Hi, all! Been away for a while, lurking a bit lately. Thought I'd drop a line on a recent acquisition.
I vaguely remember reading an article many years ago that indicated that the price of old sterling silver ﬂatware (say in the 18th century) was perhaps two thirds in the price of silver and one third in the labor involved. Thus many families of the time would turn in their old ﬂatware to be reconstituted into "the latest fashion" at a substantial cost savings (to the chagrin of us collectors!).
Ever since the price of silver exceeded about $13 a troy ounce many years ago, I've curtailed my collecting propensity. It also seems that Fleabay
competition is a lot keener nowadays as well. In any event, I spied a likely a couple of pieces a while back and posted stink bids on my snipe service. I was skunked on the first one by about a dollar and promptly forgot about the second bid, which later on I was surprised to be informed by email had won by about a dollar. Yes, sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut.
I bring this up because the silver bullion value in the piece is about two thirds my cost, including shipping, so I feel it was a decent purchase. Photos below of a Thomas Dicks Old English Pattern soup ladle of 12 5/8 inches length tip to lip, 4 inches bowl width, and 5.88 troy ounces. Unfortunately, the bowl exhibited more abuse than the seller indicated, quite a number of small knocks versus "no damage", but not noticeable at a distance, and the piece shows well with little wear.
So here are my questions. The only matching maker's mark (and the only mark) I find for Thomas Dicks is in the large Jackson's. It is indicated as entered 1811, yet this piece is dated 1805-6. Dicks is not mentioned in the pocket Jackson's, nor in the small Marks of the London Goldsmiths and Silversmiths (Fallon), so it would seem he was a small time maker. Yet this piece shows what appears to be a journeyman's tally mark (triangle), which would tend to indicate Mr. Dicks had a decently sized business. Might anyone provide elucidation?
P.S. - I hate Photobucket. It brought my computer to a dead stop once again. I tried to retain much of what I'd typed above when it stalled out, but it only saved as a graphic, and so I had to employ an optical character reader to reconstitute it here (hence any unnecessary line breaks that I failed to notice and clean up). Gotta get a new graphic hosting service.