Please Help on Early German Maker from Berlin

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Silver Guy
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Please Help on Early German Maker from Berlin

Postby Silver Guy » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:58 am

Hi there! Can you please help identify this early German maker from Berlin and the date letter?

The mark is the Berlin Bear with what looks like a cursive letter "L", and the silversmith (or retailer) is named H. Nevir.

Pics below - any help on the silversmith and the possible date is greatly appreciated!

X
X

Silver Guy
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Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:18 am
Location: USA

Postby Silver Guy » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:05 pm

Sorry about the poor quality of the hallmark photo - I tried again to show the hallmark in this third photo - does anyone recognize this H. NEVIR? And although the Berlin bear is hard to see in this photo - you can clearly see the date letter - I think it's an "L" in lower case... Thanks for any info anyone may have!

blakstone
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Postby blakstone » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:18 am

"L" was the letter of assayer J.W. D. Friedrich, working 4 Sep 1854- 23 Jul 1863. "H. Nevir" was Henri Louis Névir, born b. 1822 and working to at least 1869; his firm at some point became Henri Névir & Sohn.

Hope this helps!

Silver Guy
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Location: USA

Postby Silver Guy » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:23 pm

Hi Blackstone - thanks so much for responding - much appreciated. Very useful to know about Nevir - I assume he was working in Berlin? Was he a good silversmith?

With respect to the letter "L" - are you sure that's the letter of the assayer? It appears right behind the Bear for Berlin, which I understand is a "date letter" - is that not the case? I had a friend take another photo of the hallmarks below - this photo is outstanding and shows the hallmarks very clearly - doesn't the bear combined with the letter signify a specific date?

Thanks again - and if anyone has additional info, please let me know!

blakstone
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Postby blakstone » Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:50 pm

Nevir was was a competent and prolific manufacturer, if the number & quality of pieces I've seen by him are any guide.

Yes, I'm sure that the "L" is an assayer's letter. Around the middle of the 18th century, the Berlin guild began putting a letter in the city mark to identify the tenure of the guild warden, beginning with "A". The ranges of the earlier letters are known only from dated items:

A = Items dated 1747 - 1757
B = Late 1750s - early 1760s?
C = Items dated 1763 — 1772*
D = Items dated 1770* - 1776
E = Items dated 1776 - 1777
F = Items dated 1779 — 1785
(*probably an anomaly on a pre- or post-dated item; it seems certain that the letters did not overlap)

The names and tenures of later wardens are known:

G = F. J. Stoltz, 1786 - 1803
H = C. G. Pintsch, 1803 - 1817
I = H. W. Zarnack, 1817 - 1818

From 1819, Berlin pieces were marked with two assayer's letters: that of the warden, which continued to appear in the punch with the bear, and that of the secondary assayer, which appeared by itself. The names & dates become muddied once again after the abrogation of the guild's authority around 1864.

Warden’s marks (with the bear)
K = J. C. S. Kessner, 1819 — 1854
L = J.W. D. Friedrich, 1854 - 1863
M = Unknown, ca. 1863 — ca. 1869
N = Unknown, ca. 1870 — 1882

Secondary Assayer’s marks (standing alone)
A = B. G. F. Andreack, 1819 — 1842
B = Ch. F. Deppe, 1842 — 1847
C = J. W. D. Friedrich, 1848 - 1854
D = L. Th. Wendelboe, 1854 - ca. 1864
E = Unknown, ca. 1864 — ca 1868
F = Unknown, ca. 1868 — ca. 1875
G = Unknown, ca. 1875 — ca. 1882


The overlap in these later marks can help narrow the dating a little; I’ve recorded the primary/secondary assayer’s letters in the following combinations:

K/A = 1819 — 1842
K/B = 1842 — 1847
K/C = 1848 — 1854
L/C = 1854
L/D = 1854 — 1863
M/E = ca. 1863 — ca. 1869
N/F = ca. 1870 - ca. 1875
N/G = ca. 1875 — ca. 1882

I notice that your item doesn’t have the secondary assayer’s mark; at least you haven't shown it. This is unusual but not unprecedented; you do from time to time see post-1819 pieces with just one of the two required marks.

The vast majority of this information is from Wolfgang Scheffler’s Berliner Goldschmiede, still the standard reference for Berlin silver. It could well use an update, though; I’ve come across many maker’s marks not in illustrated it, and I wonder if any better information on the early and later warden’s marks have come to light in the 40 years since it was published.

Silver Guy
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Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:18 am
Location: USA

Postby Silver Guy » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:20 pm

blakstone wrote:Nevir was was a competent and prolific manufacturer, if the number & quality of pieces I've seen by him are any guide.

Yes, I'm sure that the "L" is an assayer's letter. Around the middle of the 18th century, the Berlin guild began putting a letter in the city mark to identify the tenure of the guild warden, beginning with "A". The ranges of the earlier letters are known only from dated items:


Hi Blakstone - you are awesome! Thanks for all this information! I just got this piece and thought it was interesting in terms of form and style, because as you probably know, this is a traditional English style that dates back to the 18th century. Europeans started to copy this form in the early and middle 19th century, and so you can find identical pieces both in Europe and in the United States, marked for various makers, which I think is fascinating! I think this forum is a fantastic thing - thanks goodness for the Internet!

Best,

Silver Guy

Bahner
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Postby Bahner » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:42 am

Hello, to be added: first assayer "O", ca. 1882-1888, second assayer "H", ca. 1882-1888. Best wishes, Bahner


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