Antique Silver Treasures – Where are they from? What are they worth?
Just the other day I got an email from a lady – she had found an antique silver vase and could I help her find out where it is from.
On the left are the silver hallmarks on the vase
This is an easy one – the crab was the mark used by Paris and other regions of France in the 19th and early 20th century to indicate 800 fineness of silver – not quite sterling (925) but the colour will not rub off!
The diamond lozenge on the left gives the maker’s initials
We traced the maker
A range of dates but more than 100 years old.
I don’t think it is a vase. I think it is a candle holder . Any ideas?
For sure it was fun to find and I think the lady had a great bargain. Good news
Over the years so many people have come with their family treasures or their super bargains only to discover that the treasure or the bargain is not what it appears to be.
The answer is in the marks
Another time I was given the opportunity to sell a very expensive and much venerated silver kettle – a family heirloom. This was going to net the family serious money.
The antique silver kettle was by Jacob Margas. He was a Huguenot silversmith https://huguenotmuseum.org/about/the-huguenots/ born in the 1670’s to a London based silversmith family. He was apprenticed to another silversmith and gained his own mark in the early 1700’s. He is much-collected and pieces made by him are in the British museum. He is known for his shaped teapots and kettle – so looking really good!
Sadly it was not the case. The stand was indeed by Jacob Margas but the marks on the kettle were not right
Here are the marks on the base on the tea pot – all in a straight line.
Here is an illustration of how the marks should have looked – in a scatter
format not in a straight line.
The marks on the Jacob Margas tea pot had been lifted from maybe a pot stand or similar – a piece, indeed, made by him and then the actual section with the hallmarks had been cut out and inserted into the base of the tea pot . The silver pot was made by someone else in the Jacob Margas style.
This was happening a lot in the 1970’s when American collectors discovered Georgian and early English silver and the London silver dealer market obliged by finding special pieces to fit their requests!
The value of the kettle plummeted – not serious money after all. Bad news
Those silver marks are all important but it’s not just marks alone….
I’ve been in the antique silver business for almost 40 years now. The pieces I sell are authentic and I guarantee to sell you the genuine article – be it a small vase/candle holder or an exquisite Georgian silver tea pot.
If you would like to get in touch and see more of our many special antique silver pieces please contact me on What’s App – touch the button! or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you soon!