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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Spoon by E. Shaw

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Author Topic:   Spoon by E. Shaw

Posts: 31
Registered: Sep 99

iconnumber posted 01-18-2000 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have acquired a set of four spoons by E. Shaw. In addition to the maker's mark and the monogram there is the mark of a leaf, apparently an oak leaf. Does anybody know if this leaf mark is a hallmark of E. Shaw?

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Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 01-18-2000 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Off the top of my head, it seems to me that leaf marks are generally associated with Philadelphia and Maryland makers. Kovel lists a couple of potential E. Shaws, both from Philadelphia, so that much fits. I know that Philip Syng, the famous Philadelphia smith, used a leaf device with some of his marks. I personally have a spoon by William McParlin of Annapolis, MD with a leaf mark. Baltimore smiths also used a bird head mark in a similar fashion.

Remember, many Baltimore smiths trained and/or worked in Philadelphia before landing in Baltimore, so it makes sense that these marks would be found in both places.

The significance of these "extra" marks has been debated, but there is little concrete evidence as to what they were supposed to signify. I would not call them "trademarks" per se. They may have been an informal quality mark used by silversmiths as a sort of "seal of approval". It wasn't until the 1840s or 50s that you start to see the multiple "pseudohallmarks" that actually are trademarks of the manufacturers. I suspect your spoons are a bit earlier. I will see what else I can dig up on the subject and let you know.

Interestingly, just this weekend I picked up a Philadelphia spoon circa 1820 with a sunburst mark! Like I said, there is still lots to learn.

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