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tline3open  Southern retailers

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Author Topic:   Southern retailers
vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-11-2004 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
've noticed while doing some research that some dealers make a big deal about a piece being stamped with the mark of a southern retailer even though the piece was made by a NY maker, and jack up the price accordingly. Any thoughts on this?

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-11-2004 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The retailer's name does indicate local provenance, which might increase its value to someone interested in local history, or, to a lesser extent, in "export" business practices of the actual maker, but to my mind, less valuable than something actually made on the scene by the person marking the silver. What does seem dishonest is the failure of some sellers to acknowledge the northern origin of their southern retailed items.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-15-2004 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The connection to the past and to a region I am interested in does affect the value I place on the item. As I live in the south, I do find that I am willing to pay more for items with southern roots or history. A southern retailer or maker can add value for the reasons indicated by swarter however, the most important reason for me is not the maker or retailer, but the initial owner – the one who brought, used and hopefully loved the item. That is also the connection that is the most difficult for me to find or discover. When the connection is made it can also be the most rewarding. Search engines such as Google and the human desire to post their genealogical charts on the internet have made connections possible today that would have been impossible just a few years ago.

For example, when I put the family name and the Latin motto engraved on a 1850’s water pitcher into Google, I found that the water pitcher was most likely a wedding gift to the initial owners, discovered my Latin translation was not nearly as good the one the family uses and that the descendents of the initial family live only 20 miles from me. Another example is an attractive tea set with the mark of W.B. North and Company. Luckily this set is engraved with a woman’s full name and a date. Goggle revealed that the initial owner was born in New Orleans and she married a northerner on the inscribed date. She no doubt was charmed into moving north by such a wonderful wedding present and I do hope that she was not sorry for that decision.

While my little discovers were fun for me, the current issue of Antiques and Fine Art has a magnificent example of using silver to connect with and study the past. Jay Robert Stiefel’s outstanding research into an early work of Joseph Richardson is a fascinating analysis and I would recommend reading it.

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nihontochicken

Posts: 289
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-15-2004 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nihontochicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I'd sneak in here with a quick, off-topic but related question. I'd like to ask you, ahwt, as one who has an interest in Southern silver, if you could briefly look at my inquiry to this board on 6/8/03 Unmarked FP Soup Ladle, and see whether you recognize the man/family as engraved on the ladles (note - besides my unmarked ladle, two smaller Gregg ladles with the same mono have turned up on Ebay). I realize this is a real long shot, but lightning has to strike somewhere! TIA, and I apologize for butting in!

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-17-2004 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your link was a very interesting discussion and you received advice from those with a lot more knowledge than I have. The only thing I could add is that I have had some success in tracking initials by writing and visiting museums or historical societies.
For example, I contacted the Cumberland County Historical Society about a George Hendel spoon with the initials TRF. They had in their collection several items with the same three initials and had evidence that their items were acquired by a Thomas and Rebecca Foster for their 25th wedding anniversary in 1803. The same three initials appear on a Hendel coffeepot in the Warner Collection of American Fine and Decorative, North Port, Alabama. In the Warner example, additional documentation followed the ownership of the coffeepot and provides a firm connection to the Foster family. The same three initials on my spoon is an good indication that it was also owned by Mr. and Mrs. Foster, but is not conclusive proof.
It usually is easier to disprove a connection than to prove it. For example I saw some spoons attributed to an early elected figure with the statement that the three initials were his. A visit to the curator of his museum revealed that the elected official did not have a middle name. Also the initial of his wife’s name was different than that on the spoons so they were not using a monogram system of including the wife’s initial. Unless they were using an unusual system there probably was no connection between the spoons and the elected official.
I do think the suggestion you made of looking in towns where Gregg worked would be best way to start. It could be Gregg made or acquired the ladle in Kentucky and carried it with him to the next town as an example of what was popular in Kentucky. It also appears that you have seen quite a number of pieces are marked with the same initials. More items may exist they may be in museums or other collections in towns where Gregg lived. If nothing else your mystery could be just the excuse one needs to take a trip to some of the wonderful cities where Gregg lived and talk with some interesting people. Trying to solve a mystery should be as much or more fun as actually solving it. Good luck to you in your quest.

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nihontochicken

Posts: 289
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-19-2004 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nihontochicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for your response, ahwt, especially the tip about contacting the museums. I tried contacting the winner of the Gregg ladles on Ebay (who paid big buck$, must know something about Southern silver), but without success. At least I now have another avenue for exploration.

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 04-24-2004 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spoke to a friend of mine (a dealer )on this subject and was told... "I buy Northern and Sell Southern" ... I know when I am searching any coin silver, I am asked (by other shoppers) if there is any southern makers or not... I respond, that I would be happy to provide them the information as soon as I pay for the spoons and thereby avoid any unexpected jumps in the agreed upon price...

It seems to me the most of the increased interest in Coin Silver of late, at least in this area, is directly related to profit motive... The price of Silver (spot) has gone up to over 8.00 per ounce and a small taste of the "Hunt" issues from several years ago is causing additional presure...

Prices have jumped to almost double on a consistant basis and in some cases a four fold increase...

I have nightmares of seeing buckets of silver being dumped onto a furnace...

The only other issues that come to mide related to the lop-sided marketing in lack of knowledge... How many time I have gone into an antique store or to a dealers stall at a flea market and ask for Coin silver and get shown nickels, dime and quarters....

Just some thoughts..."Smauge"

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nihontochicken

Posts: 289
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-24-2004 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nihontochicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though there is a lot of disagreement, many financial investors believe that a massive liquidity provided by years of low Fed rates will result in a large uptrend in commodity prices, particularly gold and silver, which we've certainly seen already in the last few years. There is also much contention that the physical gold and silver markets have been rigged for low prices by large players for many years, but this manipulation may be coming to an end (note that the House of Rothschild just announced it is ending its gold trading activities and is resigning its chair on the London exchange and will no longer be fixing the price of gold there daily). Just before the recent rise in price this last year, silver, in inflation adjusted terms, was the cheapest it's been in the last thousand years. The bottom line, if these considerations be true, is that the precious metals are headed for much higher prices. Also, the ratio of the value of gold to silver by weight, historically around 15, has shot up to around 80 recently, but is now dropping (currently about 64, was down to near 50 a few days ago when silver hit $8.29/oz., but silver has dropped precipitously to $6.14/oz.). There is the possibility that silver value will increase such that the gold/silver price heads back toward the historical norm. I believe the best bet is that silver will indeed appreciate greatly in price in the next few years, and a Bunkie Hunt type of liquidation by the masses is not out of the question, unfortunately. FWIW.

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