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Author Topic:   Silver Castle Top Card Case
Pinsabigail

Posts: 35
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-15-2005 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pinsabigail     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[08-0339]

It has been suggested that the marks on this silver card case might have been faked. We purchased it at the Newark Antiques Fair. The case itself appears authentic, interior shows appropriate wear for age, hinge is correct. We rec'd an "educated guess, that the maker may be David Pettifor or (Pettifer), registered 1847, Birmingham. (see page 369 of Jackson's; mark not illustrated)."

The question seems to be if the shape of the hallmark punches are correct. Item with similar description was in Fellows & Sons auction, 2004 (Birmingham). Here is the link to that auction lot.




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PhilO

Posts: 164
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 09-16-2005 02:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PhilO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks a little suspect to me, but I'll leave a full analysis to the experts. However, here's a genuine 1855 date mark for comparison:

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 09-16-2005 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
mad You need, if you can, to return this to the person from whom you purchased it.
(AND get your money back)
If you have any difficulty, the piece should be submitted to:
The Antique Plate Committee,
The Assay Office,
Goldsmiths'Hall,
Gutter Lane,
London E.C.2.
They will give you a definitive opinion which is accepted by every Court in the land.
You might feel that it is better to refer the piece first so that you have 'strong legs to stand upon' when you ask for your money back!

[This message has been edited by Silver Lyon (edited 09-16-2005).]

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TBC

Posts: 134
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 09-16-2005 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TBC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've looked at your posted picture, at philO's picture and at Silver Lyon's diagnostis. I cannot add to these posts - I am shocked that such judgments might be made on an item of such relatively low value - I will make no further comment, other than I am still learning, thanks to more experienced Members of the Forum. My God. Such a hallmark on such an item...

I am very cautious about deigning an item as wrong - so excuse my legal training.

Best wishes and thanks for the eduction.

Tom

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-17-2005 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I cannot imagine, as a curator, that these marks are fake. To what end? This card case, with a view of Windsor (right?) couldn't possibly be worth faking, unless the English market is hotter than the US market. These cases were just as popular in New York as in London. If it had a Paul Storr mark or Tiffany & Co, one might suspect, but I see no reason to be suspicious.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-17-2005 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd add to my last note that I do see differences between the two sets of marks. However, was there only a single set of punches at Goldsmith's Hall for the thousands of pieces of silver that came through weekly? Would every single set of marks be exactly identical? This had never occurred to me. Also, I suppose that this case might have had NO marks at all (why?) and thus might have gained SOMETHING in value by having fake marks added. But it seems bizarre to me.

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wev
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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-17-2005 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure why anyone would jump to the conclusion that they are (or purport to be) English hallmarks -- they are quite like the psuedo marks used by a number of New York wholesale makers. The subject matter notwithstanding, an American origin would be my first thought.

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 09-17-2005 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure it is a represntation of anything specific at all, but it looks more like Hampton Court than Windsor.

Tom

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 09-19-2005 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you were minded simply to take advantage of a (fairly hot) market by having pieces made at a small cost ($20-30 marks included)that could then be re-sold for ten times that cost or more $500-$1000), wouldn't you be tempted?
This card case belongs to a group of 'New' forgeries produced using a dismantled original. It is the third such piece I have encountered in six months and I am not even out there in the market place.
There has even been a spate of 'fake' spoons in English auction rooms this summer (spoons with a difference and thus with added value such as double-ended medecine spoons)- the authorities are aware and the purpertarors will be 'brought to book'.
Don't loose faith! Thank heavens such outbreaks are rare and the pieces mostly easily identified. Most silver dealers are enthuiasts and would be horrified to discover that they had sold (unwittingly) a forgery - less so the suction rooms.
Moral (in General, I don't mean this to apply to this case)- Buy from reputable dealers, the slight extra cost will always come back to you in the longer term. The bargain in the garage sale MAY not be such a bargain after all! Keep smile smile

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 09-19-2005 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Every now and then I would run into a surprising number of card cases. I had chalked it up to the estate coming on market lottery. Every now and then, a bunch of one particular item would appear. It never really occurred to me that these might be faked.

Is this a die stamped or repouseed item? Or maybe some combination thereof? Where would this have been made? India or Mexico, which do have many trained silversmiths, come to mind. My big question would be how these are entered into the antique world. Silver dealers IMHE are very careful about where we buy things. So, I wonder just how these are moving from the faker's workshop into the antiques trade. Are they made in any quantity? Usually, again IMHE, when there are fakes or reproductions there are lots of identical things popping up all over the place. Is this happening?

General question, I really don't have a clear sense of the price level for card cases. Is it at a level which justifies faking?

Final comment. I have meet a couple of people who attempted to fake old silver, usually salt spoons. What happened to them was they took the items to dealers. Some of whom bought the spoons. And realized that the faker had the skills to repair silver. The market outcome was that faking did not pay as well as repairing, so the fakes dryed up and they went into repair.

[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 09-19-2005).]

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salmoned

Posts: 336
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 09-20-2005 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm surprised how quickly some seem to 'jump at the gun'! I wonder who raised the question concerning authenticity, could it have been the seller? In a similar vein, we would have to know the selling price range in order to 'venture a guess' as to whether this was sold with intent to deceive or simply as an artistic copy. I would personally love to buy a dozen similar pieces, at the right price. My point is simply that without adequate information it is unwise to jump to any conclusions.

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Pinsabigail

Posts: 35
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-24-2005 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pinsabigail     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Silver Lion - how are you so certain this is not authentic? We typically don't get caught by repros. And, I have never seen a fake with bits of the "lovely" green mold on the inside in some of the corners - that type of mold I find attaching itself to gold and silver items with substantal age on them.....not typically found on more recent items.

Thanks everyone for your input. No, the intial purchase price did not give us any indication of concern.

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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mine is only an opinion!
Apart from the marks there are a few other alarming aspects.
The lack of definition and detail is one (this is not wear and tear, but lazy labor!
(An example of this is the flag to the castle); The background stipple chasing is not clear enough; The whole thing just does not look 'right'.
The element of the marks (which I would look at LAST were I inspecting the piece in order not to be 'led astray') confirms the suspicions that the other aspects had already raised! - And all this without handling the piece!
But don't take my word for this - submit the card case to the Antique Plate Committee! - This will also lay down a marker for others in the future and help put a stop to this sort of thing!!

[This message has been edited by Silver Lyon (edited 09-27-2005).]

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again only an opinion, but I agree with Silver Lyon's analysis. Even if one didn't have the marks to look at, the quality of the work just isn't 'right' -- my first reaction on seeing the piece was that it looked like real silver, but more likely Asian work copying the British style. I half expected someone to identify the marks as a known colonial mark (like the many Canadian marks that roughly copy British, for example, but in this case more likely a colonial outpost in China or India).

But the apparent existence of multiple duplicates, inferred from several posts above, is a stronger argument for straight reproduction or fake.

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wev
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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, why the assumption that it is not perhaps American? A quick glance through Darling shows very similar pseudo marks and I have seen piles of ceramic, glassware, silver, etc with similar English motifs.

Which leads me to wonder what would become of it, if it was submitted to the hall? Would its marks, though never intended to deceive British authorities at least, relegate it to the melt pile? Are the decisions absolute and final?

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't speak for anyone else on this, but to me there are several reasons not to think American. First, again without even regarding the marks, the style, motif, and workmanship just don't look American to me. Style and motif seem British, workmanship not so much. That's why I'd think first of the Asian colonies, if not an outright fake.

Turning to the marks, they obviously couldn't predate Victoria, and most likely would be mid-19th century or later. Although Canadians and other colonials could still be using English-derived marks at that time, even using a Victoria's head mark, it seems unlikely that an American would be doing so. And if an American smith (perhaps some kind of super-Tory?) were doing work like this, s/he undoubtedly would have been making other things as well. Probably lots, if they can make something this complex. But none of us seem to have ever seen the mark before.

I can't say for sure what the Goldsmiths' Hall would do, but my guess would also be that they'd destroy it. Which seems a shame; look at all the interest it's drawn here, and despite what seems to be a fraudulent pedigree it's still an interesting piece. It's too bad the market is such that people capable of such work are driven to making fakes -- wouldn't it be interesting to see what that person might make, left to his/her own devices?

[This message has been edited by FWG (edited 09-27-2005).]

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-27-2005 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wouldn't be quite so ready to condemn these marks as out-and-out counterfeits. I can't escape the feeling that these might be - what shall we call them - Empire pseudohallmarks? Perhaps someplace like the Canadian maritime provinces, where the anchor was widely used, or some other former British colonial possession? I know I have seen that lapdog-like lion somewhere before, but I can't place it at the moment.

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 09-28-2005 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, here's a candidate (below). As I noted above, I had almost expected someone to identify it as British colonial, but the number of people who have looked at it and not been able to identify it as such should stand as a caveat. I checked the Canadian marks as soon as this was posted, didn't find a good match, and thought, OK, maybe Asian -- which I lack good references for (although I checked what I have). But then the appearance of apparent duplicates (like the auction listing referenced above) weighs on the side of fakery. Nevertheless, for what it's worth....

The candidate: David Page II, Truro, Nova Scotia (b. Onslow, NS, son of silversmith David Page, to whom he was apprenticed), working c. 1820s-50s. MacKay, Silversmiths and Related Craftsmen of the Atlantic Provinces, shows a D.P. mark that could be close. But again, there are problems. MacKay shows the mark coupled only with a lion (and he generally illustrates full sets of marks). And the anchor mark is used more commonly in Halifax than in Onslow or Truro. Indeed, two of Page's brothers used the thistle mark.

SPECULATIVE explanation: David Page II's nephew Richard carried on in the family business. He trained with his father Amos in Amherst, NS, and then went to St. John, New Brunswick. The precise anchor shown on this piece is recorded for several smiths in St. John (although not shown in MacKay for Richard Page). PERHAPS this piece represents some chain of connections through these people.

If this card case had a provenance from the maritime area I'd be reasonably happy with some attribution of this sort. But I've handled little silver from the Maritimes, so it doesn't carry that much weight....

Trivia note: The mother-in-law of David Page II was a great-great aunt of George Cutten!

[This message has been edited by FWG (edited 09-28-2005).]

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