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WV maker mark with pseudo British hallmarks

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:28 pm
by Essexboy Fisher
Hello, I recently bought 3 WV maker mark spoons in a mixed lot. The 3 WV also had some pseudo British hallmarks on and came with the possibility of them being by the Canadian silversmith W. Venning. A photo of the 3 spoons in question is below.


A quick inter net check suggested the spoons were not by William Norris Venning, but having the letter H on were more likely to be by another silversmith, William Veith of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately there was no listing or illustration of his mark on www. 925-1000 in the Canadian silversmith section but had the illustrated identification for William James Veith of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The activity dates for W J Veith were however given as 80 years wide. Perhaps a little more search was required? None of the sources I could use were primary Canadian ones. However this is some of the information I found including some other silver marks.
William Veith was born in Halifax in 1827 and died 1900, hence the 80 years. Veith trained in Halifax with the German silversmith Peter Nordbeck and in 1847 went into partnership with George Witham (also recorded as Whitham) at Granville Street, Halifax. It was a very short partnership and from the end of 1848 Veith continued alone. He is said to have gone out of silversmithing after a fire in his premises. One reference I found says this happened in 1854 but another reference says 4 acres of Halifax including Granville Street was destroyed by fire in 1859. Newspaper reports confirmed the 1859 fire and some other fires in Halifax so obviously this wooden town was no stranger to fire damage. It definitely seems though that William Veith could only have worked for a maximum of 12 years and possibly less, meaning the 3 spoons were most likely produced in the 1850’s. I know there are a few silver people who have seen these very spoons before so confirmation or correction of my views may help other researchers.


On the inter net I found a few other examples of marks (not all crisp) labelled as William James Veith and these are shown below.
From these photos it appears there are 3 marks attributed to W J Veith, a no pellet, a one pellet and also a two pellets mark. Is this just simple lack of a controlled hallmarking system and what mark did Veith and Witham (or more worryingly Witham and Veith) use? There is a non-illustrated reference on to a W&W for Veith and Witham or is this a printing error? On that same site, one that I usually find very informative, there is also reference to George Witam a Halifax, Nova Scotia silversmith circa 1820’s to 1870’s indicated as using pseudo British marks and G.W. in a rectangle. I do understand about subtle changes to surname spellings happening over the years (my own has changed since 1900) but please Canadian friends do help us out.
There is on our forum are references to a Halifax, Canada silversmith Vieth, a likely mis-spelling, and also to Peter Nordbeck.
Finally below is an inter net photo of a mark recorded as belonging to William Norris Venning of New Brunswick who surely did not make these 3 bits of colonial silver.

The major sources I used were an abstract from CANADIAN SILVERSMITHS 1700-1900 BY JOHN E. LANGDON and Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9 Publisher:University of Toronto/Université Laval Year of publication:1976.
References confirming the fires were attributed to the Novascotian, 6 January 1857, 12 September 1859, 21 January 1861.

Re: WV maker mark with pseudo British hallmarks

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:42 pm
by dognose
Great research Fishless, thanks for sharing this with us.