SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
Silverplate Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  Silverplate Forum
tline3open  Mark on salt?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Mark on salt?
Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 10-28-2004 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone recognize the mark on this salt, or suggest the approx date or country?

Many thanks

IP: Logged


Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 10-29-2004 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This looks like a silversmith's mark, typically US. Pieces do exist where silversmiths experimented with the new process of electroplating. So did pewterers. Which might be an even better place to start.

Does this appear to be spun from a sheet, formed in a mold or made over a form? Were the pieces plated then assembled or the other way around? Interesting item. Thank you for putting it up.

IP: Logged

Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-02-2004 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks, Dale, for your thoughts. You've now got me very pleasantly worried!

As with many neglected salts, there was susptantial corrosion and pitting on the piece when I bought it. I soaked it in ammonia and when I cleaned it, I thought I could see places where the salt had corroded through the silver to the base metal. I have continued to polish the piece, especially the inside, and the more I polish the more silver-like it beomes.

As for technique, the whole bowl seems to be one piece - with the legs added, I guess.

More than once I've bought silver which has turned out to be silverplate - but this is the first time I may just have bought silverplate which turns out to be silver!

If you think there is any possibility that this could be American coin silver, perhaps you could transfer this topic.


IP: Logged


Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-02-2004 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not sure Patrick what it is. My initial gut reaction was, and still is, that this is an old pewter piece that had been plated at some point. Sometimes old pewter will take a shine that very much resembles old silver; sometimes it won't. So, this is a fascinating mystery item. Does anyone here recognize the mark? The cross on strikes me as more typical of pewterers than silversmiths. On the other hand, I have seen a few pieces where the silversmith plated something and used his stamp on it. But this is another area where there has been virtually no research. The number of smiths who experimented with new techniques is clearly not understood. Great piece. Does it appear spun or cast? Which is very difficult to make out sometimes.

IP: Logged


Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-06-2004 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not convinced your salt dish is an American piece on stylistic grounds. The ribbon-tied reeded borders are a design motif that originated in France in the 18th C. This design to my knowledge did not catch on in America, but has been very popular in Europe. Also the raised cross in a shield mark looks Austrian to me, specifically Raab, but I don't have enough experience with early Austrian marks to be sure. Are there members out there who could venture an opinion on an Austrian origin?

IP: Logged

Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-11-2004 05:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a piece with the identical markings (there are clear horizontal lines behind the cross as part of mark, so I suggest that it may be the Coat of Arms of the town where the pieces were made.

My piece is factory-produced, a circular pill box, oval in cross-section, like a small tobacco box - the lid has die-stamped decoration and the whole LOOKS to me Germanic and c.1920 (what a dealer might call c.1900.

It is certainly silver of lower grade (probably .800) - now all we need is a book of European City Coats of Arms!!

IP: Logged


Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-11-2004 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Civic Coats of Arms by Jiri Louda (Hamlyn; London, 1966) illustrates no such coat. There are several shields with plain crosses that run from margin to margin (Most are Italian, and a couple French), but none confined to the center of the shield. The illustrated shields are identical except for the background and cross colors, which are solid. If the horizontal lines in the background of your punch are a heraldic symbol for a color, we might be able to identify it, assuming the artist's renderings are only conceptual and not accurate in every detail. Otherwise, if it is a city coat of arms, it has been omitted from this compendium.

IP: Logged

Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-11-2004 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to everyone for your interest.

Dale - To be honest, I don't know if it's spun or cast - what should I be looking for?

Kayvee and Silver Lyon, thanks for your suggestion of a German or Austrian origin. When I first got this piece, I wondered about the shield being for Switzerland. But then I told myself it was too obvious!!!!!

Could it be? I've tried to clean up my mark, but so far as I can see there is no additional detail (it's tiny, no more than about 1 mm square).

IP: Logged


Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-11-2004 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When a piece is spun, there are usually on the interior very fine concentric circles which show the spinning process. When a piece is raised up from a sheet there will be ever so slight irregularities in the surface, ones felt but not seen, that indicate the hammaring process. When a piece is cast, the overall feel and look will be uniform. Learning these takes a lot of handling, emphasis on hands not looking. Running your fingers over what looks like a smooth surface is part of the process. Regularity betrays machine process. The old hand crafters left behind traces of their art.

Are there any posts here on these subjects?

IP: Logged


Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-13-2004 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I had to identity it on stylistic grounds alone, I’d have to say mid-19th Century European. But based on the marks, I think both Austria & Switzerland can be ruled out (assuming that it is silver, not plate). Austrian marks are well-recorded and they are certainly none of those; the Raab mark which the cross resembles was no longer used after the late 17th/early 18th Century.

Swiss marks are much less well-known. They followed the typical German-style city guild system in the 18th century, were under French control during the Napoleonic era, and were nationalized in 1883 under a system which – with some changes – is still in force today. Unfortunately the huge dearth of information on Swiss marks occurs precisely during the mid-19th century: from the end of the Napoleonic era to the nationalization of marks in 1883.

However, it is known that precious metal control was under the jurisdiction of individual cantons during this period. The problem here is that the well-known Swiss cross was (and is) the national heraldic device, not that of an individual canton, so I doubt it would be used as a hallmark during the period and it is not recorded in the (admittedly meager) literature. (The canton of Schwyz did have a mark – shown in Tardy p. 391 – that was a single cross in a shield, based on the Canton Arms, but the cross is not centered: it should be in the upper right corner. Moreover, this was the mark used before the Napoleonic era; I have no reference for its use after that.)

I will offer one peculiar idea, just to stir the pot. There was a European city in the 19th century which used a single cross in a shield identical to yours as its silver guaranty mark, and which would be accompanied by that of the maker’s initials, and that was Tallinn (also called Revel), Estonia. This mark – and variations of it – were used until 1842, when Estonia became under Russian control and Russian-style marks were used at the new Assay Office in Tallinn. Here’s an example, being two marks of Gustav Weiss, fl. 1791-1814:

This is from “Väärismetalltööd Eestes 15.-19. Sajandini” [roughly “Estonian Precious Metal Work 15th –19th Century”] by E. Vende (Tallinn: Kirjastus Kunst, 1967) which has a list of makers in Talinn, but not one, unfortunately, with the initials “OW”.

Like I say, I offer this only to stir the pot, and on the assumption that the item in question is silver. Very nice salt cellar, though!

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a

1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.

| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2022 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices