Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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Sam Kramer

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Sam Kramer
Obituary, The New York Times
June 10, 1964

Sam Kramer, who was well known in Greenwich Village as an offbeat jeweler, died of a heart ailment yesterday in Trafalgar Hospital at the age of 50. His home and shop were at 29 West Eighth Street.

Mr. Kramer was an expert at making jewelry out of taxidermists' glass eyes, moose teeth, porcupine quills, old-fashioned shoe buttons, odd pieces of quartz and other unusual items.

Fossilized sea insects, ancient coins, rare hardwoods and many pieces of rocky material identifiable only by expert minerologists were among the other materials Mr. Kramer used for his jewelry-making.

He was known as an authority on gemmology, and lately had also been in demand as a screen and television actor and an advertising model. His full black beard and Bohemian style of dress helped his dramatic career.

A native of Pittsburgh, Mr. Kramer attended the University of Pittsburgh and Southern Calfornia and New York University. After learning the basics of working in silver, gold and other precious metals with a Pittsburgh jeweler, he opened a shop there.

The shop closed in a few weeks. "They didn't dig me there," Mr. Kramer explained later. He gravitated naturally toward Greenwich Village, and was sure he had not gone wrong when a landlord there said, "You aren't an artist if you can pay your rent!"

Mr. Kramer assured him he was unable to pay any rent whateever, and settled down. He had a hard time getting started, but finally the West Eighth Street shop caught on and its popularity spread beyond the confines of the Village. In recent years it had received orders of odd pieces of jewelry from many parts of the world.

Its uniqueness had made it the subject of a Saturday Evening Post article, and caused it to become a rendezvous for personalities of the artistic and beatnik worlds.

By 1955, the shop's income had reached $25,000 a year, according to The Post article. A score of museums and university art galleries had exhibited Mr. Kramer's work. A highlight of his career came when a friend took a ring he had fashioned to a museum curator and asked if it were "Egyptian of Etruscan"

"Unquestionably Etruscan," the curator was said to have replied.

Mr. Kramer leaves two sons, John and Kieron, and his mother, Minnie. His divorced wife, Mrs. Carol Enners Kramer, with whom he had recently reconciled, is expected to carry on his work.

A funeral service will be held tomorrow at Frank E. Campbell's, Madison Avenue and 81st Street.

Sam Kramer Maker's Mark Sam Kramer

New York, NY
active late 1930s-1964
(maker's mark example)
Sam Kramer
Sterling & Copper Brooch

Sam Kramer
Sterling & Opal Earrings

Sam Kramer
Sterling & Garnet Brooch

Sam Kramer
Sterling Overlay Ring

Sam Kramer
Sterling & Opal Pin

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