Unknown hallmark

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:30 pm

Hello. I just bought an old ladle (about 1 foot in length) and it has some marks below the handle area. I cannot identify this and I hope someone can help me. I would like to know if this is sterling, when it was made and where. Thank you very much and I hope I get a reply soon.

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silverhammer
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Rhode Island, USA

Re: Unknown Silver Hallmark

Postby silverhammer » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:58 pm

Syburi,

This appears to be a pseudo hallmark, meaning the piece may very well be plated. Take note of the unusual marks, such as the tree, menorah, and crown symbols. They don't match any hallmarks I've seen. Have you had it tested?

Best,

Jeff Herman

silverhammer
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Rhode Island, USA

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby silverhammer » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:03 pm

Hello Syburi,

These appear to be pseudo hallmarks as I have never seen those particular symbols, with the exception of the rampant lion signifying sterling. The lion isn't as crisp as it should be. I would recommend having it tested by a reputable silversmith or jeweler. Don't allow either to use a file to test the alloy!

Good luck,

Jeff Herman

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:44 pm

Dear Jeff

Many thanks for your reply. This item was acquired from a noble family in Malaysia who traces its family roots back some 300 years. The entire ladle has patina that really reflects age. I will try to post the entire ladle later. There are no reputable silversmiths in the place where I live that can test time item. Best guess, is this sterling? Thanks

Alan

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown Silver Hallmark

Postby syburi » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:48 pm

Dear Jeff

Many thanks for your reply once again. I bought this item as the family who had it said that the item has been with them for a long time - more than a century. Were pseudo hallmarks common back then? Sorry to ask this but my knowledge on this is really shallow.

Thank you very much for your help.

Regards

Alan

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:58 am

Hello Jeff

I am adding more pics. Hopefully they can shed more light on the piece I have.

Thanks

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syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown Silver Hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:04 am

Dear Jeff

I have taken more photos. Hopefully they can help members to provide more feedback on this item.

Thanks

Alan

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dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 38936
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dognose » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:11 am

Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

You have a great find, I've only seen the mark two or three times before, they are those of Charles Catton, a silversmith working at Gibraltar in the 1830's.

The ladle will need careful restoration and no better advice to that end can be obtained than that of member silverhammer.

Trev.

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:20 am

Hello Trev

Thank you very much for identifying my ladle. You have made me very happy indeed. I was rather unsure when I bought it but now I am thoroughly elated.

Thank you once again and have a nice day!

Regards

Alan

dognose
Site Admin
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dognose » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:08 am

Hi Alan,

See also: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=37125&p=99601

Trev.

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:15 am

Dear Trev

Thanks for the link. Great information and research.

I am a novice at all this after having the opportunity to buy several solid silver tea sets two years ago. The interest has caught on and I do try to keep an eye out for interesting items.

Coming back to the ladle, can you shed light on the other hallmarks apart from the 'lion' and CC initials? Also, can I assume that this ladle is made of sterling silver and not a silver plate?

Thank you for indulging me.

Regards

Alan

dognose
Site Admin
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Location: England

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dognose » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:44 am

Hi Alan,

The marks are not hallmarks. Hallmarks are marks struck by an official assay office, what you have here are marks struck by the maker only, they imitate to some extent, English hallmarks. They are just Charles Catton's way of indicating that the ladle is made of silver, but as to the standard of silver, that would have to be tested.

Much depends on the reputation of the silversmith, the ladle may have been made out of coins, or other old silver and I dare say he would only have a rough idea of the standard. It was common at these times to take old silver, in whatever form, to the silversmith to have something useful made up.

Trev.

legrandmogol
contributor
Posts: 233
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:23 am

Hi, I honestly don't think this is silver at all. The way the item is tarnishing the yellowish greenish colored metal on the handle looks like electroplated nickel or Brittania metal. As for the marks, I know way less than Trev in these matters but I think they're probably Sheffield plate marks. Charles Catton's marks are not widely known and even Trev as only seen the marks 2 or 3 times. As the two examples shown are rather different I think the second mark may be misattributed. While I know there is no science or rules to pseudo marks I think there are way too many marks here. These marks are more in line with early Sheffield electroplate marks (especially the shell and crown marks and the symmetrical way they are placed). Now let me reiterate I am not at an expert in these things I am especially not as learned in these things as Trev but based on the second round of pictures supplied, especially the 3rd to last one and the ones of the handle, I am very confident this is silver over nickel.

legrandmogol
contributor
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:49 am

One last thought, the white drip stain on the bowl in the 2nd to last pic and what are definitely file marks on the handle tip looks like someone has already acid tested this piece quite aggressively in the past.

dragonflywink
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dragonflywink » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Hard to tell without having it in hand, but to my eye, looks like the yellowish areas might be remnants of old varnish...

~Cheryl

legrandmogol
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:52 pm

True, going by pictures alone is very hard to determine anything for certain. However in my experience varnish usually looks like someone blew cigarette smoke on an item for several years the way it yellow's over time, this piece has the yellow-green tinge of nickel to me. Also, varnished pieces are usually varnished by collectors much later because they have no intentions of using the item, simply displaying them. This piece exhibits no evidence of being owned by a collector before now. They most certainly would have restored it before varnishing. But for argument's sake, let's say it was varnished, then the places where the varnish still is would be the first places it would have come off after this level of use. I believe the yellow places on this are the wear from handling. They are in places that would have the thinnest applied silver and get the most wear and are usually the first to go on plated pieces. But again, you are right, it is hard to be certain on anything without being able to see in person.

Forgive the rapid responses but it is a slow day at work.

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:53 pm

Good morning everyone and thank you for you great input. They certainly give perspective to the item in question. Looks like there are lots of unanswered questions still. The one top on my mind is how it landed in Malaya (as Malaysia was then known).

Having said that, I am rather inclined to lean towards the views of Trev for the simple reason that the initials and 'lion' maker's marks are very similar to those of his example given. My line of thought is reinforced by the similarity in the border decorations on both these marks which in my humble opinion is quite impossible to replicate in such detail.

My question now is how to determine if it is plated or sterling. I live in a small town with very limited access to precision equipment. Should I continue polishing the entire item or leave it as it is?

Lastly, I would like to get your opinion on the marks on a portable burner and wonder if I can continue with this thread. There is only two marks, that of a queen's head and the initials LL.

Thank you all for your tone to read my post and also your invaluable remarks.

Regards

Alan

legrandmogol
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:26 pm

fair enough, Trev is far more knowledgeable than I am in these matters. As for determining silver plate there are acid tests you can use but they are not reliable even when performed correctly sometimes. Ultimately you have to file the piece to use this test as well which causes more harm. I have worked professionally for several years now in the precious scrap metal business and find the only way to really pick out silver plate is through experience. After a while you can spot plated ware instantly even without plate loss. With electroplate, the color of the silver is always not quite the same and little bluer in tone than solid silver or Sheffield plate.

syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:42 pm

Dear Legrandmogol

Thank you once again for your advice.

I attach more photos of the cleaned area and they do look white and do not have any bluish tinge. You comments on these close up photos are most welcomed.

Regards

Alan

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syburi
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:11 pm

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:46 pm

Hello everyone

Just a thought I would like to share.

Observing the maker's marks I see that the 'lion', initials and crown are well aligned and close to each other while the two others on both sides are differently spaced. Could the ones at the periphery be later additions as their borders do not have the same design as the three centrally positioned ones?

I really appreciate if anyone can comment on this.

Regards

Alan


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