Hello back to France. I just bought this very small spoon that I assume is a condiment spoon. If English, I would have called it a salt spoon but I am hoping for the forum to tell me a lot more about French hallmarking with this mini item. It is 9 centimetres long and the 5 hallmarks it carries is definitely a bigger number than its grams of silver and it is shown below.
The rear of the spoons stem has 3 marks and the obvious maker’s lozenge mark is in the middle. It appears to be “AL” under a triangle and also above a triangle.
I did not find anything on “our” site for a maker but “silvercollection.it” offered “Alfred Lambert” working at the end of the 19th century. A mark was not illustrated but “AL” featuring a triangle was described.
Needing more dating I looked to the other 2 marks on the rear of the spoon stem.
Furthest away from the maker’s mark and near bowl, I think we have the “crab” guarantee mark, apparently used from 1838 onwards.
I read from another post this mark guarantees a minimum standard of 800 parts of silver.
The third mark, just near the makers mark was totally unfamiliar to me, but it definitely looked like a butterfly wing and body.From the forum I found, I think, a salient post.
From the forum I found, I think, a salient post.viewtopic.php?f=7&t=24082&p=58058&hilit=butterfly#p57965
This is about “Departments” and on the last chart shown there is an illustration of my half butterfly. Apparently there were extra marks to show where, in a Department, items were marked. It seems my little spoon was hallmarked in the “North” part of whichever Department it was marked in. We have a discrepancy here now though, as the chart with the illustrations states used 1819 – 1838. The topic shown below has an explanation for the discrepancy in the dates of the 2 official marks suggesting this could happen with items marked at regulation “change over” periods. I do not seem to be able to decipher the Department number I think I am supposed to be able to see between the crab’s rear legs.http://925-1000.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=49916#p152823
The last 2 marks are on the front of the spoons stem.
I believe they a “bigorne” marks but they are of 2 distinct styles, a simple style is on the finial “backing” the butterfly mark and low down in the stem is the complex styled mark “backing” the crab mark.
Can the forum put me right if my thinking is incorrect and fill in the information I am lacking.