Resource for French Hallmarks

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Resource for French Hallmarks

Post by cgonzalez100 »

I was just trying to access the site for the researching of French hallmarks this morning and came upon a new page. Looks as though there is some sort of dispute over the site within the National Library of France. Sadly, I assume the reference for silversmiths at the site will no longer be open to the public. Could anyone recommend over resources for researching French silversmiths?
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Re: Resource for French Hallmarks

Post by JayT »

Yes, I’ve noticed that the Ministry of Culture is no longer supporting dozens of databases on their website, including the one on Paris silver maker’s marks registered after 1875. I’ll try to get more intel, and report back if I do.

In the meantime:

There is no single, overall source for French maker’s marks. You have to go by region and time period. As about two-thirds of the makers were Parisian, the resources below will cover a lot of ground.
1. Nocq, Henry. Le poinçon de Paris: répertoire des maitres-orfèvres de la juridiction de Paris depuis le moyen-age jusqu’à la fin du XVIIIe siècle. 5 volumes. Paris, Floury, 1926. This is THE reference text for pre-Revolutionary Paris maker’s marks in terms of reliability and completeness. It is out of print, and when available on the secondary market goes for €€€€. If I had to save just one title from my library, this would be it, although I’d need a handcart to carry it away! Makers are arranged alphabetically by last name; indexes of initials and symbols help to narrow the search. The author gives all available info, such as active dates, sponsor, address, position on tax roll, etc. Marks are either described or drawn. Biographies of the most prominent silversmiths are given, with illustrations of their work. I’ve spent many happy hours browsing through Nocq.
For post-revolutionary Paris maker’s marks the best source is:
2. Arminjon, Catherine et al. Dictionnaire des poinçons de fabricants d’ouvrages d’or et d’argent. V. I 1798-1838 and V. II 1838-1875. Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1991 and 1994. These volumes are out of print, and cost €€€€ for the 2 volumes on the secondary market, when you can find them. Makers are arranged by first initial, thus Jean Dupont is listed under J. There are some anomalies, so it is best to check last initial too. There are indexes by last name, symbol, and address. Full info is given for each maker: dates, address, inventory number, successors, etc. The most frustrating aspect of this reference is the poor quality of the illustrations, which are photographs of the stamped mark. A third volume had been planned for marks registered after 1875, but as production costs were prohibitive, V. III is a searchable database that you are familiar with, on the French Ministry of Culture website. The same problem is found with poor quality photographs of the marks.

Hope this helps.
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