Hello, I just bought a spoon that had bowl struck marks that I could not positively identify. The marks needed cleaning but I thought I could see one mark with a women’s head and a curvaceous number 3. I hoped it was a silver spoon as a women’s head is always promising in my view. A picture of the spoon and its cleaned marks is shown below.
A review of 925-1000 world silver marks soon showed this is a Polish silver spoon with the figure 3 indicating a 800 parts standard grade of silver. The direction that the head looks plus any associated marks can be dating evidence for Polish silver of the 20th century. Before the end of WW1 Poland was not an independent state and its silver carried Russian type Kokoshnik (lady’s head) marks. After the war from 1920 and up to WW2 a girl’s head and guarantee marks 1, 2 and 3 were used as on my spoon. Also a careful look at my mark under magnification shows that at the back of the women’s head there is a small W. This indicates my spoon was made in Warsaw. The 925-1000 Poland section gives a list of letters for various Polish silver centres.
Researching the likely maker mark, the W.H in the lozenge cartouche, by a look at our forum and other sources on the inter net, the names Wladislaw Hempel and Hempel Brothers were generated, but frustratingly many of pictures with the forum posts have been lost. Hempel Brothers it seems were active at Warsaw during the pre independence period and below is a set of marks from that period.
I understand the thin crescent moon and 3 stars was a Hempel Brothers mark and the above marks show a W.H is in an oval cartouche. Do I look on this W.H as a Hempel Brothers’ mark or Wlad Hempel’s mark? Who were the Brothers Hempel and is Wlad a brother? My spoon’s mark is different. Is this Wlad Hempel’s mark or just a changed mark to underline new Polish independence or even just to usher in the new Art Deco period? The spoon itself is definitely styled from an earlier time. Is the maker in fact somebody else?
I noted 2 references to the activity dates for the Hempel Brothers, one suggesting the period 1894-1939 and a second referenced by a well-respected silver correspondent suggesting 1899-1915 and thus finishing before the start of the new Polish state.
I definitely believe my spoon was Warsaw made and made between the wars but I have less confidence in the name of the maker. I hope there is some confirmed evidence to be forwarded by members of the forum identifying the silversmith.
Below is photo of another set of marks on a napkin ring attributed to Wlad Hempel and 2 other photos of marks seen in association of Kokoshnik marks.
And look, we have .WH. in an oval, yet another version of W with H with a moon and 3 stars. It is over to everybody else now, as I would like to put an identifying label on my new spoon.
P.s I am sorry not all photos are crisp.