Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter #95 - July 2019

Antique Silver Caddy Spoons From the English Provincial  Assay Offices, Scotland and Ireland

The first silver hallmarking was confined to Goldsmiths’ Hall in London but in time other assay offices were opened. Today there are still offices in Edinburgh, where hallmarking has been regulated since the 15th century, and in Birmingham and Sheffield, where assay offices were established by an Act of Parliament in 1773. Dublin’s assay office has been operating since the middle of the 17th century and silver is still marked there.

Since hallmarking began, the leopard’s head has been used in various forms to denote the London Assay Office. The Edinburgh mark is a three-turreted castle (to which a thistle was added from 1759 until 1975 when a lion rampant replaced the thistle); the mark for Sheffield was a crown until 1974 when it was replaced by a rosette, while the symbol for silver made in Birmingham is an anchor.

Dublin silver is struck with a crowned harp, to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in 1731.

Collectors will often place a premium on silver hallmarked in the other regional centres which have since closed. Below is a list of marks applied by the provincial silver assay offices which have now ceased operating:

Chester - closed in 1962 - Mark: three wheat sheaves and a sword

Exeter - closed in 1883 -Mark a three-turreted castle

Glasgow - closed in 1964 - Mark: combined tree, bird, bell and fish

Newcastle upon Tyne - closed in 1884 - Mark: three separated turrets

York - closed in 1856 -Mark: five lions passant on a cross

The collection of Caddy Spoons illustrated above, with details below,  represent examples from all eight assay offices.
Featured Items - "Piggy" Vesta Cases


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Victorian Silver Castle-Top Vinaigrette - Norwich Cathedral Pair Victorian Novelty Scottish Silver & Enamel Dice Peppers Edwardian Novelty Silver Goat Pulling a Cart Pin Cushion Cased Pair Edwardian Silver Woodcock Menu Holders
Victorian Silver & Enamel Vesta Case - Cross Country Runner Rare Georgian Scottish Silver Helter Skelter Club Badge Victorian Novelty Silver Cow Vesta Case Set 5 George III Silver Wine Labels Hock, Mountain, Madeira, Lisbon & Mosell

Once again I am pleased to be able to update the site this month with over 30 new items of stock and some highlights include; a rare Victorian Silver Castle-Top Vinaigrette depicting Norwich Cathedral, a good pair of Victorian Novelty Scottish Silver & Enamel Dice Peppers, a rare Edwardian Novelty Silver Goat Pulling a Cart Pin Cushion, a cased pair of Edwardian Silver Woodcock Menu Holders, a rare Victorian Silver & Enamel Vesta Case depicting a Cross Country Runner, a rare Georgian Scottish Silver Helter Skelter Club Badge, a Victorian Novelty Silver Cow Vesta Case and a fine set of five George III Silver Kidney shape Wine Labels for Hock, Mountain, Madeira, Lisbon & Mosell.


I do hope that you will find this Newsletter informative and helpful and will allow us send it to you on a regular basis. I would welcome any feedback you may have, both positive and negative.

David W.A. Buck.
Steppes Hill Farm Antiques


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