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tline3open  Another very odd birdback-HL Alligator IS

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Author Topic:   Another very odd birdback-HL Alligator IS
Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-16-2009 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote




Hello all,

Back again with another odd bird. Here is a nice little feather-edge tea, average weight, seemingly period monogram on front with date of 1803, later engraving on back and date of 1907, nice bird facing left. Now the fun part; marks of H Pellet L in a rectangle and IS in a shield, flanking what looks to be an alligator or crocodile head. I have never seen such a mark.

It may be an unrecorded mark of Harvey Lewis and Joseph Smith, working in Philadelphia, but the first record of them seems to be in 1805.

Can anyone offer any identification of the marks? Thanks!

Brent

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-16-2009 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting find. I don't have a better suggestion at the moment, but dollars to donuts it is not American. Somewhere in the British Empire, I would guess.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 09-16-2009 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you google the book Scottish Gold and Silver, there is information about an assay mark being required in mid eighteenth century Jamaica that looks interesting and may apply.

Great spoon and nice clear marks.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-16-2009 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you both! I think you have hit it on the head; I found a second source noting the alligator-head assay mark from Jamaica, so I think that must be it. What a nice surprise!

Brent

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-16-2009 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the initial marks would be that of the maker and the other the assay master, but neither appears in Finley's list of "usual initials" associated with the "alligator head" (there are no fresh water Alligators in the BWI, but there are - or were - salt water American Crocodiles). Such a mark with the "usual" initials is pictured in the list of unascribed marks in the second edition of Jackson, but was dropped from the last revision. Interestingly, the mark pictured on this spoon is that of a crocodile skull, (which must have been the model used by the engraver of this punch) and not the entire head!

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 09-16-2009).]

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