Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland
PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Eclectic1
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Eclectic1 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:01 am

I have 6 spoons (14.8 cm) that I am unable to identify. The form would appear to be pre-1800, which I believe to be a pointed antique shape with long, narrow bowls; handles that are nearly straight to the down-turned tip; the diamond or bright-cut and engraved pattern that appears on pieces of that time period (I have an English version from ca. 1770); but its actual origin and time elude me. The pricked engraving of the handle points to Scandinavia, but follows no Scandinavian marking system I've seen. It is struck twice on the back (which has a vague rib) of each piece, about 2.5 cm from the tip, in a peculiar method: the first letter (S) seems to be raised, while the second letter (T) seems to be incuse, all contained in an irregular but consistent punch. Between the two letters is a bullet which is also raised and forms the side of the incuse T. Can anyone help with this? I'll be grateful for any and all insights!!
Image
Image
Image

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:36 pm

I don't think those marks are silver marks at least not European ones. If they would be they are under no circumstances Scandinavian. Generally speaking also the hallmarks are missing- The ST might be a maker's mark but...? Sorry.

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Hose_dk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:59 pm

Qrt.s once again we disagree.
I searched for the mark among danish provincial silver, but found no match. Could be that there are 3 letters (or even 4) but found no match.
I do agree that danish origin is possible, but I am not sure. Pattern is however in our region.
Norway I have not looked - possible, germany also a possibility.
I don doubt that they are silver.

the silver versus plated - a discussion that Qrt.s and I have. I accept more slag in hallmarking than Qrt.s does due to our geogrphically differences. In Sweden - there MUST be 4 marks, continental denmark, norway, germany - there should be more marks, but we accept more.

One thing however manufacture 17?? until 2010. during 1900+++ a lot was manufactured in silver and in plated. Production stopped in 2010 - you where able to order new untill last year.
So - 1850 onwards is proberly more likely than 17xx.
But again we have to find maker in order to establish a reliabel year.
And again only approx 50% of danish silver marks are identified.

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:55 pm

Again!? That has not happen so often dear Hose :-))). Nevertheless, the hallmarking procedures in most countries in Europe starting from about 1800 are rather clear. Before that more complicated. However, exceptions exist as always. The Danish hallmarking procedure seems to be one. There are laws and regulations in Denmark but according to Hose and in general they are not obeyed by all masters. They just mark their silver (and plate) as it pleases them and then later generations like us are supposed to "guess" what it is about. The style of the spoon is hardly older than being from 19th or possibly (?) early 20th century.

OK, I rephrase my statement. The marks are most likely not European silver marks except for possibly Danish. If they are Danish there are still no guaranties for that the spoon is in silver. It can as well be plated. Norwegian it is not, that is checked and can be excluded. Moreover, I know that Hose is very good in Danish silver and the Danish masters and in many other things, but not even you, Hose, can identify the master. In a way that speaks for it self.....silver?.....hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

For the readers: Hoses statement relates to another conversation we had in another forum about this same "unclear" Danish marking procedure. The difference to this one was that in that case there was a "town" mark resembling a Danish town mark in addition to a maker's mark. Unfortunately neither of those marks could be identified, not even was it silver or plated. Here we don't even have a "town" mark only two letters i.e. ST and are they maker's marks or what, we do not know.

If you Hose manage to find an unconditional maker, I will immediately withdraw my statement, until then, not silver! Moreover, I don't easily accept "slag" of any kind so no marks or insufficient marks, not silver until proved otherwise!

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Hose_dk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:40 pm

Allow me to elaborate a bit.
Danish hallmarks are quit clear - in principle. 4 mark should be set. Maker, Town, Guardein and Tax mark. So is the principle.
Problem occurs when you get outside Copenhagen and a few other larger cities. The town might not have a guardein - then noone to set guardein mark + tax mark. Often no city mark excist so - what should an honest silversmith do? He set his mark, and in case he thing that other marks are missing he can add his mark 2, 3 or 4 times. By putting 4 times masters mark people could see that this was silver having 4 marks.
To give an examble. In a town Stubbekøbing - the city had royal rights since 1354. In 1672 population is 467 people. In a period of 200 years a total of 7 silversmiths worked in that town. 3 of them have marks identified - the 4 remaining noone knows their mark. In that case how should a smith find a guardein? the distance to nearest priviledged city would be 50 kilometers included a sailing tour to the nighboue Island. And the distance to a town with a city mark + guardein would be 50 kilometers. Travelling distance at that time approx 30 kilometer/day.
Why should a smith travel 2 days one way and 2 days back - loose presius work day and risk thives - just to pay someone to controle what he already know is silver. And then pay tax to a king 400 kilometers away. I could be persuaded to skip hallmarks (i such case) what the risk. The smith was honest - why should he not be.
And thats why Danish hallmark sometimes are not quiet set according to regulations.
Sorry for adding info not relevant for the question.

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:08 pm

OK, quote: "Danish hallmarks are quit clear - in principle. " and that is the problem, the principle is seldom followed. Three questions about the spoon still remains.

1) Is it Danish?
Answer: Who knows?
2) Is it silver?
Answer: No idea!
3) Who's the maker?
Answer: ?????

Case closed.

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Hose_dk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:06 pm

I as quiet sure that marks are upside down
Image
question is what does it read?

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Hose_dk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:16 pm

you have 6 spoons. Take pictures of all 6 marks. Then we might be better to judge.

Eclectic1
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Eclectic1 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:44 pm

I see from the responses that the right people have commented! The possibility that the full marking would not have been done in a remote area is very plausible, and the instance described is understandable. Thank you! I am including photos of the marks on the 6 spoons (you can see that one of them is struck upside down), plus photos of the drop if that is helpful, and of the top of the handle because it shows the hint of a rib, and finally one that shows them nested together in order to get an idea of the view from the side -- the thicknesses vary. I am also showing the English spoon from 1782 because it would seem to be an example of engraved patterns that were present from at least that time. The only book available to me is a small one, "Norske Sølvskjeer" by Jorum Fossbert which has a variant on p. 40. I don't believe there is any doubt that the spoons are solid silver, and the only question there would be one of purity. From the color and flexibility, I would guess they are at least 800 fine. Have I missed anything I should have provided?
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:33 am

I have now rechecked the Norwegian alternative without any result. I find it very unlike that these spoons are Norwegian. I cannot find any suitable Norwegian maker not even close. However, the Norwegian marking system is not waterproof and not always obeyed. Of course the possibility remains that they are made in Germany, Denmark or Norway by some "illegal silversmith/Bönhasen (Germ.)" not registered in any guild. Finland and Sweden are excluded. As for now I don't know where, when or by whom your spoons are made. I cannot even tell you with certainty that are the silver or not (Sorry for that). The reason is the insufficient marking.

I have usually followed the principle: "no marks or insufficient marks, not silver" but as known exceptions exist. However, they are often known or registered somehow. Unfortunately this case gives no leads. This is my personal opinion only and I might be wrong, but....

Eclectic1
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Eclectic1 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:05 pm

Thanks, Qrt.S! I appreciate your attempts and will rule Norway, Sweden, and Finland off my list. I can believe that Hose is right about lack of marks due to the distance from any tax farmer, so it is still possible they could be Danish... but I am now wondering if other Baltic regions might have been the source. Aside from Tardy, information about those areas is very scant. The practice of pricking (rather than engraving) monograms and dates is one I associate with Scandinavia, as well as their direction (whether the implement is facing downward or upward to be read), since most other European countries face the opposite way from the Scandinavian countries. Or is this wrong? Is Scandinavia not the only source of this practice (other than Great Brittain and North America)?

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:10 pm

I'm afraid that I must admit that I'm not a "specialist" in this "pricking system" but to my understanding Hose is. Let's hope he will pop in and make a comment. Yes, your spoons could maybe be Danish.
The Baltic countries you can exclude as well due to the fact that they were a part of Russia as from 1795 to to 1920 when they became independent. Your spoons are most likely older than 1920 and if they are of Baltic origin they should be marked according to the Russian system but they are not.
FYI!
If you are interested in Baltic Silver try to get Annelore Leistikow's book Baltisches Silber. It is a very good book but written in German only. Anyway, I'm starting to believe that your spoons are made by a "Bönhase" but again.... but who knows?

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Hose_dk » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:04 pm

norway marked similar to denmark, What was case in Denmark was same in norway only 4 cities had wardein - regular.

The prik engravement is also very common in germany. Or i.e. was. Germany consisted of a large number of independent dukes, a lot of free cities. Just look at Theo homepage - under germany.
The danish king was also a duke in a number of different small "kingdoms" in Northern germany - before germany (germany is around 1870 after the french war)
Also the captains spoons - but Riga, Memel. Danzig, Libau, Königsberg etc etc was well "german" prik engravement used.

Eclectic1
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Eclectic1 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Thanks, Hose, and also Qrt.s... I think we shall never know the "truth" about these spoons. If the two of you, who I can see are very knowledgeable about Scandinavian silver, cannot tell me, I doubt that anyone else can, either. I have learned a lot from you, and I'm grateful for your posts!

I did look at the offers for the Baltic silver book and it appears quite interesting, and available in Europe. At some point, I may acquire it. Is there a book you can recommend for Scandinavian silver (other than the small ones which have nice pictures but not a lot of information)? I would also be interested in something that covers German (and to some extent Austro-Hungarian) silver as well. I know about Rosenberg, but both the price and availability make that one almost out of reach. Hose, what did you mean when you referred to the 'Theo homepage?' I have read about the captain's spoons but have never seen one. There was a discussion of them in this very interesting (largely English) site:

http://www.bexfield.co.uk/thefinial/

The final thing that has occured to me about the spoons is the vague possibility that they are American made. I have heard -- but never knowingly seen -- that in the regions that were settled by Scandinavians (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and some in other regions) that there were silversmiths who came as immigrants, and although they became farmers or tradesmen, they occasionally made silver for their fellow expatriates, using the familiar Scandinavian styles. The American marking system (before ca. 1870) had almost no controls and any kind of marking could be present or absent. But I have never seen such silver, so I don't know about this. These were not made in any of the usual American centers (New York, Boston, Philadelphia) where there would have been more conformity to the prevalent styles based on mostly English aesthetics, and these definitely do not fit. But I think I can't with certainty rule out a remote area.

Qrt.S
contributor
Posts: 3214
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:32 am
Location: Helsinki Finland

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:04 pm

You're welcome, however, I must make a complement to you last post. You see, Scandinavia is not a country it is a geographical area in Norther Europe consisting of three countries Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. If you talk about the Nordic countries you have to add to "Scandinavia" Finland and Iceland. FYI, the Baltic countries are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Anyway, there are separate books regrading all mentioned countries but as silver books in general they are more or less expensive and often hard to get. In addition, note that all books are not in English but in local languages. If you need a list send a PM to me. No idea to list them here. German silver marks in particular are a kind of a problem, you need about 2 meters of books to cover it, Rosenberg is covering a very limited area only.

Your idea of the spoons being American made in "Scandinavian style" is not at all a bad idea, actually a very plausible one. Unfortunately American silver is outside my interest. You must have a limit, this is mine. Let's hope somebody else can complement your research in American silver.

salmoned
contributor
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Hawaii

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby salmoned » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:25 pm

Just a thought - the marks look very much like the 'SIL' mark one may find on Australian pieces or, occasionally, Irish pieces.

Eclectic1
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Re: Northern European? Scandinavian? Spoon & Mark

Postby Eclectic1 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:32 pm

Thanks for the idea, salmoned. I do know that it's possible to find similar marks (that is, without reference to assay office or purity) in the more remote stretches of the UK, but I don't know about Australia. Do you have any sources to recommend? My thoughts about their Scandinavian origin are based on the form of the spoon and the fact that the monogramming is by pricking rather than engraving, which puts them in a Northern or perhaps Eastern European region.


Return to “Scandinavian Silver”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 9 guests