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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  "RAY" mark

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Author Topic:   "RAY" mark
Fitzhugh

Posts: 136
Registered: Jan 2002

iconnumber posted 04-12-2004 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fitzhugh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know of a Ray working as a smith using RAY and and eagles in a combined cartouche?

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-12-2004 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This mark is undoubtably that of Silas T. Toncray of Shelbyville, Kentucky, and later Memphis, Tennessee. It is often misread, especially in a worn condition, as a result of overlarge serifs and irregular spacing of the letters. It is unusual for an American silver mark, resembling more those used by pewterers, in that the name is written "S.T.TON_CRAY" in an arc above an elaboorate Federal eagle, both within the same reserve. It has been misread variously as "Sutton Gray" and "Sitton Gray," among others.

Boultinghouse could fine little or no record of his activities in Kentucky, nor of Daniel Toncray, another silversmith and Silas' older brother, who is known to have come to Kentucky from Martinsville, Virginia.

Caldwell has a brief biograpyh of both Silas and of Daniel, and a clear picture of this mark. Both eventually moved to Tennessee, where they worked in Memphis.

Silver by Silas, who also used a mark of his initials, is encountered occasionally.

Below is a somewhat worn example of the mark:

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Fitzhugh

Posts: 136
Registered: Jan 2002

iconnumber posted 04-13-2004 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fitzhugh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that is an excellent thought, and now I wish I had a scan of this mark. It's in a private collection, so I shall inquire. This example, however, is a simple rectangular cartouche. WHile "RAY" may well be the end of a name, the eagle is found in an extension of the same cartouche, in the same rectangle. This is a very odd configuration, in my feeble estimation, as I've never encountered an eagle conjoined with the letters of the mark. I have only seen either the eagle as a separate punch, or the equally unique mark of Silas Toncray. I shall examine this piece one more to make certain the RAY portion was the beginning of the mark. I feel that it was simply "RAY". This example surfaced in central Kentucky, but has no provenance. I tend to date it ca. 1820-30.

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