Unidentified marks on small spoons

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland
PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Alex H
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Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:01 am

Hello and thank you for this incredible resource, which I've been using for past few years with great success.
But now I found some marks that I was not able to identify. Neither by checking the pictures on several web sites, nor by searching the forum.

Two items in question are small spoons, about 10 cm / 4in in length. Time of manufacture and country of origin are unknown to me.

1) Made of yellow soft metal, but I am not absolutely sure that this is actually made of gold.

Image

2) Made of white metal and plated with yellow metal.

Image

I will be very grateful for any help. Thank you.
Alex

dognose
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby dognose » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:47 am

Hi Alex,

Welcome to the Forum.

I'm moving your topic to the Scandinavian forum as I feel we may be looking at Swedish items and it will get better exposure in that section of the forum and we'll see what opinions are given.

Please remember in future posts that only one item per topic is permitted.

Trev.

P.S. Great images.

Alex H
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:25 am

Hi Trev,

Sorry for posting two items in the same topic - I missed it while reading the rules. Will not happen again.

May I ask, what makes you think these are Swedish? Now, after your post I did find that the middle mark of the first spoon does resemble Stockholm city mark from late 1700 early 1800. I have never dealt with items that old, hence lack of visual memory. My oldest silver spoon so far is the one manufactured in 1815 in Stockholm, but the mark is very symmetrical. Middle mark of the second spoon is hard see. I wish I knew how to make better pictures of it (I have a variety of photo and microscopic equipment to do so).

Being located in Sweden, I did find silver items from as far as Mexico and Korea during past year I was doing this, but indeed most of my stuff is local (Nordic countries, Germany, Austria and USSR).

PS. If the hallmark pictures are good enough, and if they are identified in the end, I have no problems of them being used on the website as a reference.

Thanks,
Alex

oel
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby oel » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:02 pm

Hi Alex,

See IPG for; Johan Petter Grönwall (1807-1843), Stockholm
http://www.silverstamplar.com/i-j.html

Best,

Peter

Alex H
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:42 pm

Thank you, Peter, it matches nicely. And thanks for showing me the resource. I'll add it to my bookmarks.

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:43 am

Hmmmmm!
The first spoon lacks the cat's paw, the Swedish control mark. Therefore it is neither made of gold nor silver, but gold plated. The base metal is ???? The maker's mark (GM) resembles very much Gustaf Möllenborg's mark 1823-1850(1930). The second mark looks like Stockholm's St. Erik (town mark) and the two last marks are the year mark (?X) Difficult to say what year. The first mark is unclear but, anyway, from 19th century. The pattern looks like "svensk spets", but I'm not sure about it.

Regarding the second spoon is Peter's assumption of the maker being Grönwall obviously correct. The year mark could be Q3 (1822), that matches with Grönwall's working period. What I wonder is, that is the middle mark the cat's paw or the town mark of Stockholm? I believe it is the town mark. In that case also this spoon lacks the Swedish control mark telling us that the base metal is not silver but as the other spoon most likely only gold plated and the base metal ??? (German silver...?). The name of the pattern is "gammalfransk (old French)", an old common European rococo pattern also known by its French name as "palmes suedois (Swedish palmes)"

Both spoons are caviar spoons and that is the reason for the gold plating. What is also rather interesting is, that the markings are except for the missing official Swedish control mark (three crowns/cat's paw) similar to gold-/ and silver marks. The reason could be the gold plating, but ???

This is my humble opinion only.

Alex H
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:25 am

Thanks you, Qrt.S for your insight.

I now have no doubt about the second spoon provenance (1822, Grönwall), but I am still a bit puzzled by the middle mark, and will check it under the microscope. It is no doubt plated, and has obvious wear showing white metal underneath. I will test what metal it is when the testing kit arrives. Was it required to put date mark on the plated items made of "nickel silver"? I need to look more closely at plated items next time.

As for the first spoon, and the alleged date mark, it could be a two digit mark (X?) only if it is inverted comparing to other marks, and than it could refer to any number of years. Than, if GM refers to Gustaf Möllenborg (1823-1851, https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustaf_M%C3%B6llenborg), X? can refer to X3 or 1828. I could only find two photographs showing his marks. On both, date letters are stamped in a rectangle, and name mark does not have dots between letters and after letter M. However, if the date mark is not inverted, it could only point to 1710 (single "X"), before the official Swedish control mark was introduced, leaving the other mark unidentified, and making me even more confused.

Thanks, Alex

AG2012
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby AG2012 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:41 am

It matches Gustaf Möllenborg with initials and pellets.
No cat`s paw is puzzling, though.Was it sometimes omitted on small items ?
If date letter is upside down, then it could be X 3 for 1828.
Date letter on non precious metal item ?
There are electronic testers now.Try to determine the alloy.
Image

oel
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby oel » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:13 am

Hi,

The year letter confirmes the spoon passed the assay and was struck by the assayer, the base metal is a silver alloy, no doubt. I would not use any acid too destructive. The value is not in the silver, small spoon, light weight. Today's silver(925) priced around 30 euro cents/gram. The value is in the history of the spoon, and the marks. Like AG 2012 said, if needed there are better ways to determine the silver content.

Best,

Peter

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:16 am

The date mark could very well be up side down and actually I think it is. X3 for 1828 and a perfect match for Möllenborg. Regarding marking of nickel silver/German silver/alpaca... or similar non-valuable metals there are still today neither national nor international requirements, rules, standards or whatsoever on how to mark them. The only thing I know of is, that the marks shouldn't resemble marks for gold, silver or platinum. However, what do the marks do here? Except for the missing control mark, they look exactly like Swedish gold or silver marks. I would say, that it "smells" like the manufacturers have tried to give the impression (by gold plating them), that the objects are more valuable than they are in reality. I would call it deceiving! Actually, I cannot recall seeing date marks on (plated) Swedish nickel-silver except for on Gabriel Dufva's silver plate production around the turn of the century.

#AG2012
No, it was not omitted on small objects, well maybe if it was a really small object but a spoon is not a "small" object. But on so called "folk made objects" marks could be missing.

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:37 am

@Oel
Hi, your input came while I was writing mine. Anyway, mind my asking but where from is the information that the Swedish year letter is punched/confirmed by the assayer? What is confirmed by the assayer by the year mark? The year mark is actually punched by the silversmith and confirms nothing more than the year of manufacturing. The only mark punched in the assay office is the control mark i.e. three crowns/cat's paw.
Silver alloy!? Would you mind explain a bit more thank you. Silver is usually alloyed with copper and in Sweden minimum fineness is 830/1000 to 1995 after that 800/1000. The alloy in these spoons is some kind of white metal, nickel silver, alpaca......, heaven knows what it is.

oel
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby oel » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:55 am

Hi, in the Netherlands the year letter is punched by the assayer. It is a reference mark which assayer is responsible for the assay during a certain year. Remarks are made in the assay office books. Like in Britain and I thought the same applied for the Swedish year letters and it is; the Swedish year letter identifies the year of assay and is not a manufacturing date.
Anyway I do not believe the marks to be spurious.The base metal should be a silver alloy. You can not determine a metal alloy by image only.

Best,

Peter
Source; World Hallmarks-Vol.1- Europe Sweden page 296

Alex H
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:41 am

Thanks to everyone, it has been very educational!

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:13 am

@AG2012
I found out that Swedish made objects in valuable metal with the weight of less than 1 gram can be unmarked.

AG2012
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby AG2012 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:06 pm

Thank you for the info. One gram limit is really low and obviously cannot be applied even to smallest spoons.
Regards

oel
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby oel » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:02 pm

Hi Alex,

Could you please tell use the weight of the silver spoons?
By the way the town mark of Stockholm is applied by the assay office also, and only after it passed the assay.


Peter

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:43 am

oel wrote:Hi,

The year letter confirmes the spoon passed the assay and was struck by the assayer,


I'm afraid that this is not the case regarding both Sweden and Finland. The only mark "Kungliga Controllverket" (a kind of an assay office) punched since 1759 is the control mark. In Sweden three crowns/cat's paw. This mark was punched by "stämpelrådmannen" an authority in Controllverket when the min. legal fineness (830/1000) had been verified. Before the probation the master had to punch his maker's mark on the object. However, this marking has not been verified with certainty. The other marks, maker's mark included, town mark, year mark etc., are also punched by the master who had them in his possession. If it turned out that the fineness was illegal the object was immediately destroyed. (Those are still the current procedures.) In those days the probation caused the zick-zack mark (åldermansranka) on the object and even if it is an unofficial mark only, people keep it as an guarantee of legal fineness.

Neither the year mark nor the town mark are guarantees for legal fineness. Moreover, the year mark is commonly considered to indicate the year of manufacturing and of course as well as the year of hallmarking.

Unfortunately there are some "inexact" information in the book World Hallmarks Volume 1 which is a pity.

Regarding the marks on the spoons. No, they are not spurious but they are not silver marks irrespective of the big resemblance. The control mark is missing as already mentioned. The spoons' base metal is not silver even if they are gilded.

Qrt.S
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Qrt.S » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:47 am

Just for the records. I forgot to mention that you could correct Sweden down on page 297. The hexagonal framed S-mark was implemeted 1.1.1913 and not 1912. It is also interesting to notice that on the respective books cover is written EUROPE 19th to 21st centuries. If you take a look at years for different countries you will notice that many countries marks history like in this case Sweden's starts much later. Sweden starts from 1901 when it in reality started 1485. Regarding Finland on page 97 is stated that domestic heart frame crown mark was implemented 1925 when it was implemented 1810 etc. etc.... There is much more to say about the content in the book but let it be......this time.
I would think twice and be very careful before referring to World Hallmarks Vol1.

Alex H
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby Alex H » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:14 pm

Peter, sorry it took so long, but I do not own jewelers scale. The first spoon weights 7.5 g, the second – 9.1.

As for the composition of base alloy - I believe proper testing is the only answer.
I'll try to do it in the nearest future and will report back.

oel
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Re: Unidentified marks on small spoons

Postby oel » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:07 pm

Alex, thank you below 10 grams. Indeed proper testing will be fine, take your time. I have forwarded your images for more expert opinion including some questions about Swedish hallmarking rules. If anything pops up I will let you know.


World Hallmarks Volume I gold, silver, platinum, palladium hallmarks Europe 19th to 21st Centuries and World Hallmarks Volume II gold, silver, platinum, palladium hallmarks Assia, Middle East, Africa are the best books available at the moment. Experts all over the world made contributions including 925-1000.com. Like all good reference books it has a few minor errors.

Peter.


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