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  menorah markings silver 19th c.

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:   menorah markings silver 19th c.
wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-07-2006 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recently purchased a silver menorah supposedly 19th cent. and of German artisan. It actually looks Polish/Russian. Mark looks like ml, maybe Cyrillic ms.Any help would be appreciated.Hope the picture is OK; haven't posted in a while.

actual menorah picture

Murray

IP: Logged

tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-07-2006 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Murray,

I took the liberty of cropping and enlarging your hallmark photo (hope you don't mind!) I don't think it is Russian. The number "800" indicates the silver content in parts per thousand. The Russians used a different marking system and their most common purity was 875/1000. The letters to the left are probably those of the maker, and they look more Latin than Cyrillic - a clearer photo would be necessary to tell for sure.

Since you say it was made by a German artisan, that is probably the country of origin as well. I do wonder, though, why it does not have a city mark (look again for crests, animals, etc.). Poland is also possible. If it is Polish, it was probably made in the area of Poland controlled by Germany before WWI. The most common German silver was 800, and the marking system used the number itself. Polish silver smiths (or German smiths in Polish areas) would have been required to use the standard marks of the country to which they belonged (there was no modern Poland until 1919). Do you have any other reasons to believe the piece might be from Poland (style, family records, etc.)?

Some one more knowledgeable about continental silver may be able to identify the maker's mark and give you an approximate date for the piece.

Good luck,
Tom

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom: Thanks so much for your reply and photo work. I will try to improve the photo submission clarity. I can't find any other markings than what appears to be "mc" and "800" if it is indeed latin. No further history...seller says it is German, 19th c. in style of 18th.
Murray

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
better picture


IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 08:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom: Perhaps someone can delete the pictures of the markings except for the last, to save space.
Murray

IP: Logged

salmoned

Posts: 336
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the mark is upside-down. Also, what is that shield-shaped black mark?

[This message has been edited by salmoned (edited 01-08-2006).]

IP: Logged

tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Murray,

Salmond is correct: the letters are upside down. They are a script "FW" for Fredrich Wilhelm III, King of Purssia at the time that your menorah was made. German silver can be very hard to date, but you lucked out. It seems that this particular mark was in use only for part of 1809. Later that year it was replaced by an Eagle, part of the Prussian coat of arms. Such limited use of the mark probably had something to do with the Napoleonic Wars. The French emperor defeated Prussia at Jena and established the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted until 1813. The French invasion awakend Prussian and ultimately German nationalism. Replacing the initials a rather ineffectual soverign with a national symbol would have made sense.

The kingdom of Prussia, centered on Berlin/Potsdam, included vast areas of what is today Poland, which until the holocaust had one of Europe's largest Jewish populations. A Polish/Russian stylistic look would not have been unusual. However, that is mere speculation. You may wish to send or e-mail photos of your menorah to the Spertus Musuem of Judaica in Chicago. They have a large collection of menorahs and might be able to help further. Here is the their web page: Spertus Museum [spertus.edu/museum/ - link gone from the Internet]

Anyway, these are my conclusions, but I will feel much better if Sazikov and/or Blackstone can corroborate them. They are the real experts on continental silver.

Tom

PS Thanks for sharing such a fun piece. Could you post an enlarged shot of the Menorah?

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to Salmoned and Tom for their response and detective work. I never thought the mark was upside down since I could read the 800.Can't Assume anything. Great to confirm the country of origin and date.; will post a better picture of the Menorah for Tom.

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
..and as for the black shield shaped spot...it rubbed off with polishing.Thanks again to all responders.
Murray

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-08-2006 11:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom - According to my reading of Rosenberg (in German) The FW punch was used in Prussia from 1809 to mark old silver, and the eagle punch to mark new silver. There was a short lag time between introduction of the first and second marks; I do not know how long the marks were in use. I would assume from this that the menorah was made some time before 1809, so I would suggest to Wizard that he look carefully elsewhere on the piece for other marks. As you suggest, Blakstone and/or Sasikov may be able to provide more information.

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-09-2006 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks to Swarter for his input. I have looked again, very carefully, but can find no further marks on the piece, but noe that I think of it, the story that came with it was that it was made in the 19th c. but was in the style of the 18th c. so perhaps it was actually made in the 1700's as swarter suggests and only stamped in 1808. Anyway, everyones help is truly appreciated. This is a great forum.
Murray

IP: Logged

tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-09-2006 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks. All I have is Tardy, which is not that comprehensive. I would imagine that since FW represented the sovereigns name (and also that of his son), it went out of use after the 1840s.

Just to be clear, you are saying Prussia required the remarking of old silver? Was this so that it could be taxed? Why the remarking?

Murray, do consider e-mailing a photo of the menorah to Spertus. They have a large collection of Judaica and may be able to identify your piece from its style.

Tom

IP: Logged

wizard

Posts: 78
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 01-09-2006 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wizard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom..I will send a picture to the Spertus museum as you suggest.Thanks.
Murray

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