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KLexx925
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iconnumber posted 11-22-2001 12:12 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is favorite piece of silver that you own?


See also in the New Members' Forum Favorite pieces

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wev
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iconnumber posted 11-22-2001 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, what a difficult question!

After hard thought and even though my interest is in American coin silver, I think I would have to choose this Irish Master Mason's Jewel. It was made for Lodge No 6, Dublin and is dated 1765, the second oldest known according to the Royal Irish Masonic Museum. It has no hallmarks and the maker is unknown, which is not surprising as the Dublin guild of the time was controlled by Catholics and membership or association with anything Masonic was an excommunicable offense. The small initials B and G are presumed to be those of the Master Mason for whom it was made.

The design of the jewel is brilliantly conceived and chock-a-block with mystic imagery, masterfully engraved. I think it a real joy.

It measures 1 3/4" wide by 2 3/8" tall

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wev
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iconnumber posted 11-25-2001 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Surely someone besides me has a favorite. Come on, boys and girls; I would be interested to see what tickles your fancy.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-25-2001 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have many favorites. Often what is most favored depends on my mood. One piece which I have previously posted about is my Adrian Bancker spoon. (see: c. 1735 Adrian Bancker coin silver spoon and the roots of my addiction). I suppose my favorites are proportionate to my personal sense of discovery. The more insight to a vanishing history, the more my fascination. June and I have a wonderful (all be it very incomplete) collection of silver smalls which we call Whatzits. These Whatzits are things that have a particular purpose but lifestyles have changed such that most people look at this and ask "whatzits". After dinner with friends, we bring out a few of our Whatzits and let everyone guess -- it is great fun!!. biggrin

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Paul Lemieux

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iconnumber posted 11-25-2001 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hard to pick my favorite piece, but this meat fork could be it because of the subject matter. I especially like the little snout beetle (last pic).

The pattern is Bug by Durgin. There are 24 insects on the handle, plus the snake.

Scott--you should post images of some of your whatzits; they sound intriguing.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 11-25-2001 09:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that's just plain weird, Paul; very appealing, but weird. i can't imagine the pattern was a big seller. What can you tell us about it?
------
And I second the whatzits, Scott -- we can have a contest like Brent's maker marks.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 11-25-2001).]

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Paul Lemieux

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iconnumber posted 11-25-2001 10:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm afraid I can't tell you too much about the pattern; it's probably from about 1880. It is a multi-motif one also. Am not sure if it was full line or not; have never seen place pieces. I have only seen the cold meat fork, a butter knife, and pictures of a cream ladle & sardine fork. No, I don't think it was a big seller. I guess folks didn't like a teeming mass of bugs on their flatware while eating. However, it is my favorite flatware pattern.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 11-25-2001).]

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Brent

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iconnumber posted 11-26-2001 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Both of these items are extraordinary. The Masonic jewel is old, interesting and rare, which makes it a treasure in my book. The bug fork is also wonderful in its own weird way. I had the pleasure(?) of handling a piece of Bug at the NYSS dinner last January. It is actually a bit sneaky. The pattern looks rather like cobblestones on first glance. I would imagine that some diners never even noticed that they were eating from silver covered with bugs.

OK, I guess I had better contribute something. Here....

Can anybody tell me what this is, or why it might be one of my favorite things?

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 11-29-2001 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That looks suspiciously like the mark of Mr. Dummer. Have you had it authenticated?

One of my favorites is my Dutch hoof spoon. When I get a camera I will send images.... I promise.... and I will share whatever I find of interest to you all.

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Brent

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iconnumber posted 12-01-2001 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since no one but Fred has jumped in here, I will reveal the mystery. This is an American colonial era silver brooch. Brooches like these were produced extensively for use in trade with the native Americans. Hamilton's book "SILVER IN THE FUR TRADE" illustrates drawings of similar designs. The crowned heart was a traditional English design, but it found favor with the native Americans as a representation of an owl. Although most of these brooches were produced for the trade market, they were apparently also popular with colonial ladies. Although the picture is not so great, the back of this brooch in engraved "EM" in period block capitals. This inplies to me that this was indeed worn by a colonial lady. English silversmiths also made some trade silver and brooches of this type, but they tend to be far more substantial than this piece, which is quite thin.

The ID maker's mark is attributed by Hamilton to John David, Sr. of Philadelphia. He is known to have produced large quantities of trade silver. Early silversmiths often had a small initial punch for jewelry, and the jewelry mark did not always resemble that used for larger objects.

I would love to think this might be by Jeremiah Dummer, who also made trade silver. The brooch did turn up in New England, so you never know. For the time being, though, I am sticking with the John David attribution.

You may wonder how such a brooch might have been worn. Here's how, but it only works on loosely woven garment like a sweater. What you do is lay the brooch flat against your garment. Reach through the lower hole of the brooch, pinch a piece of fabric and pull it out through the hole. When you have enough fabric pulled through, you can slide the tip of the pin into the fabric and release the fabric. The pin will slide through the piched bit and the tension of the fabric will hold the pin againt the other side of the brooch. It is actually very secure!

Brent

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 12-17-2001 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, I loved seeing these treasures. Thanks for sharing them. That Masonic jewel is really gorgeous.

Like wev, my favorite piece of silver is actually something outside my main collecting area (French silver). I'm a sucker for interesting old inscriptions. A few months ago, I bought a large English lidded tankard by Thomas Farren, hallmarked for London, 1722-3, with this contemporary presentation on it:

"The Gift of ye Owners of ye Mary & Mariane
To Drink Prosperity to North Carolina"

The Mary and Mariane are clearly the names of ships that were sailing to the Colonies; I've been trying to pin them down. I hope -- perhaps a bit fancifully -- that the tankard may relate to the 1723 departure from London to North Carolina of a royal governor named George Burrington. In fact, under the inscription is a large initial B. (Burrington was quite a colorful figure, too - fought duels, drank too much, molested female colonists, and was finally driven from the colony in disgrace. He also, intriguingly, complained to the Crown that his salary was so low that he had to sell off his plate to support himself.)

But any case, the tankard evokes for me a time when the American colonies were barely more than a wilderness: North Carolina in the 1720s was still just a handful of Englishmen and Africans in a few scattered villages and plantations. And I like to picture this handsome piece of Georgian silver crossing the ocean in the creaking hold of a ship (the Mary or Mariane?) -- a relic of European gentility, and an emblem of the colonists' hopes for their new land.

It's in somewhat battered condition now, which for me actually adds to its charm. The silver peg holding the lid on was replaced sometime long ago by one of handwrought iron -- you can imagine the tankard getting lots of hard use for generations on some remote plantation, where there was no silversmith nearby to repair it when the lid went clattering off amidst an especially enthusiastic drinking bout.

Okay, okay, maybe I'm letting my imagination run away with itself. But that's exactly what collecting is all about, for me: holding an object in your hand and dreaming about its past.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-11-2003 11:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Adam:

Two years have now passed since you posted your ship query here and on a genealogical site (NCRoots) - with no solution either here or there. Assuming you still own the tankard, have you ever suceeded in tracing the ship?

I say "the ship" since I believe it was one ship named after two women, possibly the wives of the ship owners. I have looked through a couple of ship lists from the period and found a number of ships bearing two names.

In addition "ye" is really a common mistranscription of the original old script form for "the," in which the "th" combination looked like a "y," so the inscription should actually be read "the Mary and Mariane."

Lists of immigrants often include the ships on which they arrived. The lists I examined are of immigrants to Pennsylvania arriving at the port of Piladelphia. If you can find nothing for arrivals in North Carolina directly, you might try to find a list of immigrants to Charleston, which was a major port in Colonial times. Failing that, English ship registries should include it.

These historical items can be fascinatingly tantalizing, and at the same time frustrating. I have been trying for some time to trace the origns of a tankard, too. I know the owners name, parentage, birth and death, English title, and and military rank. The tankard has only a maker's mark, and so could be of Colonial origin, but I have yet to find where he served during most of his career when he seems to have been absent from England and could have been in the Colonies. Someday . . . .

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doc

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iconnumber posted 12-15-2003 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a fun question! It really makes you think about what is in your collection.

I have two favorites-one sterling and one silver plated. My sterling piece is a small Irish ewer made by Samuel Neville with angels and cherubs chased on the side.

In stark contrast, my favorite silver plated piece is a spooner by Reed & Barton with a menacing large horned devil and large flower pattern-odd but compelling!

Sorry no photos-I am at work at the moment.

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 12-28-2003 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stuart,

I'm glad you asked. Actually, yes, I have pinned down the ship (no thanks to those web queries) -- and I have a pretty good guess about the identity of the tankard's original owner. It's not who I'd thought it was, but it's still quite an interesting provenance.

Through documents I found in the British Public Record Office and in the North Carolina State Archives, I traced the Mary & Mariane as a brig out of Edenton that was chartered by the Royal Navy to bring arms and ammunition from London to the colony in 1739-40, when it was threatened by the Spanish during the charmingly-named War of Jenkins' Ear. Her captain for the transatlantic voyage (whose initials I believe are those inscribed mirror-style on my tankard's lid) was a Royal Navy commander named John Campbell. Campbell seems to have enjoyed his visit to America, for by 1743 he had returned to settle permanently in North Carolina, founding the town of Colerain in Chowan County near Edenton. As a planter and shipowner, Capt. Campbell became one of the wealthiest men in the colony, known as "the Merchant Prince of Lazy Hill" after the name of his plantation. He served as speaker of the NC General Assembly, became a zealous patriot during the Revolution, and was a signer of the New Bern Declaration. He died in 1780.

The documents I found suggest that Campbell had some trouble in London getting the Lords of Admiralty to pay for the charter of the Mary & Mariane. Assuming he eventually succeeded, this may explain why the grateful shipowners rewarded him with this tankard when, shortly thereafter, he decided to return permanently to America.

Campbell's involvement in the recent military mission would also help explain the patriotic nature of the inscription.

The initial "B" under the inscription on the body was probably added a bit later, perhaps for a member of the Brownrigg family, who inherited much of Campbell's estate through his daughter.


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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-28-2003 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Adam:

That is indeed great news! The only thing I can imagine more satisfying than even finding such a piece in the first place, is being able to trace its origin, significance, ownership, and to find that the probable owner was so prominent a figure in his own time. A nice piece of history, to be sure. Have you drunk a toast from it yet?

Thanks for sharing!

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 12-28-2003).]

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 12-28-2003 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Stuart ... you're right, it really was a rewarding experience. All the more so because the tankard was a flea market find. And yes, I did drink some beer from it .....

Now I have to figure out what to do, if anything about restoring it. Not sure if you can tell from the pics, but it's in rough shape. I haven't even polished it since I bought it; part of me thinks I should leave it as I found it.

Last summer I happened to be traveling near Edenton and visited the town that Campbell founded, which was quite interesting.

What about your tankard? What is the inscription on it? Maybe someone on these forums will have a suggestion.

And now that we have this thread started again ... let's see some other people's all-time favorites.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 12-28-2003 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread continues in Favorite silver? - page 2 (click here)


See also in the New Members' Forum Favorite pieces

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