Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Jazzman111
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Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

Postby Jazzman111 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:39 pm

In my continuing education in 19th century American fruit knives, I'm learning that Albert Coles were known to use a variety of sometimes misleading hallmarks. This recent acquisition has the tell-tale reversed "duty stamp" of Queen Victoria and an image of an eagle (looks more like a sea gull, to me!), but in between the two appears to be a gothic lettered "W" instead of his more specific "A/C." Is this Albert Cole up to their old tricks? Or could it be the work of another silversmith?


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wev
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Re: Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

Postby wev » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:46 pm

You have the first image upside down -- it is a blackletter M. The mark is one of several similar attributed to Montgomery & Co and Morgan Morgans, jr, who were successors to Albert Coles.

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Re: Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

Postby wev » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 pm


Jazzman111
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:46 am

Re: Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

Postby Jazzman111 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:21 pm

Many, many thanks! Not only for clarifying the meaning of that middle hallmark with the letter "M" (not W!), but also for referring me to what looks like it could be a very useful source for future research. Two questions:

1) since Albert Coles is the silversmith I'm most familiar with, I used a search for him as my test case. No Albert Coles! Any idea why, since AC were one of the largest producers of silver folding fruit knives in the 19th century?
2) I've read that somewhere around the mid-1800's (1864?), American silversmiths adapted the British .925/1000 sterling standard. If Morgan Morgans acquired AC in 1877, and there is no stamp of "Sterling" on this knife, can you draw the inference that it is made of coin silver, instead?

wev
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Re: Is this an Albert Coles fruit knife?

Postby wev » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:47 pm

1) my little project is based on a single family tree genealogy of smiths and related craftsmen. Cole's family line is not (to my knowledge) tied to it, so he, along with many other makers, is not included. It is an arbitrary caprice, but there you go.

2) Safe to assume, but it could be either. There was no legal obligation to mark or not mark an item as sterling at the time; it was more a marketing ploy than any sort of real guaranty.


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