Unknown hallmark

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
dognose
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dognose » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:19 am

When you compare the three examples of marks it perhaps likely that the centre part in struck with one punch, or perhaps three punches contained within a stub so that they are struck with one blow. Extra marks may have been applied to larger items only or when space permitted.

Trev.

amena
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby amena » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:54 am

Hi Alan
It 's like a very exciting detective story ...... solid silver or silverplate?
The clue that makes someone think that it is silverplate is that part of yellowish color that you see in this photo.
Image
If you do not have the means to calculate the specific gravity, a small step forward could be to clean the handle well and check if the yellowish color remains or disappears.
I'm looking forward to see the sequel
Best
Amena

legrandmogol
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:20 am

I personally hope I am wrong. It is always fun and exciting to see rare, new and exotic hallmarks. Plus, if Trev is right than the piece could easily have traveled from Gibralter to Malaysia via a British soldier, sailor, merchant or bureaucrat as Malaysia was a British colony at the time as is and was Gibralter.
After your cleaning, the part that concerned me the most on the tip looks like its revealing its secrets. The green part and has turned brown with flecks of bright green which seems more and more like plate to me.
Plus the file marks on the tip are a good sign it is plate. There are at least 4 marks that are aggressively done. This usually means someone who only cared about its silver content, probably for scrap purposes, filed the piece for acid testing, discovered they couldn't melt it, and then discarded it somehow (unverifiable stories of old noble families anyone? ). In my company, we don't melt everything that comes through and try to sell anything of value. We also buy things from other scrap dealers outside and inside of New York. They send us bins of silver and often I'll find old pieces with unusual or foreign marks that amateurs from those companies have filed in exactly the same way. It might also explain that areas excessive plate loss from the acid testing.

Traintime
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby Traintime » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:31 pm

I may sound nuts on this one, but it seems odd that the walls of the marks have irregularities that make them fit together like a completed puzzle. Also seems to create the letters D (left) and I (right) as though DI was responsible for this fantasy.

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

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:59 pm

Hello everyone

Sorry for the late reply. I am new to this forum and did not know that conversations had overflowed onto page two. Everyone I checked I only saw my own post at the end of page one. I only realised it this morning.

I would love to polish the entire piece. The only reason I have been hesitant so far is because I am worried that by doing so would damage the patina and diminish the value of the piece. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Thank you for your patience.

Regards

Alan

legrandmogol
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby legrandmogol » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:56 pm

This piece does not have Patina, it is just severely tarnished. To my eye, when a piece has patina, it glows silvery like the moon. As long you use silver polish and a gentle cloth I think you'll be fine especially considering this pieces current condition.

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

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:59 pm

OK. I will polish as soon as I get back. About 2 hours from now. Thanks for you Legrandmogol.

Aguest
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby Aguest » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:53 pm

Did Gibraltar have an informal sterling silver marking system? Were any of these hallmarks "official" in any sense of the word?

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

Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby syburi » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:39 pm

Hello everyone

Been battling with myself for that few days and have decided not to polish the item and patiently try to find another way to determine if it is sterling or plated. Hopefully the opportunity will arise in the near future. Thanks and will sure post the result here in due course.

Regards

Alan

dognose
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby dognose » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:58 am

Hi Aguest,

Did Gibraltar have an informal sterling silver marking system? Were any of these hallmarks "official" in any sense of the word?


No, the marks are not official, and thus not hallmarks. There was no official assay office situated at Gibraltar, and likely only one, maybe two, silversmiths working there at any one time. The only local mark was that of a 'key', known to have been used by Charles Catton's father, John, and by at least one other, the silversmith, Henry Cowper, who was thought to have been working at Gibraltar at the end of the 18th century.

Trev.

Traintime
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Re: Unknown hallmark

Postby Traintime » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:52 am

dognose wrote:When you compare the three examples of marks it perhaps likely that the centre part in struck with one punch, or perhaps three punches contained within a stub so that they are struck with one blow. Extra marks may have been applied to larger items only or when space permitted.

Trev.

So, established correct mark for Catton. Item is genuine silver. Other 2 central marks (in same style) likely applied by Catton himself. But additional outer marks (3 total types, one used twice) are entirely decorative to our knowledge at this point? May have been applied by Catton (though style differs), or by a retailer (possibly in Malaya) along a known British trade route? No other use of these odd outer marks has yet been documented, so far as we know...?


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