Little Hallmarked ?? Silver Jug

tamrock

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I just picked this up about an hour ago for dirt cheap. It looks like pure silver and is constructed like very old silver, but the hallmarks are certainly odd for any of the British hallmarks I'm somewhat familiar with. The Kings mark isn't like any standard for the era's used and it's missing the city mark and date mark. The raised paw Lion even seems a bit off to me. Red Coat if your out there, I need your opinion as to what these marks might be saying? It's definitely stamped with a clear makers mark I assume F P. If it is sterling I made a great little score but I'll wait to see what member RC has to say before I run down to the coin shop and have them shoot a beam with their expensive XRF gun. I kinda feel like a bit of a pest when they say is good silver and I decline to sell.
 

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Ocean7

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If the lion is passant (walking) it is a symbol of English sterling silver.
If the lion is rampant (standing on hind legs) it is a symbol of Scottish sterling silver.
I think the FP lands us here:
Very nice silver jug - looks expensive in design.
 
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tamrock

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If the lion is passant (walking) it is a symbol of English sterling silver.
If the lion is rampant (standing on hind legs) it is a symbol of Scottish sterling silver.
I think the FP lands us here:
Very nice silver jug - looks expensive in design.
Thank you O7. I'm aware of this website you linked, but I didn't go to it. I can see the Kings duty mark is very much like the image of that possible Francis Parsons where the Kings profile is boarded with a figure 8 shape and the Lion looks similar also.
 

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tamrock

tamrock

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Really nice find. It's nice when the mark is in a weird place. I probably would have read the "FP" as an "EP" at a glance put it back on the shelf.
I just about did that Teacher. I first saw it as EP electro plate to, but all the other elements of it rejected that idea. I pinged it for the sound and gave it a squeeze for flexibility and said this has gotta be silver and old at that. I cleaned it when I got home with it, so it wasn't this bright and shiny when it was on the shelf. It had a very thin film of grease on it as if it had spent some time in a kitchen, being coated by vapors from cooking on the stove top.
 

Red-Coat

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I have to completely disagree with the above (post #3).

Take a look at the link that was posted and click on the first image (for Francis Pages) to expand it to full size. Then you will see the full hallmark set, not just the lion passant and the maker initials ‘FP’ (with a stop between the letters) as below:

Full Set.jpg

Note that there are four marks. On later silver these are generally placed in a row but, on early silver, often just grouped close to one another. English hallmarks were applied by the assay office, not by the maker, and heavily regulated. In the example shown, the additional marks are a leopard’s head, facing (for the London Assay Office) and a date letter (a lower case ‘b’ in the style used for 1737).

Those were the four compulsory marks used on English silver at the time. They should all be present on a piece which has been officially hallmarked and, unless present in full, the piece could not have been sold as ‘silver’.

It’s not Francis Parsons’ mark either (FP over BG) and the same discrepancies are true for the depicted marks in that link. The city mark shown is a castle (for Exeter) and a capital ‘L’ (for 1807) but there are five icons in the hallmark set:

Full Set2.jpg

The legally-required hallmark set changed on 1st December 1784, when the ‘Duty Mark’ was introduced as proof that the maker/sponsor had paid tax on the item. It took the form of the Monarch’s head in an escutcheon. For Tamrock’s jug it appears to be George III facing right, which was the mark used between 1786-1820.

So, if the jug had been officially hallmarked in Britain, it should have five icons in the hallmark set: a silver purity mark; a city mark; a date letter; a maker/sponsor mark; and a duty mark. The jug has only three of those icons and is not an official hallmark from Britain.

I see two possibilities:

1. Those are ‘pseudo-hallmarks’ on a piece that’s silver plate. In that case the maker would likely be American; despite the Georgian style it would be reproduction; and it would be no earlier than the 1840s.

2. The piece is silver, produced outside Britain in Georgian style with ‘pseudo-hallmarks’. It could be either contemporary Georgian or a later reproduction. To me, the handle style is not what I would expect to see on a period Georgian jug and the ‘hallmarks’ are uncharacteristically and ostentatiously prominent.

One thing to note is that, in earlier times, British Colonies had no official system of silver hallmarking. Local silversmiths applied their own marks in imitation of British marks, but with no official status. These are also referred to as 'pseudo-hallmarks' but of a different nature. Typically such marks in the Georgian period would have the Monarch’s head, the lion passant and the maker’s initials only… which is what we can see on this jug. This was not an uncommon practice in America prior to the War of Independence but this jug has to be later. It was also common practice in Canada, Australia and South Africa (Cape silversmiths). In Canada, for example, that situation persisted until the early 20th Century but by that time the marks were beginning to be accompanied by city indications for Montreal, Quebec and Halifax plus (sometimes) the word “Sterling”. Without a city mark or date lettering system, there’s no easy way to put an age to pieces like this, unless the maker and his period of activity can be traced.

It's a nicely made piece but I’m uncomfortable with the style of the handle and the prominence of the ‘hallmarks’ for a period Georgian piece. Technically, the Georgian period ended in 1830 (or 1837 if you include William IV, which most people do) but experienced a Colonial revival from about 1870 onwards. My gut feel is that, if it proves to be silver, it might be Canadian from the early part of the 1800s or possibly Georgian revival from the latter part of the 1800s with an anachronistic copy of a George III duty mark.
 
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tamrock

tamrock

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I have to completely disagree with the above (post #3).

Take a look at the link that was posted and click on the first image (for Francis Pages) to expand it to full size. Then you will see the full hallmark set, not just the lion passant and the maker initials ‘FP’ (with a stop between the letters) as below:

View attachment 2028281

Note that there are four marks. On later silver these are generally placed in a row but, on early silver, often just grouped close to one another. English hallmarks were applied by the assay office, not by the maker, and heavily regulated. In the example shown, the additional marks are a leopard’s head, facing (for the London Assay Office) and a date letter (a lower case ‘b’ in the style used for 1737).

Those were the four compulsory marks used on English silver at the time. They should all be present on a piece which has been officially hallmarked and, unless present in full, the piece could not have been sold as ‘silver’.

It’s not Francis Parsons’ mark either (FP over BG) and the same discrepancies are true for the depicted marks in that link. The city mark shown is a castle (for Exeter) and a capital ‘L’ (for 1807) but there are five icons in the hallmark set:

View attachment 2028282

The legally-required hallmark set changed on 1st December 1784, when the ‘Duty Mark’ was introduced as proof that the maker/sponsor had paid tax on the item. It took the form of the Monarch’s head in an escutcheon. For Tamrock’s jug it appears to be George III facing right, which was the mark used between 1786-1820.

So, if the jug had been officially hallmarked in Britain, it should have five icons in the hallmark set: a silver purity mark; a city mark; a date letter; a maker/sponsor mark; and a duty mark. The jug has only three of those icons and is not an official hallmark from Britain.

I see two possibilities:

1. Those are ‘pseudo-hallmarks’ on a piece that’s silver plate. In that case the maker would likely be American; despite the Georgian style it would be reproduction; and it would be no earlier than the 1840s.

2. The piece is silver, produced outside Britain in Georgian style with ‘pseudo-hallmarks’. It could be either contemporary Georgian or a later reproduction. To me, the handle style is not what I would expect to see on a period Georgian jug and the ‘hallmarks’ are uncharacteristically and ostentatiously prominent.

One thing to note is that, in earlier times, British Colonies had no official system of silver hallmarking. Local silversmiths applied their own marks in imitation of British marks, but with no official status. These are also referred to as 'pseudo-hallmarks' but of a different nature. Typically such marks in the Georgian period would have the Monarch’s head, the lion passant and the maker’s initials only… which is what we can see on this jug. This was not an uncommon practice in America prior to the War of Independence but this jug has to be later. It was also common practice in Canada, Australia and South Africa (Cape silversmiths). In Canada, for example, that situation persisted until the early 20th Century but by that time the marks were beginning to be accompanied city indications for Montreal, Quebec and Halifax plus (sometimes) the word “Sterling”. Without a city mark or date lettering system, there’s no easy way to put an age to pieces like this, unless the maker and his period of activity can be traced.

It's a nicely made piece but I’m uncomfortable with the style of the handle and the prominence of the ‘hallmarks’ for a period Georgian piece. Technically, the Georgian period ended in 1830 (or 1837 if you include William IV, which most people do) but experienced a Colonial revival from about 1870 onwards. My gut feel is that, if it proves to be silver, it might be Canadian from the early part of the 1800s or possibly Georgian revival from the latter part of the 1800s with an anachronistic copy of a George III duty mark.
Thank you Red Coat and many of my suspicion's are almost exactly as you mentioned and even the handle was a concern of mine. As it looked later than what I expected from the rest of the piece. The way the handle has been attached seems a technique much later then how it may have been done in earlier times. The fact that the inside is unfinished and left with beat marks was also something of concern. My thought is it is a reproduction piece made to somewhat deceive or immulate a period piece. Still I do believe it to be pure silver which I will find out for sure.
 

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Red-Coat

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There was a post (suddenly deleted) saying it's a sauce/gravy boat. It's a milk jug used for tea service, sometimes improperly called a 'creamer'. Sauce boats had a much lower profile... more like a boat in fact.
 

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That puppy is plated.

The hallmarks are not actual makers marks, they are design elements to make it appear ‘antique’
 
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tamrock

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There was a post (suddenly deleted) saying it's a sauce/gravy boat. It's a milk jug used for tea service, sometimes improperly called a 'creamer'. Sauce boats had a much lower profile... more like a boat in fact.
Thank you RC. I wouldn't rule out this thing being produced in Latin America or Mexico now. They've not only fashioned silver in their own style, but I've seen their versions of Scandinavian and European copies of silver also.
That puppy is plated.

The hallmarks are not actual makers marks, they are design elements to make it appear ‘antique’
That's rather amazing you can just make that assumption on just what you see from a picture online. It'll be tested on an XRF here soon and I'll post the results, but in the meantime see if you can find these marks of a proven piece of silver-plated anything online.
 
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tamrock

tamrock

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Okay, I just got back from the coin shop and the XRF indicated it to be within the 90% pure silver range and they would buy it at that grade on a weight of 97 grams. My hunch is this could be Peruvian made as a authentic looking antique piece of English silver as that's a typical grade of silver thats been widely used for silver objects made in Peru. I also think it was possibly part of a larger set. I decided not to sell it, but did take a small amount of smashed weighed scrap sterling I got cheap and got enough out of that to buy this little overpriced one troy once silver bar, which I thought was cool. That way I'm not just being a pest and taking advantage of that XRF they invested in. This way they came out money ahead and so did I.
 

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Clay Diggins

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From the pictures it looks like hand assembled blanched silver. It could be Peruvian, Mexican or American. It doesn't look like plate to me but it's just a picture.

I too believe it's a replica - the design elements don't match up, the marks are fantasy based, the solder on the bottom plate is sloppy and low silver content, the surface design appears to be kick press work, there is a double plate join along the handle side etc. The closeups on the body reveal what looks like spun metal.

I wouldn't put any faith in an XRF reading from either plated or blanched silver. Plated and blanched silver both read around 85 - 90% silver on a standard XRF. There are a few, very expensive, XRF units designed to detect and measure silver plate (requires two or more readings) but I doubt any of them could detect blanched silver with any reliability.

I've seen quite a few similar pieces made from British 50% silver coin. After 1920 the British went from the sterling 92.5% silver coin standard to 50% silver in their coins. By manufacturing objects from the 50% coin and treating it to a slow acid bath to remove the copper from the surface then hand rubbing the surface the 50% silver could be passed off as "sterling". A lot a replica "antique" sterling tableware was made and sold this way, much of it in the United States.

I once saw a large (and very heavy) "sterling silver" table that was created by this method. The piece was definitely collectable for it's uniqueness and design but the surface tested as 90% silver (suspicious), the design elements were subtly wrong and there were several pre-1920 sterling coins used as elements in the design. That final clue was the tip off that led to destructive testing (who uses circulating coin as a design element on furniture?). It tested as 50% silver. The piece still did well at auction but the price realized was less than half of the original estimate.

This piece could be sterling. If it was I'd think it would have shown 92.5% (or better) silver content. With a 90% content by XRF and bogus hallmarks I think I would have jumped on selling it as sterling scrap. Then again it's not a bad looking milk and the value might well go up despite the hall marks. Either way it's a nice find. I probably would have bought it too.
 
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tamrock

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From the pictures it looks like hand assembled blanched silver. It could be Peruvian, Mexican or American. It doesn't look like plate to me but it's just a picture.

I too believe it's a replica - the design elements don't match up, the marks are fantasy based, the solder on the bottom plate is sloppy and low silver content, the surface design appears to be kick press work, there is a double plate join along the handle side etc. The closeups on the body reveal what looks like spun metal.

I wouldn't put any faith in an XRF reading from either plated or blanched silver. Plated and blanched silver both read around 85 - 90% silver on a standard XRF. There are a few, very expensive, XRF units designed to detect and measure silver plate (requires two or more readings) but I doubt any of them could detect blanched silver with any reliability.

I've seen quite a few similar pieces made from British 50% silver coin. After 1920 the British went from the sterling 92.5% silver coin standard to 50% silver in their coins. By manufacturing objects from the 50% coin and treating it to a slow acid bath to remove the copper from the surface then hand rubbing the surface the 50% silver could be passed off as "sterling". A lot a replica "antique" sterling tableware was made and sold this way, much of it in the United States.

I once saw a large (and very heavy) "sterling silver" table that was created by this method. The piece was definitely collectable for it's uniqueness and design but the surface tested as 90% silver (suspicious), the design elements were subtly wrong and there were several pre-1920 sterling coins used as elements in the design. That final clue was the tip off that led to destructive testing (who uses circulating coin as a design element on furniture?). It tested as 50% silver. The piece still did well at auction but the price realized was less than half of the original estimate.

This piece could be sterling. If it was I'd think it would have shown 92.5% (or better) silver content. With a 90% content by XRF and bogus hallmarks I think I would have jumped on selling it as sterling scrap. Then again it's not a bad looking milk and the value might well go up despite the hall marks. Either way it's a nice find. I probably would have bought it too.
Thanks Clay Diggins. I am gonna cash it in or trade it, because the buyer is certain it is good enough to buy as scrap.
 

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That is so awesome that someone’s gonna buy it. I’m just one of those guys on the Internet. Getting some sort of weird kick out of bursting your bubble :-) but I’m not holding your gravy boat. If it was in my hands I would definitely have a better idea, cash that puppy in! Congratulations
 
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tamrock

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As long as the silver skull and cross bones bar isn't fake!
Yeah I should've told them get that fancy Lazer gun of theirs out and prove to me it's a legit .999 pure silver ingot.
 

siralanderon

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Okay, I just got back from the coin shop and the XRF indicated it to be within the 90% pure silver range and they would buy it at that grade on a weight of 97 grams. My hunch is this could be Peruvian made as a authentic looking antique piece of English silver as that's a typical grade of silver thats been widely used for silver objects made in Peru. I also think it was possibly part of a larger set. I decided not to sell it, but did take a small amount of smashed weighed scrap sterling I got cheap and got enough out of that to buy this little overpriced one troy once silver bar, which I thought was cool. That way I'm not just being a pest and taking advantage of that XRF they invested in. This way they came out money ahead and so did I.
That 1oz bar looks like a "Prospector's Gold and Gems" hand poured bar.
 

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