Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
vocalist
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Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby vocalist » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:17 pm

Hi,
I am new to the forum and hoping someone can help identify these marks on my little silver mouse head brooch as somewhat confused, from the marks which you can see on the back of it's neck, it looks like victoria duty mark (1838?), Lion with paw raised, H in shield, Leopard (London) with T.S in circle - possible makers mark and there is another mark under it's chin which is lozenge / diamond(ish) shape cartouche which I read on here indicates French or possible English widower - the marks inside it are not easy to read but think are either an I an 8 or an arrow in the top rounded part, number 13 underneath, B or 13 on the left, capital R with a small o on it's right (or a squiggle!) in the centre, unable to read the mark on the right of it - possibly a P?, then under the R, either a small K or X. My thoughts are that perhaps it was made in London at a known company but by one of the French Huguenot apprentices or staff? What do you think? Anyone know the marks?

BUT when I took it to jeweller to verify my theory, he said no he couldn't identify them but thought the Leopard wasn't an English mark but from India?? I would love to know - especially about the cartouche as this is a family heirloom from my nan who passed away some years ago.

Image

Image

Image

Thanks in advance for input!

Aguest
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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby Aguest » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:46 pm

I am having a difficult time reading the hallmarks, but the "Diamond Shaped Cartouche" is a British Registry Mark and you can identify specific details on that cartouche with the help of the website here- just click on the "Resources" tab (all the way to the right next to the Library), and you then scroll down and click on "British Registry Dates" and with a really good jewelers loupe, you can identify certain letters and numbers on your cartouche and match them up with the information provided here....

I have noticed these "British Registry Dates" on pieces from Canada and Australia, so just because you see these hallmarks on a piece of silver does not automatically mean the maker was based in England. But in this case I think the marks are English because I see the "Head Of Queen Victoria" hallmark but I can't make out any of the other hallmarks, my eyesight isn't that good anymore....

Do you think the maker is an "I.S" instead of a "T.S" ...?

This would be classified as a "novelty item" and these are whimsical items which bring joy to the viewer in a certain whimsical fashion.

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby Aguest » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:43 pm

It looks like it is "T.S" for "Thomas Smily" and I found a few examples of Novelty Dog-Head Perfume Bottles, so I assume the Mouse Head was also part of his line of products ___ The green eyes of the mouse do appear to be genuine emeralds ___

SteveDWollongong
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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby SteveDWollongong » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:09 pm

Hi,

I agree with Aguest. I see the Victoria duty mark, lion passant, date letter is unclear(possibly M for1887) and leopard head for London assay. Apart from positive id of date letter these all corroborate the maker being Thomas Smiley. The makers mark on your brooch is Smileys later one, being registered in April 1870.

1887 is very late for Smiley, so it is quite likely I'm mistaken with the date letter. Can you please provide a better photo or even a drawing of it as it would be good to confirm. If it is 1887, then it would be the latest date ever recorded for Thomas Smiley and I'm sure Phil would appreciate the info.

Cheers,
Steve

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby silvermakersmarks » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:40 am

I agree with Steve and Aguest that this is a London hallmark with the maker being Thomas Smily. The design registration date is 19 Nov 1883 (if I am reading the slightly fuzzy picture correctly) and OP mentions that the date letter is "H in shield", which is the date code 1883/84 so I think that that is most likely the actual date.

Two other pieces of evidence point to this date: 1883 corresponds with the latest date for which I have seen this version of Smily's mark; and Smily sold his business to Edwin Charles Purdy in early 1883.

I assume therefore that the TS mark must have continued in use for a short while after the take-over.

Phil

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby vocalist » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:51 pm

Hi,

Thank you all for the feedback, I have taken a couple more photos although hand is not the steadiest - posted as links as larger versions

https://flic.kr/p/226Mxt9
https://flic.kr/p/24RJAKM

I can confirm that the letters are T dot S and the year mark is H although looks like an M or N from various angles, but the jeweller also said it was an H and probably 1883 although he also said it was probably British Colonial too!!

I did look through the resource section for cartouche marks but was unable to find anything similar, will take another look.

Thank You!

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby vocalist » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:00 pm

Also, the eyes were originally really pretty and unusual PINK rubies - but one fell out and got lost. I paid a jeweller years ago to replace it with another pink ruby but he said he couldn't get them and used emeralds instead.

Thanks

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby Aguest » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:08 pm

___ That makes sense, of course a mouse has pink eyes, so it would make sense to use a pink stone, some rubies are pink, and also a stone called "Spinel," and also there is a pink "Tourmaline" which it could have been ___

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Re: Colonial, French or London Mark Help Please

Postby vocalist » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:25 pm

Just realised what I had been looking at previously for the cartouche was the makers mark so thanks for the direction to the registration marks!

The top number under the I of the cartouche is either 13 or 19 - inclined to agree with the 19 November suggestion as the parcel or month mark on the left is definitely 13 and the bottom mark is definitely a K - but the year mark in the right corner though is extremely difficult for me to read with my poor eyesight, even under a loupe - it could be a D a P or a K - am inclined to agree with the sharp eyes who suggested 1883 as the victoria duty mark also suggests the same year.

The jeweller that replaced the eyes with emeralds confirmed they were rubies, and the one that remained was good quality - they are tiny! Sad that I lost the rubies though as would love to have it looking the way it was - maybe when funds permit if I can find a jeweller who can find pink rubies!!

Thank you all so much - I have been fascinated with the story of my little mouse's head since it was given to me after my nan died many years ago - am also tracing the family tree and suspect that this was either handed down to her by her mother - or - as it is such a nice quality item, possibly given to her as a gift by her employer when she got married as she was in service with a well to do lady for many years before settling down with grandpa (her employer apparently told her she could do better LOL)


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