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Author Topic:   Help Identifying WR Maker's Mark
marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-04-2019 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WR Makers Mark is on a 14.5" long Ladle.

I am new to this forum & would greatly appreciate any input as to identifying this maker's mark. There are no other marks that I can find.

The stems applies to the handle with a modified rats tail that makes me wonder if the ladle is a 1928 knockoff or instead a very old one.

The ladle was a 1928 wedding present to my grandparents. The crazy monogram is an unusual combination of their initials that looks a bit awkward - makes me wonder if it was already a vintage piece with a single Initial that the engraver attempted to make work.

Thank you so much!

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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-04-2019 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Catherine B Hollan, in her massive book on Virginia silversmiths, shows this mark as mark b on page 651.
This mark belonged to (Captain) William Richardson of Richmond VA (1755-1809). The Hollan book has close to five pages of text on the life of Mr. Richardson and is well worth reading. From the style of the ladle it may well have been made in the early part of his career. Mr. Richardson finished his apprenticeship in 1776.

[This message has been edited by ahwt (edited 08-04-2019).]

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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-04-2019 11:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is only a guess, but the letters in the monogram appear to have equal wear. That would indicate they were made at the same time so it may be only by chance they they are the initials of your grandparents.

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marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 02:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for all your help!!! Everyone on this forum. Seems knowledgeable & ready to help. I am going to get myself a copy of Catherine B Hollan‘s book. Do u have any other recommendations? Most of my research if done thru the internet, which can be helpful but dead-ends arise.

Thank u for taking the time to respond & making an effort.

My grandmother owned 347 different silver patterns & my job of identifying is getting harder.

Thank you!!

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marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for all your help!!! Everyone on this forum. Seems knowledgeable & ready to help. I am going to get myself a copy of Catherine B Hollan‘s book. Do u have any other recommendations? Most of my research if done thru the internet, which can be helpful but dead-ends arise.
Thank u for taking the time to respond & making an effort.
My grandmother owned 347 different silver patterns & my job of identifying is getting harder.

Thank you!!

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marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ordered the book - thank you very very much!

Could u please tell me if Captain William RICHARDSON used all the marks in photo - a b c d & e?

This punch Ladle has no silver standard mark - did he make plated or coin items?

Thank you

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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am glad that you found the information useful. William Richardson made solid silver articles and either made them from silver that his customers gave to him (often out of style English silver pieces) to fashion new pieces or from coin silver.

Deborah Dependahl Waters in her article “From Pure Coin” in Winterthur Portfolio 12 discusses coin silver at length and it a great place to start your study. You can read it on line at the referenced site.

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 08-05-2019).]

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asheland

Posts: 917
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a very nice ladle! I believe it's totally original, 1770's-1780's.

Welcome to the forums.

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ahwt

Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A William Richardson pair of tongs is discussed at this thread and should be of interest to you.
I gather from the Hollan book that Mr. Richardson did use all four of the marks illustrated and occasionally added an eagle mark. Ms. Hollan also shows the marks used when William had a partnership with his brother George.
The number of marks used by William does seem on the high side. Many silversmiths used more than one, but I do not think many used four plus the variation of an added eagle. And in addition, he and his brother had several marks that they used on partnership sold silver. One conclusion I could reach is that even when he was in a partnership, he continued to used a mark that identified himself as the marker. That of course is pure speculation on my part.

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marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all your responses & help!! I am both astounded & thrilled at your knowledge.

Online silver sites only produced the one mark for William Richardson “W[pellet]R” or the joint mark with his brother George. Thus, I had no reason, until now, to consider this ladle was made by him. Thank you!!

Concerning the monogram:
This morning I did an online search for ladles attributed to William Richardson & in those results found monogramed ones have a single Script letter almost identical to mine. My grandmother’s initials were "RM" & my grandfather’s initials were "GH". Their sterling flatware was monogramed with both their initials in a format that looked intended, thus, it took me a while to decipher to which of my ancestors this monogram belonged. If you look closely there is a small “+” sign below the “R”/above the “G”. The equal wear mentioned by ahwt gives me good reason for pause, but I cannot get over the weird configuration of the letters and the tiny “+” sign. Thus, I am inclined to believe the ladle initially had a single letter.

Thanks to all who patiently answered my questions!

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4084
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-05-2019 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my eye, I would have to say it is two related (in some manner) monos. From the structure and stroke, the R appears to be by a different hand than the three lower. I have to take your word that the + is intentional and not an incidental pair of scratches, but if so, then it is poorly placed visually, indicating to me a lesser hand at a later time, which would further incline me to think that the R is the secondary engraving, rather than the original later added to.

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marni7

Posts: 6
Registered: Nov 2018

iconnumber posted 08-06-2019 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for marni7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not have many OMG moments, but your response ignited one!!!

My grandmother was Rebecca Malone & my Malone family moved from VA to Alabama in the early 1800s. They brought their silver with them - I have a pair of salt cellars bearing the initials of my 3g-gf. As you pointed out the R is engraved with lesser skill, while the 3 horizontal letters are equally worn & of much greater skill. HGM was my 3g-gf Henry George Malone & the engraving looks the same as others by Captain Richardson. My grandmother added the R for herself, Rebecca, thus producing an odd monogram to include both her & her husband’s initials. When I have more time tomorrow I will post a photo of the monogram on their flatware, which also uses both their initials, RM & GH. But placement of initials on flatware is correct because the the engraver did not have to work around the already engraved HGM.

Thank you soooooo much!!!

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4084
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-06-2019 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm confused. The triplet reads H C M, not H G M. 19th century script Cs and Gs are quite different in form. Could it have been gifted from someone else in the family? An aunt or uncle or whatever, whose initials are HCM?

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Kimo

Posts: 1595
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-06-2019 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to add a bit to the excellent information in Ms. Water's explanation - silver was not readily available at that time and so while coins were often used, it was not uncommon for a family that was ordering new silver to turn in their old silver especially if it was out of style, very worn, or damaged in some way. Everything went into the melting pot and the smiths used the resulting silver alloy to make their wares. As such the silver content can be anywhere from below to the Sterling standard of 92.5 percent pure to above that number depending on what was thrown into the crucible. The term "coin" is just a romantic label that sounds much better than "whatever was around to thrown into the pot" silver. It may be, may partially be, or may not be what actually went into the resulting silver alloy from which a silver smith made the objects. In more recent times the term "coin" was re-defined to mean silver that is 90 percent pure silver.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 08-06-2019).]

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