmarks have been required by law there combined with the extent of the former British Empire when it was at its peak around the world, many people around the world have become familiar with seeing these types of markings on silver and there tends to be a linking in people's minds. It has even gone to the point where people use the term "hallmark" to mean any maker's markings on silver or silverplate when technically is only refers to the markings placed on silver by the British assay offices. Many companies outside of the UK have created markings that look similar to British hallmarks to market their products and promote confidence in the silver purity of their ware, including Gorham. In the U.S., there are no laws governing what markings a company can put on silver, other than marking it with words such as "Sterling" if it is not. Some other countries have their own versions of the British hallmarking system that have been in place for varying periods of time.

I agree that the U.S. origins as part of the British Empire have had a role in some U.S. companies gravitating to markings that are similar to hallmarks, but we should remember that in addition to parts of the U.S. once being part of the British Empire, parts were also once part of several other European countries including the Netherlands (the New York area), France (the Central part of the country), Spain (Florida and the southwest and west coast), and Russia (Alaska).

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-16-2006 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The the whole long history of thousands of American silver marks, very little of it actually includes what we might call "pseudo hallmarks." To refer back to the beginning, and again to Outwest's posts, Gorham marked its silver with a mark that indicated quality in the English manner, but was clearly not an English mark. Gorham was a proud manufacturer and already getting famous by the time those marks appear.

Early American silversmiths used English-type touchmarks, but never hallmarks--never pretending that they were anything but Americans. The flurry of fascinating and often confusing pseudo hallmarks that appears in the 19th century (many in New York City) were not, I would suggest, trying to fool anyone into believing the pieces were English, but code marks for silversmiths who were making silver for other people to retail. There is a great book on pseudo-hallmarks out there, but of course I haven't actually had time to read it (tho' I bought it for The Newark Musem's library, so I guess I'll read it someday).

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