Duncan & Scobbie: who were they?

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
GregHodgson1
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:43 pm

Duncan & Scobbie: who were they?

Postby GregHodgson1 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:50 pm

Hi all

I have an incomplete set of 4 tea/coffee spoons. They are marked Duncan & Scobbie, Glasgow, 1947.

I know Duncan & Scobbie registered their mark in 1906 and worked at 81 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. There were manufacturing from 1909 to 1934. They were flatware manufactures. However I am having trouble reconciling other information I have on them and would appreciate any contributions members could make.

They appear to have been quite prolific having their objects stamped in various cities. I have found items marked for both Birmingham (1939) and Sheffield (1919). I have even found a cigarette case marked Birmingham 1912 which does not fit with the flatware manufacturing label.

They are listed in Chester Gold & Silver Marks 1570 – 1962; Ridgway and Priestley as George Gabriel Duncan trading as Duncan & Scobbie and by 1919 he was the Sole Partner. So who was (Mr) Scobbie? What happened to him - 1918 war perhaps? I also cannot find a listing for them in The Silversmiths of Birmingham and their Marks: 1750 – 1980; Kenneth Crisp Jones, which is odd as they are listed in the Chester reference. Mr Google was not help either!

I make an assumption that they were a partnership and that they sent their objects to other assay cities for marking prior to retail. I would appreciate any information on these elusive silversmiths.

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dognose
Site Admin
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: Duncan & Scobbie: who were they?

Postby dognose » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:47 pm

Hi Greg,

You can add London to your list, where they registered the same mark on the 5th March 1914.

I'm afraid we all often suffer from the romantic notion that our provincial flatware etc. was crafted in some little back-street workshop that remained unaltered for many, many years, but the reality often was that such pieces often had their origins in the giant manufacturing establishments of Birmingham and Sheffield.

Although some silversmiths choose to have there work assayed at far-away offices for speed or for other reasons, they also sometimes chose the office for the kudos the mark brought with it. The system worked as a two-way street.

For economic reasons it was often cheaper for some silversmiths to acquire items from specialist makers than the manufacture the items themselves. Flatware dies, for example, were extremely expensive to make, and it made more financial sense to obtain certain patterns from specialist makers that produce your own. It was often easier when acquiring flatware from, say for instance, Dixons of Sheffield, to let Dixons make and register a punch for you at the Sheffield Assay Office and then completely finished goods would arrive on your Glasgow doorstep, ready for sale and marked with your punch. Sometimes of course, things would be done differently, if your Scottish customers wanted Scottish spoons, Then Dixons would supply then in an almost finished state ready for you to submit them to the Glasgow office for hallmarking and the finial finish that was often required after hallmarking would be done by the Glasgow customer.

If you look at the Chester book that you mention, you will note in the far left-hand column names of manufacturers that registered punches for Duncan & Scobbie, these would also be the manufacturers of items that were struck with the mark of Duncan & Scobbie.

I hope my rambling reply makes a little sense.

Trev.

GregHodgson1
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:43 pm

Re: Duncan & Scobbie: who were they?

Postby GregHodgson1 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:53 am

Hi Trev

Makes perfect sense. Many thanks.

G


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