Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
maxbernat
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:50 pm

Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby maxbernat » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:34 pm

Hi all, I recently bought this lovely plate, marked silverplate in the store. It has a very clear 1798-1809 Paris 85 mark and a well worn right facing rooster mark, also from the same era. But is also seems to have a crab mark from 1838-present. Any help trying to figure this out. The plate weighs 697 grams and has a lovely "A" monogram.

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Aguest
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Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby Aguest » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:26 pm

Make sure the crab hallmark on your plate EXACTLY matches the crab hallmark from the French Hallmark Guide ::: I just read a few archived posts, and apparently there was a "Crab Touchmark" which was a French Provincial Hallmark and the shape of this hallmark is distinctly different from the "official Crab" hallmark of the French Hallmarking System :::

Hopefully someone with much more experience with the French Hallmarking Systems will chime in, but I just thought I would try to help until that happens, and I did happen to find a few helpful archived posts :::

maxbernat
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby maxbernat » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:43 am

Thanks, it's definitely NOT exactly like the usual Hallmark. The claws turn out rather than in. I'm frankly not even sure it is a crab. Hope to learn more from other members...!

Aguest
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Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby Aguest » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:07 pm

I wonder if it is a Langoustine, which is kind of like a lobster and kind of like a crab? ::: At any rate, whatever species of shellfish it happens to be, I agree with you that it is NOT the same hallmark as the official French crab hallmark ::: It might be that "French Provincial Touchmark" which another archived post references, but there are very astute French Silver experts around here ::: They might chime in here soon, hopefully so.....

blakstone
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Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby blakstone » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:27 pm

I disagree; I think it is very clearly the provincial crab mark introduced in 1838. (Evidence of bigorne marks on the underside of it would confirm this.)

I think there is no real mystery here. When new marks were introduced in 1809, 1819 and 1838, there was a grace period each time when old items with legal marks could be struck with a special census or inventory mark without having to be subject to assay or duty. As your plate does not bear any of these marks, it was evidently presented for sale sometime after 1838 and, lacking these marks, it was considered unmarked and therefore subject to assay and re-marked with the crab mark. I suspect that the crab, rather than the Minerva, mark was used because while the latter guaranteed the fineness of .950 or .800 within a very narrow tolerance, the crab mark guaranteed only a minimum fineness of .800; perhaps the piece fell just outside of the first standard tolerance, or the assayer simply trusted the old marks and used the minimum fineness mark to cover any possible variance.

JayT
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Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby JayT » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:15 pm

Can’t add anything to blakstone’s excellent explication, but would like to observe that the monogram is of the period, and reads AL, with the L being the last name.
Enjoy your nice find.

maxbernat
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby maxbernat » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:07 pm

Fantastic replies! Thanks so much. I will only note that I see only the slightest hint of a bigorne mark in the vicinity of the reverse side of the crab. It is on the edge of the plate in the attached pic. It is close to, but not directly behind the crab mark. Not sure if this matters...? Otherwise, I'm delighted that everything else falls into place. Because of their tiny marks, French silver pieces are often mischaracterized as plate since the sterling mark seems absent. I wish this also had a makers mark!

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JayT
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Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby JayT » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:41 pm

Yes, this appears to be a bigorne mark. Just to clarify, France did not adopt the sterling silver standard until 1972. The silver standard mark on your item (rooster in an octagonal reserve) is for 950 standard silver.

maxbernat
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: Rooster, 85 Paris mark AND crab??

Postby maxbernat » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:01 am

Thank you.


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