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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Baldwin & Co. silver

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Author Topic:   Baldwin & Co. silver
Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-02-1999 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Baldwin was a Newark firm with its roots in the 1820s and its terminus somewhere in the early 1860s. While they tend to mimic the styles of New York City silversmiths (and why not?) there are distinct features on this generally conservative silversmith's work. Very little Baldwin hollow ware is known, and on several of the pieces there is a distinct die-roll banding at the rim and foot, of a sort of tongue-leaf form with scrolls and little oval cabochon/egg-like motifs. I've never seen this motif on any piece of silver not bearing some sort of Baldwin mark.

Baldwin apparently used a couple of pseudo-hallmarks (a horse's head and a leopard or lion), but also used those marks with a full set of "BALDWIN & CO. NEWARK, NEW JERSEY" marks. (I'm being hasty, so I may not be precise in this.)

Recently, we seem to have discovered lead test-stamps from dies made by Ferdinand Herpers in Newark in the 1850s or 60s for these exact Baldwin die-rolls. So it seems that the burgeoning jewelry industry in Newark was cross-fertilizing with the burgeoning silver industry. Cutting the dies was a costly and highly skilled process, and thus it makes sense that Baldwin--a jeweler-retailer--would have turned to a specialty shop to actually cut their dies.

But it also goes to show that there is a great deal of intermingling in the 19th century, making identification all the more puzzling and fascinating.

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