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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Rattail Teaspoon marked JR

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Author Topic:   Rattail Teaspoon marked JR
Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-17-2004 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Here is a nice example of a mid 18th C teaspoon, likely American. The drop is unusual in that there is a full rattail with what looks like a later 18th C drop superimposed over it. I would guess that the maker was altering an existing swage? At any rate, I have been unable to find this mark in any of my references. Has anyone seen it before? The spoon turned up in Rhode Island; Joseph Rogers, perhaps?

Brent

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-18-2004 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent - I have one of these, too, with different owner initials (MR). No clue as to the maker, but the use of J instead of I is early for this period. A stepped rattail (stepped drop on a rattail) is not unprecedented - I have seen others, English and continental as well. Maybe WEV can ferret out the maker with his connections, although I know I have shown mine to him in the past.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-18-2004 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent, I have a spoon that is very similar to yours in style and time period. It is the same length and in the Hanoverian pattern. However it has a shell drop. It is signed like yours-JR. I purchased mine in Vermont, but decided that Joseph Rogers was probably the maker.

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-18-2004 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul: Joseph Rogers was born in 1753, and therfore could not have been working before the eqrly 1770's, 30 or more years too late for Brent's and my spoons - from the sound of it, yours could have been made as early as the late 40's or 50's -have you a picture of the back of it and the mark? I have not seen this particular mark attributed to anyone. I have considered mine problematical because of the early form of the spoons and the late form of the letter, but the fact that there are at least two - or possible three - unrelated spoons of early form with the mark lends credence to their validity and American origin. It may well be that there was another maker with these initials in this form and in this time frame. I take it there is no provenance on yours either?

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 03-18-2004).]

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 12:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
swarter, thanks for your reply. Early coin silver is not my specialty so I always thought my spoon was 1770s-1790s. As soon as I can I will post images of the spoon and its marks, etc. Unfortunately there is no provenance on my spoon, I picked it from a dish of junky plated flatware at an antiques mall.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, guys! Quite a coincidence for all three of us to have spoons by the same mystery man. If we believe Flynt & Fales, I guess JOHN Rogers might be a possibility. However, that would make the spoons very early.

I had the same thought, that the JR mark was unusual for a piece in this early style, and it might have been made later. Now, the existence of three similar spoons makes me think we may be on the trail of an unrecorded (or at least without an attributed mark) early American silvermsith.

Brent

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I expect that Brent's suggestion will eventually prove correct - that this is an unrecorded mark of an early silversmith - but out of an abundnce of caution, I am not yet quite ready to abandon an earlier consideration that occured to me when first I attempted unsuccessfully to track down the owner of this punch, but that now seems much less likely:

In addition to the anachronistic use of the "J", the "R" in this mark is remarkably like a unique mark not often published of Joseph Richardson, Sr. Richardson, however is not known to ever have used a "J" instead of an "I." Joseph, Jr, hosever, did, but is much too late to have made these spoons. This is the kind of error that could be expected of a forger who might have bought a set of unmarked spoons and applied a spurious mark. Richardson silver has been extensively faked, and the punches on these spoons are fresh looking, sharp and deep, showing less wear than would be expected for their age. On the other hand, the fact that Brent's and my spoons are virtually identical (the two spoons are a little unusual in that the stems are a bit long for the size of the small early bowls), but have different owner's initials, implies that they are by the same hand, but from different sets or at least from different owners, making the foregoing scenario less likely. I look forward to seeing pictures of Paul's example.

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps a browse through Fales book on Richardson may expose some spurious marks. She has done extensive research on his marks.

(I wish I had a simalar spoon, I feel left out) Sigh!

Do each of your spoons have the same stepped rat tail?

Fred

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't feel bad, Fred - think of all the uncertainty you have been spared!

The unique mark I referred to is in Fales' book (fig. 32c), and she shows only one spurious IR mark for Sr.(fig.32g).

Both spoons have the same stepped rattail. It is not as sharply defined as some others I have seen.

Here is a photo of three small teaspoons with stepped rat tails. The first is the J�R, the second a worn IP probably for John Potwine, and the third is unmarked:

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2004 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd love to have to deal with those kinds of dilemas. Thanks for sharing the close images.

Fred

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