So many marks!

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paulh
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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Cheshire, England

So many marks!

Postby paulh » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:34 am

This is an intriguing piece of Hanau silver. It is in imitation of a Dutch 18th century knife. I have never seen so many marks on one piece before. There are in total 13 marks on the silver, plus the name on the blade.

The evidence trail starts from the most obvious suggestion that it might not be a Dutch 18th century knife; that being the name Charles Desprez, Bristol on the blade. Charles Desprez was a general jewellery business, working in Bristol in the late Victorian and Edwardian period. (Thank you Trev for your ephemera post). The next clue is a hallmark on the haft, which is a London import mark for 1892, with the sponsor’s mark being that of Samuel Boyce Landeck, a well known importer of Hanau silver. Taking it back a step further there is a Dutch standard mark, over stamped with an export mark on the other side of the haft and an Assay Office mark with letter M in its helmet for the regional assay office of Schoonhoven.

Those are all the “official” marks, but on the head of the haft there are at least six other “pseudo marks”. One of which I presume would give a clue as to the identity of the actual maker, but as I have not been able to trace it, I will have to leave that part of the puzzle and hope that someone else can solve it.

Paul.
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oel
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:16 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: So many marks!

Postby oel » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:46 am

Hi Paul,

Not Hanau Germany but Schoonhoven Holland. Silver knife haft with finial a parrot picking the haft.

The marks on the haft are Dutch pseudo marks. The haft is made and assayed in Schoonhoven hence the regional assay office letter M in its helmet. Designated for export as the export key in the standard mark confirms. Lion rampant 1st standard silver 934/1000 fine. The Dutch date letter misstruck Gothic B for 1886.
For the Dutch hallmarks see:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=32028

Pseudo marks or fantasy marks
The London World Exhibition of 1851 showed some good antique, old school silver pieces to set as an example to follow for the growing silver industries & factories. Not only industrial modern pieces, inspired by old styles became in high demand, the original antique pieces became highly popular too. Around 1860 pseudo marks popped up in The Netherlands, provinces North & South Holland, Friesland & Groningen. Pseudo old marks & fantasy marks were used for competitive reasons, the high demand for antique silver at home and abroad,for silver being old & handmade in the traditional way. The import regulations in the UK and US; antique silver could be imported at a lower duty rate compared to modern silver. However the British importers know the silver items are not old and do sell it at such; being curios cabinet items. The silversmiths of Schoonhoven, the traditional exporter of mostly small silver items to the UK & US, used pseudo marks purely for tax reasons.


Dutch pseudo marks see:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=28590#p71003
Samuel Boyce Landeck also traded with silversmiths/ silver factories in Schoonhoven. The haft(s) were bought in Schoonhoven and the blades made/ put on in the UK by Charles Desprez.

Peter.

paulh
contributor
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: So many marks!

Postby paulh » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:43 pm

Thanks for your reply. Are you saying that the marks on the end of the haft are pseudo marks as part of the “decoration” to make a reproduction piece look more authentic?

I wondered why there was a mark which appeared tro be the Amsterdam mark with only two crosses, but I see from a passage in the link

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=28590#p71003

that “Both; Hooijkaas & Preijer used variants of the same pseudo marks...an old ship or pseudo maker's mark, pseudo city mark for Amsterdam, H pseudo date letter.” Where there is an “H” in this description, my knife has a “C” but no makers initials. Is there any way of identifying the maker from the marks on this knife?

I think all is becoming clearer. Thank you.

Paul.

oel
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Posts: 3678
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:16 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: So many marks!

Postby oel » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:36 am

Yes, decorative marks, your C is a fantasy/pseudo year-letter and like the "wrong" fantasy Amsterdam town mark were used by various silversmiths in the Schoonhoven area. The maker's mark may have been over-struck by a pseudo/fantasy mark after assay. Pseudo marks were used in Schoonhoven by: Herbert Hooijkaas, Pieter Greup & Zn, Jacob Kooiman, Jacob Pieter Niekerk and Gerrit van der Dussen.

Peter

paulh
contributor
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: So many marks!

Postby paulh » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:30 am

Thank you Peter. That is very enlightening. It is always good to know that there are specialists around who know things that I don't know!

Paul.


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