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 !!
Continental / International Silver Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  Continental / International Silver
tline3open  Posen Silberwaaren, Germany

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:   Posen Silberwaaren, Germany
pfitz
unregistered
iconnumber posted 01-01-2004 10:30 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a cased set of 18 gilded silver cocktail forks. On the back they are marked Posen in the middle of the handle and, below the tines, are stamped with (left to right) a triangle inside of which are stars at each of the 3 corners; the crescent and crown; and either 800 over MILL or 800 over 1000. The silk lining of the case says Posen Silberwaaren, Frankfurt Am something (it's not Main, but something else with 6 letters, now rubbed off. I-net searches reveal little beyond vague references to a Jewish silversmith named Posen working in the 3rd quarter of the 19th C. in Frankfurt and Berlin. I'd like to learn what the triangle/stars mark means and whether these forks were made by this man Posen or made later by a company bearing his name. Also approx. date of manufacture. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance.

IP: Logged

blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-17-2004 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oddly enough, I recently was asked to catalogue for auction a whimsical Weimar-era center bowl by Posen (properly Lazarus Posen Witwe), embossed with figures of playing children. This is the addendum I wrote there:

“Lazarus Posen Witwe (Lazarus Posen’s widow) was unique among 19th- and 20th-century German silver manufactories in that its owner and principal director was a Jewish woman. The firm was founded in Frankfurt on the Main in 1869 by Brendina Wetzlar, the widow of Lazarus Jacob Posen, a silversmith and retailer of Polish descent. Under the widow Posen’s stewardship, the firm became the largest supplier of Judaica in the late 19th century. Her son Jacob L. Posen joined the firm by 1880, and by 1900, the company’s large staff of chasers and engravers were producing some of the finest silver in the country. They received a royal warrant in 1903 and opened a second shop in Berlin. The firm followed all the latest continental trends incorporating both Danish and Austrian styles into their output. In the 20th century the firm was under the direction of Brendina’s grandsons Jakob, Hermann and Moritz Posen. The exact date of the company’s closure is not known, but it seems certain that the wealthy Jewish-owned firm was a victim of the terrors of the Nazi regime. Articles by Posen Witwe are today held in both the Frankfurt Historical Museum and the Frankfurt Jewish Museum.”

To this I will add that I do not know when Posen himself died, but clearly it was before 1869 and therefore your forks are certainly not by him, as the crescent & crown did not come into effect until 1884. Also, I can’t imagine that the “Frankfurt” etc. is anything but Frankfurt am Main, where the firm was located. Besides, the only other possibility is Frankfurt an der Oder, which also has 4 letters; but I am certain that it is not Frankfurt a.d. O., as Posen had no connection to that city.

The known marks for the firm are thus: First, the early “L. Posen” & “13” (Löt) mark used presumably in Posen’s lifetime:

(I should note that I have never seen an early, pre-1884 Posen item with the Frankfurt guild mark; perhaps the Jewish Posen was ineligible for membership.) Next, the “L. Posen” “*800*” & half-moon mark, perhaps used in Posen’s lifetime, but certainly that used by the firm of Lazarus Posen Witwe after 1869:

This mark sometimes appears without the “L. Posen”, but may be recognized by the flanking stars & half-moon:

Next is the “official” mark for use with the crown & moon, registered in 1898, but used from 1888, “P” in a shield:

Finally, the simple “Posen”, as near as I can tell, was used in the 20th C. on items made by others but retailed by L. Posen Witwe; here, for instance, with the manufacturer’s mark of P. Bruckmann & Söhne of Heilbronn ( a splayed eagle):

So I think your item was merely retailed by L. Posen Witwe, probably around 1910-1920. As for the maker, I have seen the “three stars in a triangle mark” attributed to the firm of E. Wollenweber of Munich, but I think this is wrong. The “mill” under the 800 makes no sense for a German firm, as the German for “thousand” is “Tausend”; “mill” is the French “mille”. I suspect the mark is the well-known one of the large firm Wolfers Frères of Belgium. They used the three stars in a triangle for .800 silver and three stars in a trefoil for .950 silver.

Here is the .800 mark, presumably Wolfers', with the German reichsmark you describe:

I do not know if Wolfers had a factory in Germany – I think not – but one should not be surprised by the absence of Belgian marks on their output; obligatory assay was abolished in Belgium in 1868 and the procedure there today remains voluntary. I suspect the “800/mill” mark was one Wolfers used specifically for German exports.

Hope this helps!

IP: Logged

blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-17-2004 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a little lagniappe, here is a Posen trade card from 1915:

IP: Logged

pfitz

Posts: 5
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 11-17-2004 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pfitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blakstone,

You have exceeded my highest expectations for an answer to this mystery! You are a fountain of information!! Many thanks...can't even total how many hours I spent looking and here it was all in your head. smile

pfitz

IP: Logged

pfitz

Posts: 5
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 11-18-2004 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pfitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a result of Blakstone's lead, I have read a brief history of the Wolfers Freres company by Martine D'Haeseleer on her website
[<gone from the internet> .silverbel.org (try http://www.ascasonline.org/ARTICOLONOVE69.html]
www.silverbel.org

(devoted to Belgian silver). She says that after their apprenticeships (I'm assuming sometime in the late 1860s-early 1870s) the three sons of one of the firm's founders were sent from Brussels to prospect for business in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. She notes they established business relationships with P. Kirschner in Dusseldorf, Goldschmidt in Koln (Cologne), and Friedlander in Berlin. According to D'Haeseleer, "This explains why some German assay and retailers' marks are punched with Wolfers' silversmith marks." She also shows a set of marks like the ones on the tines of my forks, namely the crescent and crown, the 800/MILL, and the three stars in a triangle and says we can "safely assume" this indicates the article was made for export and retailed in the German Reich. So I think I can "safely assume" Wolfers Freres also retailed their silver through Posen in Frankfurt.

I was excited to read she compares Wolfers' wares favorably with Puiforcat, Garrard, Tiffany, and Gorham! I think it's neat to have the history of both Posen and Wolfers bound up in this set.

Thanks again,
Blakstone!

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 - 2020 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices