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tline3open  is it coin or is it sterling?

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Author Topic:   is it coin or is it sterling?
mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 12-29-2003 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[19-0367]

Here's a lovely cream ladle, 6-1/2 inches, double struck fiddle. What's curious is that it's marked Lincoln & Foss (which Ensko says was 1850 and Wyler says was 1829) and also sterling, but the sterling mark has been (apparently) intentionally scraped down. I have always thought either Tiffany or Gorham started using the sterling mark, around 1860. What think, short of an acid test?


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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-29-2003 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lincoln & Foss were listed in directories from 1848-1857. The "sterling mark" was in use for some time before that, although its use was not widespread. If it has been rubbed out, soneone may have thought the mark was not genuine. There is no reason to think that the spoon is not sterling.

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mdhavey

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iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm curious. In what reference are you finding the directory listings? Seymour Wyler seems to be way off in this case (1829). Is he usually? I suppose accuracy is often lost to the shifting sands of time.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The directories are cited in Marks of American Silversmiths by Belden. The dates are also shown in American Silver Marks by the Kovels. Wyler was published in 1937 -- it was obsolete when published (all it did was repeat older works) and it has never been revised. Neither it nor the Kovels' book should be used for actual identification of American marks without checking against later sources, many of which at least are included in the Kovels' citations.

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doc

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Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This raises a really good question about reference books. I have several pamphlet books for silver makers from New England states, published by Fredyma. They use multiple source citations for identified makers, when available. Anyone got an opinion on the accuracy of these publications?

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 7 Fredyma Directories (for 6 New England states and the city of Boston) are mostly citations drawn from local and other published sources. I suppose they are no more or less accurate than the sources they cite, but they look to be fairly comprehensive. Unfortunately I believe these are now out of print. The Kovels' latest edition draws citations from several of these, but they did not have access to them all, so some of that information may now be otherwise unobtainable.

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doc

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iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, swarter. I have found the Fredyma books helpful, as I am located in New England. Is there any book you or others would recommend as a good overall resource, now that you have discouraged use of Wyler (which I have but never use) and Kovel's (which I both have and do use, but sparingly).

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-30-2003 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For overall use for American silver I find Ensko IV and Belden the most useful; for New England, where you are located, The Heritage Foundation Collection of Silver by Flynt and Fales is essential.

Wyler may still have its uses, but not for Amrican silver marks; Kovel's is useful for pointing one to references, but is not reliable for identification in itself.

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mdhavey

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iconnumber posted 01-01-2004 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I love about this Forum is how you get a thread started, come back a few days later and learn a whole lot more than you asked! Thanks, all...
Michael

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mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 01-01-2004 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BTW, speaking of old New England silver, the place to go see it is the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Absolutely awsome collection. But I heard the curator is no longer there, gone along with many knowledgeable folks from the MFA who've been let go in the last couple of years.

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Paul Lemieux

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iconnumber posted 01-02-2004 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sometimes coin silver spoons are marked STERLING. Often this is because they were purchased later by retailers who remarked them as sterling.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 01-02-2004 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe most such aftermarket sterling stamps placed on coin pieces by later resellers are incised (intaglio); genuine period sterling punches usually appear in cameo within reserves. Such marks are found on coin period pieces made of the higher content alloy in Baltimore before the beginning of the assay period in 1814, as well as less frequently in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, among other places. Such marks also appear on provincial Irish silver, which is believed to have provided inspiration for the origin of the custom in Baltimore, from which it spread with Baltimre silversmiths who carried the custom elsewhere. There is an informative discussion of the origin and use of the mark in Baltimore to be found in . . . Maryland Silver . . . by Jennifer Faulds Goldsborough (1975).

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 01-03-2004).]

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mdhavey

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Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 01-04-2004 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swarter, your reference suggestion, The Heritage Foundation Collection, seems to cover American silversmiths up to 1825. What would you, or anyone else, recommend as a reference for American silver after that date? One rarely sees American silver prior to 1800 any more...

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