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Author Topic:   Response to: "Salesman's Samples"

Posts: 30
Registered: Apr 2022

iconnumber posted 04-17-2022 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lycoris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Original topic: Salesman's Samples

There are currently a ton of what are claimed to be copper Tiffany samples listed on the giant auction place (the seller is a reputable retailer).

Most have holes, perhaps for them to be attached to some kind of ring for easy transport, or perhaps to hang them on a wall for display.

Many are not "finished", I suspect because copper is so soft and requires more material to keep things like fork tines from being mangled in transport.

Here are a few pics I grabbed just so that these can still be viewed once those sales have ended:

(Dear Moderators: These are NOT my pictures, obviously, but I don't know any other way to "archive" them here, and I don't want to link to *that* site, especially for active auctions. Please let me know if there is a better way to share this info.)

This seems like a pretty cheap and effective way to provide samples of pattern/size/weight while reducing several significantly expensive and/or dangerous risks:
--Lost or damaged samples
--Large, full-price sample inventory that would have to be stored and secured
--Samples that could only be sold at a loss with scratch & dent prices when the pattern was discontinued
--Assault and robbery of salespeople
--Burglary of shops

Pretty brilliant idea, actually!

Lycoris >^..^<

[This message has been edited by Lycoris (edited 04-22-2022).]

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iconnumber posted 04-17-2022 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be seriously surprised if any of those were real or old. I am no expert on the firm, but I have never heard or seen one in 40+ years. Why would Tiffany, the premier purveyor of silver, bother with a Sears & Roebuck level sales tool? And for whom? They didn't go door to door, after all. Would a retailer well-healed enough to buy top of the market quality goods be satisfied seeing these trinkets?
Are they marked? How? And is there any source material documenting them?

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iconnumber posted 04-17-2022 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lycoris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by wev:
Are they marked? How? And is there any source material documenting them?

The seller says this about the first picture I posted:

rare Tiffany silver sample not bent marked 1898 one of a kind 8"

and this about one of the other listings:

The Tiffany silversmith would hang this piece on his samples board, therefore there is an original hole in the handle. This piece is copper.

The seller is a member of the Jewelers Board of Trade and Associated and National Antique Dealer Associations, and the owner has written a book on sterling silver flatware identification, for whatever that is worth.

Lycoris >^..^<

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iconnumber posted 04-17-2022 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lycoris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a concluded sale I found on a different site from a different seller with more pictures and information: (If I need to go take screenshots rather than use the link, please let me know.)

5 Tiffany makers copper flatware items

[This message has been edited by Lycoris (edited 04-17-2022).]

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June Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-17-2022 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The pieces with the holes look like flatware templates used for quality control. We saw these on our visit to Old Newbury Crafters. ONC flatware is hand forged unlike Tiffany but I would think even the more mass produced Tiffany silver would require reference pieces to maintain conformity.

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iconnumber posted 09-03-2022 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I completely agree with June. I have a number of patinated copper factory prototypes or models. They are all for pieces in patterns introduced by Shreve of San Francisco about 1909, so I believe them to be of that vintage.

Here is a Norman soup spoon. Note that there are numbers on it four places. I assume these are some sort of gauge numbers. Such markings appear on several of the examples.

This Napoleonic dinner fork has instructions stamped on the handle. I guess it represents a late design change.

"MAKE TINE SIZE OF DOLORES", referencing another popular Shreve pattern.

Finally, the model of a Napoleonic gravy ladle, next to a silver one that belonged to my grandparents. The bowl of the copper is stamped "2-1/2".

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iconnumber posted 09-13-2022 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with WEV and June that these are definitely not "salesman's samples" but rather something used by the manufacturers in the production process. In the antiques selling world there are certain phrases and "magic words" that elicit higher sales prices to some collectors. "Salesman's samples" are one such phrase and I would guess that the sellers of these is using that term to try to optimize the prices they get in their auctions.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 09-13-2022).]

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