British sterling?

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
hpidaves
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:37 pm

British sterling?

Postby hpidaves » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:00 pm

I have a set of tongs (5 1/2") that could be sterling -- they have what appears to be a lion passant mark and what I believe is a maker's mark (S.A -- Stephen Adams?), but no other hallmarks. The piece is in rough condition -- both ends of the tongs have broken off (I have one of the pieces). There is very light etching near the "passant", but it's very hard to see and/or photograph. It seems to read something like a hand etched script "E W / 4".

Any idea if this is indeed sterling?

Regards,
David

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silvermakersmarks
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Re: British sterling?

Postby silvermakersmarks » Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:28 am

These tea tongs look exactly as I would expect a pair of London tongs from before 1784 to look. It was normal for only the sterling lion passant and maker's marks to be used; after 1784 a duty mark would also be applied. SA is indeed Stephen Adams.

Phil

hpidaves
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Re: British sterling?

Postby hpidaves » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:06 am

Phil,
Thank you so much. I wish they were in better condition. I'm very angry with myself -- the broken piece I have was broken by me. That side was bent outward so I attempted to carefully bend it back and it snapped off. The other side was missing the bottom part when I acquired the piece.

In your opinion, could this be repaired?

Regards,
David

Sasropakis
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Re: British sterling?

Postby Sasropakis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:47 am

Cast tongs are notorious to be quite fragile so most of them have had repairs at some point. Professional silversmith can probably fix the broken piece rather easily. Or were you thinking about replacing the missing part too? That might be quite expensive.

dognose
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Re: British sterling?

Postby dognose » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:23 am

Hi,

Cast tongs such as these are made in three parts. You will see the solder lines where the Lion Passant is struck. The striking of the Lion Passant directly over the solder line is intentional, this is to prevent later re-soldering of sub-standard arms on to loop after assay.

Trev.

hpidaves
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:37 pm

Re: British sterling?

Postby hpidaves » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:51 pm

I have one quote for fixing the piece -- about $900 - $1200, so I think I will pass on that :)

I appreciate all the information -- I did notice that there appeared to be three separate pieces connected together. That makes sense about where the passant and maker's mark are placed.

I wonder how it would look with the other "fan" end removed from the broken piece and re-connected? Both ends could be smoothed and rounded off so they match. It's just for my personal collection anyway. Just a thought.

Regards,
David

Sasropakis
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Re: British sterling?

Postby Sasropakis » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:04 am

I would just have the broken piece soldered but only if the cost is reasonable. Removing the other bowl would damage the piece even more and make it look rather odd in my opinion. Despite their age Georgian sugar tongs aren't especially valuable so some might even just scrap damaged items although I wouldn't want to see this done to a nearly 250 years old item. In case you aren't alredy familiar with this site you can find a lot of useful information here: http://www.silversugartongs.com/Collectors/repairs.htm (I chose the repairs section for the link)

hpidaves
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:37 pm

Re: British sterling?

Postby hpidaves » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:42 am

Yes, you are right -- I guess it would look odd. I will definitely not scrap it -- too old and still attractive. I know some people who might be able to help out in casting the missing fan piece. I'm a teacher and some Tech Ed teachers at my school teach casting metals. I have some scrap sterling that could be used. Definitely a project, but I'll see what I can do.

Regards,
Dave


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