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tline3open  "Pure Silver Coin" in an arc

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Author Topic:   "Pure Silver Coin" in an arc
Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 03-31-2019 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone recognize this "PURE SILVER COIN" mark? I believe this comb is from the 1840s-50s. I've never found a marked coin silver example before, and I was hoping someone would recognize this particular arced mark to help me narrow down time and place. It's engraved on the back with "Lydia S. Partridge," presumably the owner, and on the front with stylized leaves and flowers and a mid-19th century rococo revival cartouche.


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Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 03-31-2019 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lydia Sanford Partridge of Medway, Mass in this link would have been a young woman at the right period:
http://www.medwaylib.org/History/Thayer.htm

This Lydia S. Partridge was born in 1830 and married at 22, so she presumably changed her name in 1852. I doubt a pre-teen child would have had a comb like this. So let's say she got it after age 15, and no later than her marriage (as a wedding present, maybe)--that would date it to 1846-52, right around when I was guessing. Maybe she wore it at Mount Holyoke, where she got her education. She overlapped there in 1848 with Emily Dickinson! Of course, I have no idea if that really is the same Lydia as the owner of my comb, so this is all just speculation.

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June Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 1199
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-31-2019 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stunning comb, Polly! And great research around the owner.

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Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 03-31-2019 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, June!

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asheland

Posts: 902
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 04-01-2019 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome piece!

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ahwt

Posts: 2083
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-02-2019 08:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JONES BALL & POOR Boston MA used that phrase with the arc as shown. There is a nice silver cup [at auction] right now that uses that description.

It really is nice to have a complete name on a piece of silver. Great find.

]

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Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-02-2019 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, awht! I saw that too (and popped back here to say so, and saw your post). Jones, Ball & Poor were in business from 1846-1853, which exactly fits the dates I was guessing based on the Mount Holyoke Lydia. That makes me think it's quite likely this is the same Lydia. I wonder if she knew Emily Dickinson!

I find this especially satisfying because I've wondered for a long time how to date these coin silver combs, which I collect. I'd guessed they were from the 1830s-50s based on the material, engraving style, and contemporary paintings and fashion illustrations, but I never found a dated or marked example before.

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Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-12-2019 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I've mentioned, I collect 19th century silver combs, and the coin silver ones are almost always unmarked, so it's hard to know exactly when they were made. That was one reason I was so excited to find the "Pure Silver Coin" comb. Now I've found another one that I think I can date fairly confidently, because I'm pretty sure I know who made it. Based on decorative elements, I think it's by Leonard & Wilson of Philadelphia, who were only in business for a few years, from 1857-51.

Here's the comb:

The back:

Now compare the flowers and leaves on the comb to the ones on the Leonard & Wilson card cases next to it:

See especially the flower at the bottom of the L&W card case in this image:

What do you think? Am I onto something?

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ahwt

Posts: 2083
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-12-2019 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They do look like they were made by the same hand. I have not seen many items made by Leonard & Wilson, but a search on the internet seems to indicate that they usually made card cases.
Could it be that the designer of card cases for Leonard & Wilson also worked for another silversmith that for some reason did not mark their wares?

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4068
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 07-12-2019 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is worth bearing in mind that there were numerous set design books, English and American, circulating at the time expressly for this sort of thing. A designer or client could page through and pick a motif to fill an appropriate spot on their whatever. Every result would vary, of course, but still carry a strong resemblance to something else by a wholly different hand.

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Polly

Posts: 1886
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-13-2019 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt, Leonard & Wilson very often didn't mark their wares. Most of my L&W card cases are unmarked.

wev, that's true. But the construction of this comb is extremely similar to that of the card cases. It's not hand repoussee, but stamped from a sheet of thin silver, and then engraved details are added here and there. Does that change the equation? Would it be more likely or less likely for more than one maker to use similar dies? (Maybe there was a die manufacturer who sold dies to L&W and others?) I've never seen objects with the distinctive L&W look that were marked by other makers, only unmarked ones and ones with their mark.

Here's an example of a pair of marked L&W salts with similar flowers/leaves, just to show that they didn't ONLY make card cases:

Even if this comb isn't by L&W (I still think it is), if we assume wev is right and they were both following the same pattern book, that should still put the comb in roughly the same period as the card cases, right?

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ahwt

Posts: 2083
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-13-2019 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it is pretty clear that it was made around 1847 to 1851 and probably in Philadelphia by Leonard and Wilson.
I wonder if this Wilson was related to either Robert or William Wilson of Philadelphia.

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