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Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:34 pm
by Jazzman111
I'm in the early stages of collecting silver folding fruit knives. Recently I acquired a silver folding fruit knife with three hallmarks. The middle one seems clearly to be the Birmingham anchor assay symbol. The first hallmark at first glance seems to be the duty mark of Queen Victoria--except, the face is looking right, when all my sources tell me it should be looking left. The third hallmark (counting from the bottom) is hard to make out, even using a loupe, but it appears to be some sort of bird (--a raven? a grouse? a pigeon?) My research so far suggests this could be a journeyman's mark, since it was a common practice for a time for master silversmiths to farm out certain tasks in the construction of knives to journeyman, who would have each their own identifying stamp. My questions:
1- Can anyone explain what could account for the reversed Victoria duty stamp? (One suspicion I'm having: American silver fruit knife makers most typically made them by modifying the castings of knife/fork/spoon handles, as this one appears to be. Could this be an American forgery, passing itself off as English?)
2- Is that third hallmark probably that of a journeyman? Or does it have another meaning? Thanks!

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:45 pm
by dognose
Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

Your question cannot be answered without the required images.

The below should help you:

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Trev.

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:46 pm
by Jazzman111
Image

Image

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:47 pm
by Jazzman111
Sorry, had some trouble figuring out how to post the images. Hope these are helpful.

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:03 am
by juantotree
Hi,

I think you will find that that mark is the optional coronation mark for Queen Elizabeth II. Difficult to make out the date mark as your images aree out of focus.

Martin

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:12 am
by silvermakersmarks
Sorry, Martin, I think you are incorrect - this is not a Birmingham, or even British, mark. This post has been, in my opinion, correctly moved from the Birmingham section to its current location and I think we need to wait for some experts on American silver to come along and give us some help.

Phil

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:32 am
by Jazzman111
Thank you, silvermakersmarks. It seems as though my suspicion might be correct. My apologies for the poor quality of the photo; my camera is pretty old and its macro capabilities leave something to be desired. May I ask why you doubt the anchor hallmark is not a true Birmingham one? Also, to the other responder, there is no letter hallmark to indicate date, nor is there a maker's mark.

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:36 am
by Waylander
Hi Jazzman111 - if it were a Birmingham piece, you would expect - in addition to the anchor - a date letter and the lion passant. Given that the date letter letter, the anchor and the lion passant were applied together by the Assay Office, the lack of a complete set is telling.

Agree with Phil - these are marks "inspired by" English hallmarks, but not of English origin. Your early guess as an American knife passing itself off as being of British origin is fairly close to the mark, I'd wager.

Waylander

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:50 am
by legrandmogol
It is probably the work of Albert Coles. The bust and the eagle marks are spot on for known marks of his. Usually, there is an A/C in between them though but this could just be an early or unknown variation in his marks. The company was a fairly prolific maker of folding silver fruit knives amongst other things.

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:38 am
by dragonflywink
Seem to recall that McGrew attributes this mark to Albert Coles, but I don't have a copy of his book...

~Cheryl

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:12 pm
by legrandmogol
I saw McGrew's books for sale online and didn't act much to my regret. At $100 I thought it was too expensive. Good luck trying to get it for that now. I also was unaware exactly what the book was and how useful it actually is.

Re: Birmingham hallmark, but reversed Victoria duty stamp

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:11 pm
by Jazzman111
Thanks, gentlemen, for your helpful insights. Could you let me know the title of the book by McGrew? Thanks.