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Author Topic:   A fun Spoon
t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 08-22-2004 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I ran up on this one just last night and couldn't sleep until I was able to get my hands on it. I had seen it at a booth at the Raleigh Antiques show yesterday and had convinced my self it was beyond what I should be buying as I don't specialize in English Silver... But this one kept me up and down all night, so I had to give in to the Silverphile within and went down there to get it anyway...

I was able to get some good advise from someone whom I have great respect, and admiration for and have now added it to my collection.

It is a Trifid, about 1659 Based on the Date letter, and the Leopard Head Crowned as well as the Lion Passant (facing with both eyes and the big feet). The Makers Mark is a Three pointed Cartouche with a "TA" with three pellets above and a devise below (resembles the Scottish Thistle sort of). I have form the mark in Okie on page 57, 4th from the bottom on the right... This mark in Howard Pitcher Okie's book Old Silver & old Sheffield Plate (Doubleday 1949) shows this mark in 1687/79, but every thing else is 1659...

This being of concern I made sure I could return it if the authentication of the piece failed, but I have had several Dealers / Collectors look and they have agreed that it looks and feels right...

I am planning to try to get some pictures as soon as I type this and can load them... I am sorry Lisa is not home yet to photograph as hers are always so much better than mine, but at least you will be able to see (Clearly if you squint real hard :-)...)

PS I will ask Lisa to re-photo tonight....


"Smaug"

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 08-22-2004 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-22-2004 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, the spoon looks right for the period, but it may not be quite so early as you would like to think. The mark you refer to in Okie (taken from an early edition of Jackson) is attributed in Jackson III to "Thomas Allen (K)" (the K refers to Kent's "London Spoonmakers"), on the basis of Kent's attribution. While generally similar, the mark on yours is not the same as the photo in Kent, differing in the shape of the shield and the device beneath Thomas Allen's initials. According to his biography in Grimwade, Thomas Allen did not finish his apprenticeship until 1675, and so could not have made your spoon in 1659 (which would be early for the style). Either it was made by somebody else, or your reading of the date is in error. It is possible you are showing the date letter upside down, and that it is the lower case "a" for 1678/9, which would fit both the spoon and the maker; assuming that the mark is a variant of the one shown by Jackson and Kent. Grimwade shows only later New Standard "AL" marks for Allen, marks of the earlier Old Standard period occuring prior to his period of coverage.

It is a nice spoon, and a good find, as spoons of this early period are not very frequently encountered in this country.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 08-22-2004).]

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 04-22-2006).]

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wev
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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-22-2004 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here, from swarter, is Allen's mark

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 08-23-2004 09:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stuart, I think you are dead on, once I turned the spoon around that lower case "a" came into view, which matches everything else on the peice. It will now hold a special place... I also have some information on it previous owners so I will be checking the provenance as far as I can.

"Smaug"

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 08-23-2004 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just saw the mark you supplied, and there is a distinctive difference... is there anyone say at the V&A that can view the spoon and maybe help with the attribution?

"Smaug"

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-24-2004 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know, but it can't hurt to ask. Maybe one of our British or Commonwealth contributors can help.

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 08-28-2004 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The date marking is consistent with the marks for London 1697. In Jackson's 3rd edition, p. 136, there is a similar mark with an unattributed maker, except that the fleur de lis is on top and the pellets are below. The mark is dated from 1690-91, which would also be consistent with the timeframe of your spoon.

Nice find!!

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 08-28-2004 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the third photograph from the top, the standard mark for Sterling silver can be seen clearly. Sterling was not made in 1697 after the Britannia standard was adopted, when the date letter "a" was first used in the new cycle. For Sterling made early in 1697, the last letter in the previous cycle, "t," was carried over from 1696, as date cycles began in late March of any year. In order for this spoon to have been made in 1697, it would have to carry the lion's head erased for Britannia silver, rather than the lion passant for Sterling.

Note also that the reserve around the lion has the earlier irregular outline, conforming to the shape of the lion, rather than the regular outline adopted in 1679/80 and used until the adoption of the Britannia standard in 1697. This spoon also has the leopard's head crowned for London, rather than the Britannia figure that accompanies the lion's head erased.

It is also interesting to note that the same TA mark shown on this spoon is to be found in Jackson's second edition (p.137) for 1678/9 (unattributed), but has been replaced in the third edition (p.135) with one, accompanied by a photogtraph, that is the same as the one shown in Kent's book for Thomas Allen (Kent's photo is reproduced above). Perhaps the editor did not realize that Jackson's original illustration was accurately drawn. There is also an inconsistency in a note accompanying the replaced mark to the effect that it has been "found on flatware from 1678 -- New Standard Mark," but New Standard marks were not used until the New Standard of Britannia silver was introduced in 1697, and a New Standard Mark for Allen would have been "AL", and not "TA".

Now maybe my wife will appreciate my keeping all my old books, even when they have been replaced by newer ones!


[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 08-28-2004).]

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 08-29-2004).]

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 08-30-2004 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my embarrassment, you are correct-my only defense is that I was using the home computer, which is not as good with photographs!

Still a mystery, then!

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 10-28-2004 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While this piece has been around the block a couple of times, I have noticed from some of the most recent posts that one of our newer members (Sliver Lyon) is very knowledgeable, and I was hoping to persuade him to have a look... see what happens when you spend a couple of weeks in the Cheltenham...

"Smaug"

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asheland

Posts: 925
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 11-24-2004 01:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must comment... Very nice spoon! Never had one that early, myself. What part of NC do you live? I live near Asheville.
asheland

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-25-2004 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The marks you have on your spoon are about the rarest to be found on London-made silver - even scarcer, in my experience, than the 1784-5 'duty drawback' mark!
(I have seen four pieces not including yours in forty years!!)
The A was in use from :
March 7th 1697 to May 29th 1697,
when the London marks changed to the Britannia standard.

It is truly rare.
1697 was a bad yeard for the economy AND the re-coinage was making life difficult for the goldsmiths.

The first writtem reference that I can find (apart from the Records of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths' in London, where I guess there may be more...) is 'Notes on Antique Silver, Summer 1943' by Commander G.E.P.How.
You asked !! wink

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-25-2004 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rare indeed! Even Pickford missed this - his table (in Jackson III) clearly indicates that the "t" from the previous cycle was carried over. Thanks for the clarification.

Is there anything further to contribute in regards to the points raised about the maker's mark?

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-26-2004 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

The following is THEORY !!

Thomas Allen adopts the same symbols in his mark as those used by his master (John King) and his master's master (William Cary).

When he register's his new Britannia style maker's punches (with the first two initials of his last name - AL) he changes, and has a crown in the top and a little cross or a pellet at the bottom, replacing the rosette.

Your TA seeps to anticipate this by having a 'crown shaped' top to the punch on your spoon and the replacement for the rosette (whatever you make of it).

It is, however, quite clear that his workshop was making lots of spoons, hence the need to register THREE new punches at once. - Here is the evidence because the three punches are all VERY different one from another even though they are registered for the same workshop on the same day!!

It is possible that there was a more practical reason for this, maybe there were three trained spoonmakers working in the workshop - the three different punches would make it easy to determine who made what! smile

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 11-26-2004 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hum... I am now a bit confused...The lower Case "a" would seen to date the piece to 1678, yet you speak of it at 1697... is this a transposition or am I missing something?

"Smaug"

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 11-26-2004 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The lower case "a" was used in both cycles - it is of slightly different form, but your example is incomplete, so the defining features are obscured. If I understand what Silver Lyon is saying, the lions head erased was not used with the "a" as shown in the tables, but with the lion passant, as on your spoon. However, I note that the shield shape is different on yours and those in the tables - one wonders if thet shield was only used with the lion passant. Either each lion was used with a different standard, or the "a" is so rare that it is incorrectly shown in the tables? Perhaps Silver Lyon can straighten this out, since he has the experience with other examples and the appropriate references.

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 12-01-2004 06:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stuart is Right, as usual!
The a is so rare that it appears incorrectly in the few tables that show it -I have been looking amongst my notes for an old photo I took of another example to help clarify the point!! - as soon as I find it I will get it posted.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 12-01-2004 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but don't overlook the fact that I wasn't right in choosing the earlier of the two date cycles. Even though I relied on usually dependable literature, I was, in the final analysis, still wrong in correcting Doc's choice of the later date. It is well to be reminded occasionally that just because something is in print, it isn't necessarily correct.

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To finish this story you NEED to acquire a copy of the September/October edition of 'The Finial' - the journal of the Silver Spoon Club - there is an illustration of another version of this mark and a very erudite explanation within by Anthony Dove.
(available from Daniel Bexfield, 26 Burlington Arcade, London, W1J 0PU - US $15 plus postage.

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