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Author Topic:   Mystery mark
AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This series of three marks appears on a tea and coffee service that is also marked by the Cincinnati firm of Beggs & Smith (1848-61). The presentation inscription on the service bears the date of 1850. Has anyone ever seen these marks before?

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like a visit to McGrew's is in order. I, unfortunately, no longer have access to a copy. I suggest looking the marks up in Manufacturers' Marks on American Coin Silver by John R. McGrew, PhD. I have linked the reference title to an SSF thread with more information about this book, as well as how you may order it.

The book logically arranges such pseudo-hallmarks and allows search by "bust", "lion", "eagle", and other common pseudo-hallmark elements, as well as the letters featured in particular marks. Thoroughly researched, each of the represented marks is attributed with some degree of certainty to both a maker and to retailers. It has been noted that there may be a few mistakes or misattributions, but all in all it is a very useful reference.

If you come across very much silver with such pseudo-hallmarks, McGrew's is a must-have.

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witzhall

Posts: 124
Registered: Mar 2006

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for witzhall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
McGrew says this "bust/C/lion" combination is a manufacturing mark, "attributed by Hollis French to Francis W. Cooper, silversmith, 102 Reade St., NYC, 1846-47." Beggs [sic] & Smith were retailers in Cincinnati from 1848-61.

I add my hearty recommendation of this book to IJP's; it provides a wealth of information.

[This message has been edited by witzhall (edited 11-07-2006).]

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
McGrew makes his attribution on an attribution from Hollis French. I suspect Mr. French would be the one to ask.

Beckman's book shows a tea service with the same marks.

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I looked in McGrew's book I did not find this mark, because I looked under "G" and not "C", where McGrew lists it. Unfortunately, Hollis French is no longer with us and cannot be asked whether he made that assignment under the same assumption, thinking the letter was C for Cooper, but if you look in any calligraphy table for the Old English alphabet, or look in any English hallmark date series using that alphabet, you will see that the letter clearly is a "G" and not a "C"!

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wev
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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swarter is quite right; it is a blackletter G.

Mr. McGrew's researches, however well-intentioned, are rather too often based on untenable assumptions and hearsay. Though the doctors warn against it, a good sprinkling of salt is in order.

That's just my opinion, of course.

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witzhall

Posts: 124
Registered: Mar 2006

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for witzhall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting . . . I looked first under G, finding nothing, and only by chance did I see the Hollic French "C" attribution. I'm disappointed to hear that the emperor's clothes are less elegant than I'd thought, but I'm grateful to learn so before getting stung.

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just an observation, regardless of one's position... I have spoken to John on several occasions and he stated many time (and I think also in his book) he is looking or Additions and Corrections, and any other research that can add to the knowledge base, whether it validates his attributions or dismisses them.

A gentleman and a scholar...

"Smaug"

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then it might serve him well to become an active member in these forums. Previous posts have indicated he is a lurker, if not a member; has he some reason for remaining mum? Perhaps you could ask.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 11-07-2006).]

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argentum1

Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-07-2006 11:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would you pleasure us with an image of the Beggs & Smith mark.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think what AMD was asking is whether or not anyone else has seen this mark - other than in the Beckman book or in McGrew. I have not.

I am not sure that the letter was the reason Mr. French thought that the maker was Cooper. Perhaps he has some other reason that we will never know.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
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iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They do not appear in conjuction with any of the marks shown in Darling that I can see. I have only seen it once before -- on the blade of an otherwise unmarked hollow-handled butter knife.

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AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks to all for the response to my post. The mark that I imaged is indeed the mark from the great 4-pc. tea and coffee service published in Beckman's book, p. 10. The Beggs & Smith mark is published on the same page.

This piece has just entered our collection, hence the questions about the mark.

I know of only one other double-marked Beggs & Smith piece--a pitcher that is in our collection that also bears the mark of Grosjean & Woodward.

In order to find out more about McGrew's attribution of this set of marks to Francis W. Cooper, does anyone know how I might get in touch with Mr. McGrew?

I agree that the center mark is a Gothic "G" rather than a "C".

WEV, do you know where I might find a photo of the knife that you mentioned?

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AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've spoken with Dr. McGrew. It seems as though he based his attribution on the late Hollis French's attribution.

He did say that the "G" does appear to be a "C" in some versions of the Gothic alphabet. I've yet to confirm this for myself.

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wev
Moderator

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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The knife was on a long past ebay auction. I did not stea--er-- acquire the image at the time, I'm afraid.

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argentum1

Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-08-2006 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason I ask to see the Beggs & Smith mark is as follows: If a piece is marked Beggs & Smith then that piece is most likely Beggs & Smith. If the B&S mark is used in conjunction with another mark then there is a possiblity that it is another maker or B&S bought from a wholesaler and had their mark placed on the piece also. Just my own curiosity. My use of B&S is just a lazy way of typing Beggs & Smith.

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AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-09-2006 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This mark appears on all pieces but the tea pot.

I believe that Beggs & Smith may have purchased the forms and added embellishments relative to the piece's presentation to a member of the Independent Fire and Hose Company of Cincinnati.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-09-2006 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See Kinsey for another object of interest to Cincinnati citizens. It is a long thread, but very interesting.

Did Kinsey often sign his work in addition to placing is normal mark on the object?

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AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2006 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As for the Kinsey pitcher, I know this piece. I have not ever seen another Kinsey piece signed in this manner.

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argentum1

Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-10-2006 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AMD is this the set shown in Beckmans book?

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AMD

Posts: 22
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2006 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AMD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, these marks are from the same service published in Beckman's book.

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-23-2020 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently bought an item with these marks (bust, C[or G]), lion) and came here to see what else has been said about them.

In this thread: Francis W. Cooper

Richard shows a pitcher that has both the bust, C, lion in question here AND a well accepted Francis W. Cooper mark. Does that make people happier about McGrew's attribution of the bust, C, lion to FW Cooper?

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 06-23-2020).]

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-27-2020 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's my item with this mark, a punch strainer (or lemon, orange, or tea strainer):




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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-27-2020 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great find. I love the double markings, I have always thought that a redundant marking was a sign that the maker thought highly of the piece.
It probably started as a orange strainer, but would be perfect for mint juleps.
Are the handles cast?

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-27-2020 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, ahwt. Yes, the handles are cast. They're identical (though the symmetry of each handle is a bit off). Here's a closer look:

And there's a thin milled band around the top just under the rim on the underside:

The maker placed the marks carefully so they're symmetrical and don't interfere with the holes.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-27-2020 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The handles must have a story as they look 18th century. I wonder where Mr. Cooper got the idea for that design.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-27-2020 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The handle has a look of a double harp .That might be a clue.

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-28-2020 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lyre, maybe? Or just an abstract pattern?

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-06-2020 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's an interesting wrinkle on my punch strainer: The handles looks like a crude cast version of the one on this Myer Myers punch ladle from a century earlier:

quote:
American silver punch strainer
Myer Myers, New York, circa 1765

Important Americana
New York

American silver punch strainer, Myer Myers, New York, circa 1765
circular, pierced in a rosette, the front with initials N/IF, loss to one side where a clip tore out, mounted above loss with openwork handle
marked on handle twice MM in rectangle, probably Barquist, Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York, mark 6, p. 254
length 4 3/4 in.
12 cm
1 oz 10 dwt
50 g


I wonder whether Mr. Cooper saw Mr. Myers's work and was inspired? Or whether a client wanted a copy?

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 07-06-2020).]

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-07-2020 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Polly that was great detective work to find the Myer Myers strainer. My guess would be that the Myers handle was the design source for your handle, but it could be that there was an earlier handle like this and both Mr. Myers and Mr. Cooper were inspired by the earlier one.

Michael Clayton (the silver author not the movie attorney) in his book “The Collectors Guide to Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America” has some information on strainers as shown below.






Swarter pointed out this book in this earlier post on strainers (Punch strainer). and I have found it to be very useful.

I think the pattern of the holes in your strainer and the Myers strainer are extraordinary; really quite wonderful.

The bibliography for strainers in the Clayton book is interesting, particularly the one by G.B.Hughes.

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 07-07-2020).]

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-07-2020 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, ahwt--another book I clearly should look for. That strainer of yours with the hearts in its handles is beautiful!

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