Can these four marks identify the origin of my old spoon?

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland
PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
SO-SOS
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Can these four marks identify the origin of my old spoon?

Postby SO-SOS » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:40 pm

I have got an old silver spoon which have been within my family for some generations. Before my father died he told me what he ment about its origin, - mainly based on the initials on it.

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The theory is that it was owned by a quite wealthy cousin of my great grandfather who died in 1866. She was born in Copenhagen, but lived some years in London before moving to Moscow in 1843. She also spent some time in Germany, the Netherlands and perhaps other European countries as well.

I hope these four silver marks and the great knowledge of people in this forum will be sufficient to approach the origin of this spoon.

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If the marks cannot be identified, I would appreciate any comments on what kind of marks we see. I suppose the letter mark is the maker's mark, but which mark is the city mark and so on?

blakstone
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Postby blakstone » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:24 am

Well, the mark’s are worn, but they’re definitely from Copenhagen. The mark on the right is the Copenhagen city mark, with the numbers at the bottom — 19, I think — representing the year 1819. The mark on the left is the astrological sign of Cancer, indicating the spoon was made (or at least assayed) between 21 June & 22 July of that year. The maker “MF” is Michael Mogensen Foght (ca. 1745-1814), trade license 1782. (His widow continued his workshop for many years, which is why his mark was still being used after his death.) That only leaves the third mark along which, by process of elimination, must be the warden’s (assayer’s) mark. Fredrik Fabricius was the warden from 1787 to 1823 and used at least six different marks over those three and a half decades, but the mark here is unrecognizable as any of them. Still, I have no doubt that’s what it must be; you might try cleaning it with sudsy ammonia and a very soft toothbrush and see if a script “F” appears.

Hope this helps!

SO-SOS
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Location: Norway

Postby SO-SOS » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:00 am

Thank you very much, Blackstone! Your information is very much appreciated.

I feel there are still some details to investigate, for instance the year of production. I see the 9 digit clearly, but not the 1 digit. So perhaps it may have been made in 1809 instead of 1819? This lady was born in spring 1810 and perhaps this spoon was a christening present (if that was common at that time?).

From the information about Danish Assay Marks I see that the city mark was changed from year to year. Is there any web site or book where the different versions of the three towers mark from this period are shown?

blakstone
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Postby blakstone » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:59 pm

The standard reference is C.A. Bøje's Danske guld og sølvsmedemærker før 1870 which had gone through several editions. I'm afraid I have only two of the earlier editions, neither of which list the marks for every single year, alas neither 1809 nor 1819. However, in the first decade of the 19th century generally only the final digit was used, centered beneath the towers, and the "9" here seems off-center to me. The entire left half of the mark is worn away, and I think I can make out the vertical part of a numeral "1"just to the left of the "9". I can't rule out 1809, but I think 1819 is likelier.

Perhaps our resident Dane Hose_dk can clarify matters.

Hose_dk
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Postby Hose_dk » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:51 pm

I can exclude 1809 because in 1809 the 3 towers touch with each other.
Then 9 is also centret.

1829 - is a different type. 1799 is written with 4 digets. So going forward or back - no match.

Which brings us to 1819. Towers match in type. I cannot see the 1 but I am sure Blackstone is correct.

Hose_dk
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Postby Hose_dk » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:59 pm

and the lady in question was becomming in need of an adoult eating tool in 1819 - and therefor she had this?

SO-SOS
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Postby SO-SOS » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:56 am

Thank you, Hose_dk! I am convinced. This spoon must have been made in 1819. However, we don't know if this spoon was given to this girl/lady when she was 9 years old girl. The initials may have been engraved at some some later occasion, or perhaps for some other person. I will try to find out something about her grandmother.

I have done some "research" about the hallmark which is supposed to be the one of Fredrik Fabritius. This hallmark seems to quite weared, but with some creativity it is possible to draw a "F" among the relicts of the engraving.

Image

Hose_dk
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Postby Hose_dk » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:34 am

Your welcome
There is no reason - what so ever - to question the guardein mark. Once you have 4 reliabel hallmarks - corresponding in time, that is not a mark worth manipulating. I some cases one can find marks reused. I have a example but that is not the case here.

I think that we like to focus to much on spoons that was given to people. Birth, death (burrial spoons), birth day (18 years), konfirmation (13 or 14 years), marrige, silver marrige - because these are items that we can see relates to a specific thing.
But most are proberly what they are, bought for the use. Identified with initials.

Having said - there is also no reason to question your family tradition.Initials suit, age is OK. So why not?
In cases where family tradition does not match age - yes then question.


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