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Silver Spoons from the Cyprus Treasure

Silver Spoons from the Cyprus Treasure


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Traprain Law treasure

Buried around the middle of the 5th century AD, this hoard of Roman silver from Traprain Law in East Lothian is the largest known from outside the Roman Empire.

1919 at Traprain Law, near Haddington, East Lothian

Number of pieces

Museum reference

Early People, Level -1, National Museum of Scotlan d

Did you know?

The Traprain Law Treasure is the largest hacked-silver hoard found outside the Roman Empire.


How to Identify Antique Silver Flatware

Silver flatware refers to silver forks and spoons of all sizes, including tablespoons, dessert spoons, table forks, dessert forks, sauce ladles, soup ladles, basting spoons and teaspoons. The common term "cutlery" officially refers to knives -- not spoons and forks. Look for several main details to identify an antique silver flatware object. Antique generally refers to items that are over 100 years old.

Things You'll Need:

Pick up the item and search for a mark or small engraved picture. It should be on the reverse of the stem. On 18th Century flatware it is often marked nearer the bowl of the spoon or curve of the fork. This is known as the "hallmark."

Look at the mark closely using a magnifying glass or a jeweler's loupe.

Check for the mark of a lion looking to the left. This is the mark of English silver and the hallmark is known as the Lion Passant. Search for a date letter, which is a letter in a shield-shape that indicates the age of the piece. Refer to an antique silver flatware guide to find out which date the letter represents.

Consult the 925-1000.com website or a guide to American silver flatware. Compare your item's hallmark with the marks listed. Tiffany hallmarks, for example, differ according to the era. The stem pattern may also vary.

Note the decoration and the tip of the spoon bowl or fork tines. If they are rubbed or worn, this is often an indication that the item is an antique.

Search for a monogram or family crest. It was common practice in English Georgian and Victorian eras to engrave flatware with these identifying logos.

Look at the pattern on the top of the item's stem. If it's in an art deco or modernist style with angular geometric lines, the flatware is probably not antique.


Contents

The Atocha was built for the Spanish Crown in Havana in 1620. She was rated at 550 tons, with an overall length of 112 feet, a beam of 34 feet, and a draft of 14 feet. She carried a square-rigged fore and mainmast and a lateen-rigged mizzenmast. Although there are no existing records, she likely had a high sterncastle, low waist, and high forecastle as was typical for an early 17th century Spanish galeón.

Nuestra Señora de Atocha had been delayed in Veracruz before she could rendezvous in Havana with the vessels of the Tierra Firme (Mainland) Fleet. The treasure, which arrived by mule in Panama City, was so immense that it took two months to record and load it onto the Atocha. [1] After still more delays in Havana, what was ultimately a 28-ship convoy did not manage to depart for Spain until 4 September 1622, six weeks late. Each ship in the convoy carried crew, soldiers, passengers, provisions, and treasures from all over South America. [2] The Atocha alone carried cargo whose estimates range between $250 and $500 million, including silver from Peru and Mexico, gold and emeralds from Colombia, and pearls from Venezuela, as well as more common goods including worked silverware, tobacco, and bronze cannons. [3] [4] [5]

In the second day of its voyage from Havana, the convoy was overtaken by a hurricane in the Florida Straits. By the morning of 6 September, eight of the ships had sunk and their remains lay scattered from Marquesas Key to the Dry Tortugas. [6] The Nuestra Señora de Atocha had lost all of her 265 crew and passengers except for three sailors and two slaves, who survived by clinging to the mizzenmast. Among the sailors killed in the disaster was Bartolomé García de Nodal, explorer of the Straits of Magellan surrounding Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. All of her treasure sank with the ship, approximately 30 leagues (140 km) from Havana.

After the surviving ships brought the news of the disaster back to Havana, Spanish authorities dispatched another five ships to salvage Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita, which had run aground nearby. Nuestra Señora de Atocha had sunk in approximately 17 metres (56 ft) of water, making it difficult for divers to retrieve any of the cargo or guns from the ship. A second hurricane on 5 October of that year made attempts at salvage even more difficult by scattering the wreckage of the sunken ship still further.

The Spaniards undertook salvage operations for several years with the use of Indian slaves, and recovered nearly half of the registered part of its cargo from the holds of Santa Margarita. The principal method used for the recovery of this cargo was a large brass diving bell with a glass window on one side: a slave would ride to the bottom, recover an item, and return to the surface by being hauled up by the men on deck. It was often lethal, but more or less effective. Dead slaves were recorded as a business expense by the captains of salvage ships. [7]

The loss of the 1622 fleet was a severe blow to Spanish commercial interests, forcing the crown to borrow more to finance its role in the ongoing Thirty Years' War and to sell several galleons to raise funds. The Spanish worked diligently and were able to salvage most of the Santa Margarita over the next ten years. However, in 60 years of searching, the Spanish never located the Atocha. [8]

Beginning in 1969, American treasure hunters Mel Fisher, Finley Ricard and a team of sub-contractors, funded by investors and others in a joint venture, Treasure Salvors, Inc., searched the sea bed for Nuestra Señora de Atocha for sixteen and a half years. In 1970, Fisher had recovered portions of the wrecked cargo of the sister ship Santa Margarita. He also proposed the idea to several other potential helpers, who were discouraged by the fact that this dangerous professional diving job would be paid at minimum wage unless the ship could be found. Silver bars apparently from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha were found in 1973, with cannon inscribed such to verify the wreck of Atocha were found by Fisher's son, Dirk, in 1975. Subsequently, a substantial part of its remaining cargo of silver, gold and emeralds was discovered. It was Fisher's son, Kane, who radioed the news to Treasure Salvors headquarters on the Florida coast, from the salvage boat Dauntless. [9]

The salvaged coins, both gold and silver, were minted primarily between 1598 and 1621, although numerous earlier dates were represented as well, some of the dates extending well back into the 16th century. Many of the dates and types of the period had been either rare or unknown prior to the salvage of the wreck. It is understood by experts that the sterncastle, the part of the ship that would hold most of the gold and rare Muzo emeralds, is still missing from the shipwreck. These and other valuable items would have been stored in the captain's cabin for safekeeping in the rear part of Nuestra Señora de Atocha.

After the discovery, the State of Florida claimed title to the wreck and forced Treasure Salvors, Inc. into a contract giving 25% of the found treasure to the state. Treasure Salvors fought the state, claiming the find should be its exclusively. After eight years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favour of Treasure Salvors on 1 July 1982, and it was awarded rights to all found treasure from the vessel. [10] [11] Fisher died on 19 December 1998.

In June 2011, divers from Mel Fisher's Treasure Salvors found an antique emerald ring believed to be from the wreck. It is said that the ring is worth an estimated $500,000. The ring was found 56 kilometres (35 mi) from Key West, along with two silver spoons and other artifacts. [12] [13] In 2014, Nuestra Señora de Atocha was added to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most valuable shipwreck to be recovered, as it was carrying roughly 40 tonnes of gold and silver, and 32 kilograms (71 lb) of emeralds. [14]


The hoard was discovered during road works in the Longmarket area of the city in 1962. Declared treasure trove, it was bought by the city council to be displayed at the Roman Museum which had been established the year before. However five objects appeared on the London antiquities market in 1982 that were originally part of the treasure but had not been declared at the time of its discovery. They were again declared as treasure trove and purchased a year later. The Canterbury Treasure was probably buried in the early 5th century AD, when the Romans were withdrawing their garrisons from Britain. The owner of the treasure, who may have been a silversmith, buried it for safe-keeping, only to never reclaim it. [1] [3]

The treasure is mostly composed of small silver objects and jewellery. Many of the artefacts have Christian iconography on them. The silver objects include two spoons with swan-shaped handles, ten spoons (one engraved with a sea stag, another with the words in Latin 'viribonum'-'I belong to a good man'), a toothpick, a rough bar and three ingots which each weigh one Roman pound. The jewellery include a gold finger ring with an inset green glass stone, a gold necklace clasp and a silver pin. One of the coins in the treasure was minted at Milan in the time of Emperor Honorius which means the hoard must have been buried sometime after 402 AD.


Cutlery Sets

It was another century before the large flatware services we know today began to appear on sophisticated tables. In fact, the first fine flatware sets were personal items, owned and carried by their owners when dining out. The earliest sets date to the 14th century and were comprised of a fork, used for serving, with a matched set of knives for eating with the fingers. By the 17th century, these ornate sets were very popular and consisted of a fork, knife and spoon, and soon they were made to be folded to protect the blade and tines when traveling. These products were termed cutlery sets, from the Old French word “coutel,” meaning “knife.”

Looking to add a one-of-a-kind piece of silver flatware to your collection? Shop our antique silver now.


7 of the Biggest Treasure Troves Ever Found

Buried treasure is one of those things that sounds like it only exists in stories. But throughout history, valuable objects—coins, jewelry, crowns—have often been either deliberately buried or just lost to the ages. Here are seven of the most valuable and extensive treasure troves ever brought to light.

1. THE CUERDALE HOARD

Found: 1840
Value: Approximately $3.2 million

While repairing the embankment of the River Ribble in Cuerdale, near Preston in England, a group of workmen dug up a lead box. Inside was one of the biggest hoards of Viking treasure ever found—more than 8600 items were documented, including silver coins, various bits of jewelry, and silver ingots.

Although the majority of the items originated in English Viking kingdoms, some of the treasure was also traced back to other regions, including Scandinavia, Italy, and Byzantium.

The treasure was presented to Queen Victoria, and some of it is now on display in the British Museum (as seen above). The workmen who found it, meanwhile, managed to grab a coin each.

2. THE HOXNE HOARD

Found: 1992
Value: Approximately $3.8 million

Having lost his hammer in a field, farmer Peter Whatling called a friend with a metal detector to help him find it. Instead, he found treasure. Inside the oak chest was a collection of silver spoons, gold jewelry, and coins, all dating back to the 4th or 5th century CE. Whatling called in help, and archaeologists managed to find all sorts of other treasures buried in the same field, including Roman ladles and serving bowls.

The hoard was bought by the British Museum, though it was so valuable the museum had to call in funds from donors like the National Art Collections fund to afford it. As for the errant hammer? That’s now in the British Museum, too.

3. THE STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD

Found: 2009
Value: Approximately $4.1 million

Terry Herbert was using his metal detector on a recently plowed field near Hammerwich in Staffordshire, when he stumbled across the largest trove of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found. All told, the hoard included over 3500 items, most of which were military-related.

As well as weaponry, though, the hoard included several religious artifacts, and lots of decorative items. It’s tough to be exact, but the hoard is thought to date back to the 8th century, and has influenced the way historians think about that period in English history. Enough to make you rush out to buy a metal detector, isn’t it?

4. THE ŚRODA TREASURE

Found: 1985–1988
Value: Approximately $120 million

Back in 1985, an old building in the Polish town of Środa Śląska was being demolished ahead of renovation works when a vase was found beneath the foundation. Inside were more than 3000 silver coins, dating back to the 14th century.

A couple of years later, when another building nearby was knocked down, even more artifacts were uncovered, including lots more gold and silver coins and an array of jewelry, including a gold crown and a ring bearing the head of a dragon.

Although there’s clearly a lot of treasure there, experts have struggled to put an exact value on it, because nothing else quite like it really exists.

5. THE CAESAREA SUNKEN TREASURE

Found: 2015
Value: Priceless

Scuba divers exploring the seabed near the harbor of Caesarea National Park, Israel, thought they’d stumbled across a child’s toy when they found the first gold coin. But when they saw how many coins there were, and looked more closely at the engravings on them, they realized they’d found something pretty significant.

They reported their find to the Israel Antiquities Authority, and returned with metal detectors to search the area more thoroughly. In the end, nearly 2000 coins were recovered—the coins were of several different denominations, and had been minted at different times, sometime between the 10th and 12th centuries. (You can see a closer view of the coins in the top image.)

And so far, no one’s attached an exact value on the find, except to say that it’s so valuable, it’s essentially priceless.

6. THE PANAGYURISHTE TREASURE

Found: 1949
Value: Priceless

Brothers Pavel, Petko, and Michail Deikov were digging for clay at a tile factory near Panagyurishte, Bulgaria, when one of them stumbled across what he thought was a strange whistle. Further digging uncovered more objects, and when the brothers took their finds to the mayor’s office, they found that they were made of gold—and there were a lot more where they came from.

Actually, rather than being a whistle, the first thing they’d found turned out to be a ceremonial drinking horn, dating from the 4th century BCE. There were also golden decanters, a kind of dish, and a vase, all of which were thought to have been used in religious rites. All in all, they found more than 13 pounds of solid gold carved into elaborate shapes and intricately decorated.

7. THE BACTRIAN GOLD

Found: 1978
Value: Priceless

The treasure found at Tillya Tepe, which has become known as the Bactrian gold, was recovered from six burial mounds. More than 20,000 gold ornaments were retrieved.

The treasure was dated between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE, and came from the burial sites of a nomadic prince and five women (possibly his wives). What’s particularly interesting about this hoard is that the treasures are so diverse, with objects from China, India, and Greece all mixed together. The jewelry is elaborate, set with precious stones of all colors.

Since the treasure was uncovered in the late '70s, it’s changed hands a number of times, especially when Afghanistan was invaded and the national museum, where the collection was kept, was looted in the Afghan-Russian war a few years later. It has since been recovered and is displayed at museums all around the world.


Confusing Marks on Sterling Silver and Silver Plate

Marks on precious metals have been regulated by law since ancient times. From pharaohs, Roman emperors and continuing today, fineness, or standard marks, have been used to guarantee minimum amounts of precious metal in relation to non-precious metal.

At least that's the theory. But while most governments strictly monitor standard marks, very few regulate marks not related to the content of precious metals. It is perfectly legal, for example, to stamp silver with trademarks or brand names of companies no longer in business or whose trademark is no longer registered. A new piece marked Unger Bros.&ndash a 19th century firm known for quality silver &ndash and 925 is legal as long as the silver content tests at 925.

This presents obvious problems for those interested in antique and collectible silver and silver plate. This article will review some of the most common new and confusing marks appearing on 925/1000 silver and silver plate. Almost all the pieces we'll be discussing are made for the antique reproduction trade. The article will not include elaborate forgeries of museum quality silver made before 1850 or silver of other standards. We will focus on the marks found on reproductions of small decorative and novelty pieces such as match safes, sewing accessories, pill boxes, chatelaines, thimbles and similar wares.

American Silver Marks

In America, articles marked sterling must contain a minimum of 925 parts silver for every 1000 parts of material. Expressed another way, items must be 92.5 percent silver and no more than 7.5 percent base metal. This ratio is called the "sterling standard" and has been used in the US since the mid-1860s. The numeric 925 is the millesimal expression of the 925/1000 standard.

By far the vast majority of qualifying items made in the US ca. 1860 to 1970&ndashespecially items made before 1940&ndashare marked sterling or sterling silver. Many vintage marks, but far from all, include the name of the manufacturer. Very rarely are qualifying pieces of American silver from those years marked only 925. Rarer still, are American marks which include sterling and 925 together without a company name.

This doesn't mean all pieces marked sterling or sterling silver old. But it is a general rule that virtually all pieces marked 925 or sterling 925 are modern.

The globalization of commerce has prompted nations to use the same units of weight, measure and standards to increase trade. In 1973, the European Community (EC) agreed to recognize 925/1000 as the official sterling silver standard and 925 as the official standard mark. Since then, almost all silver of that quality sold among EC member countries has the 925 standard mark. New silver marked 925 is also acceptable in the US because that is also the US standard.

In fact the vast majority of mass produced silver reproductions today, whether made in Thailand, India, England, Europe or America, now include 925 in the mark. With the 925 standard mark, a piece of silver can virtually be sold world wide with the same mark.

The use of 925, however, does not preclude the use of sterling. Since 1999, more and more reproductions are including both 925 and sterling. A piece with both marks meets the requirements of both the EC and US, two huge markets.

English Hallmarks

A typical English hallmark ca. 1890-1999, generally has four symbols and may have five. These symbols may be placed in any order. They include:

1) symbol for the town in which the silver content was certified, called an assay or town mark

2) symbol for the year of manufacture called the date letter

3) symbol representing the silversmith or factory which made the object, called maker's mark or sponsors mark

4) symbol for the standard mark guaranteeing the silver content. The English silver standard is also 925/1000. It has been represented by the lion passant (looking ahead) since 1875.

5) optional profile of the current king or queen.

English Silver Hallmarks

Mid-19th century to ca. mid-1970s

Typical pre-1975 British hallmark. From left to right: maker's mark =symbol of silversmith or company assay mark=symbol of the city in which silver content was tested, leopard head shown is London standard mark=lion passant (looking forward) certified that silver content was 925/1000. A fifth mark, not shown, is a profile of the ruling king or queen.

1976&ndashpresent, Export or Sale in England

A typical hallmark on silver made in England for either export or sale in England. The control mark, a set of scales, was adopted in 1976. The scales mark certifies the acceptance of a 1976 treaty in which nations agreed to recognize each others hallmarks. Pieces with this mark can be exported from England to any country which has signed the same treaty. The standard mark can now be expressed numerically, or millesimally, as 925. The lion passant is no longer required but may be used in addition to the numeric mark. Pieces for sale in England, as well as for export, must also have an English assay mark.

1999&ndashpresent, Made and Sold in England Only

Beginning in 1999, neither date marks nor the lion passant were required on silver made and sold in England. Date marks are now optional the standard mark was replaced by 925. Pieces for export must include the 1976 convention hallmark, a scale.

International Convention Hallmark Since 1976

Typical hallmarks on silver which may be freely traded among all nations agreeing to or signing the 1976 convention, or treaty, regulating hallmarks. These marks are accepted in Europe, England and the United States.

To stay competitive with the EC nations, England has recently made several important changes to its hallmarking laws. The most significant change has been dropping the mandatory use of the passant lion as a standard mark. Beginning in 1999, England agreed the millesimal expression of the standard mark, 925, would be accepted. Mandatory use of the date letter was also dropped in 1999. Date letters are now optional in British hallmarks.

England has also agreed to accept standard marks on silver imported into England from any nation that signs a 1976 treaty, or convention, guaranteeing strict testing of silver content. These so-called convention hallmarks consist of a registered maker's mark and either two or three other marks: a control mark, a standard mark and, if the piece was made in England, an assay mark.

The control symbol used in convention hallmarks since 1976 is always a scale. The millesimal, or numeric expression of the standard, 925, must appear in the middle of the scale. Although the standard is expressed in the control mark, a separate stand-alone standard mark is still required. The separate standard mark may appear as 925 only or 925 enclosed in a simple shape such as an oval, square or circle.

If a piece was made in a foreign country for import into England, it would include a maker's mark, control mark and standard mark. But if a piece was made in England for sale at home it would require a fourth mark, a British assay mark.

These changes may sound confusing at first, but are of great benefit. It gives the collector and dealer who understands them, specific permanent marks to establish firm dates of production.

Fake and Forged Marks

Although you can catch many reproductions simply by understanding laws that regulate marks, that assumes the marks themselves are honestly applied. Forgeries attempting to copy genuinely old marks, are somewhat harder to detect. The difficulty in detecting such marks is generally related to the skill and knowledge of the forger.

The silver marks most widely forged marks are generally those which have the potential for the greatest increase in value. The Tiffany and Unger Bros. forgeries shown in this article are typical of two frequently targeted high-value names.

Figs. 1A - 1D Typical examples of new silver and silver plate reproductions with new, faked or confusing marks. Clockwise beginning at upper left corner: 1A - figural napkin ring, JM hallmark 1B - forged Tiffany hallmark 1C - figural teapot pill box, REO Sterling 1D - new matchsafe virtually identical to 19th century original by Wallace.

Fig. 2B Reproduction figural silver match safe, 2A, with traditional English hallmark which is now optional, above. Reading marks left to right: maker's mark, DAB standard mark, lion passant assay mark, London date stamp, 1993. DAB is the mark of contemporary English silversmith David Bowles. Any piece with this maker's mark cannot be earlier than the mid-1970s.

Fig. 3 Example of the international hallmark complying to rules established in convention of 1976. The scale mark indicates the country of origin has signed the 1976 convention. Marks reading left to right: CME, maker's mark, identity unknown scales, control mark standard mark, 925 unknown mark. Any item with this mark can be sold legally in England, Europe and US. Any piece with the scale control mark cannot be earlier than the mid- to late-1970s.

Fig. 4 The new owl silver matchsafe has the mark in Fig. 3.

Figs. 5-7 New silver whistle in Fig. 5, is marked with the two hallmarks shown in Figs. 6 & 7. The complete hallmark in Fig. 6 indicates the piece was made in England because it was assayed in London (leopard head assay mark). This qualifies the piece for sale in England. The scales control mark, in Fig. 7 also qualifies the piece for export to any of the nations that signed the 1976 convention. Pieces with the scale control mark cannot be earlier than mid- to late-1970s.

Common Warning Signs

The best way to catch these carefully prepared forgeries is a side-by-side comparison. Compare the mark of a suspected piece to genuine marks in reference books or known originals in your own collection. As a general rule, for example, marks on Tiffany silver include an order number and a pattern number. The forged Tiffany mark in Fig. 24 has neither an order number nor a pattern number.

You can also catch many forgeries by knowing how original marks were applied. Almost all marks on almost all antique and collectible silver and silver plate, were applied with stamps. Unique, individual or custom marks&ndashsuch as serial numbers, order numbers, artists marks, hallmarks, etc.&ndashwere generally made with hand-struck punches, each punch bearing a single letter, numeral or symbol.

Larger marks with several lines or large symbols, could be struck by hand or a machine press. Most marks on silver plate, regardless of the size of the mark, were mostly struck by machine presses because the base metal was heavier and stronger than solid silver. Complex marks, like the Tiffany example previously discussed, may include both standard company marks found on all pieces, as well as unique marks for individual pieces such as an order number, pattern number, date letter and others.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it was. It also involved a great deal of highly specialized equipment. Fortunately, most forgers don't have the time or the money to duplicate original vintage marks so they take shortcuts.

The most common shortcut is to cast, or mold, a mark rather than stamp marks. If you make a single mold with an old appearing mark, every piece made in the mold will carry that mark. That process saves both the time it would take to stamp a mark on each new piece as well as the expense of the stamps and other necessary equipment.

Some of the most common cast forgeries of old marks in the market today are found on figural napkin rings. Cast, or molded, marks almost always lack the detail found in stamped marks. Cast marks tend to be shallow with ragged or blurred edges and uneven in depth of impression. Original stamped marks are just the opposite: clean sharp edges with an almost perfectly uniform depth of impression. Several examples of new molded marks are shown next to the original stamped marks in Figs. 11-12 and Figs. 35-36.

At the current time, faked cast marks are more commonly found on new silver plate than silver. Pieces of silver with fake marks tend to be found on simply shaped objects easily cast as a single piece. These include thimbles, brooches, tussie-mussies, charms, needle cases and other similar pieces.

The biggest danger in detecting new molded marks is to stop your examination after you have matched a suspected mark to marks in a reference book. Molds made from originals produce copies with original appearing marks. You must examine how marks are made as well as how the mark reads. This is especially important if your original mark is a line drawing and not a photograph.

General Guidelines

As a practical matter, it is almost impossible to remember all the names, forms and variations of silver marks. General line dealers and casual collectors can probably avoid most mass produced silver fakes in today's market by following the guidelines on page 16. These short tips highlight the basic differences in how new and old marks are created and applied.

On this and following pages are examples of marks frequently seen on new silver. Most of these marks contain obvious features such as size, lack of detail, a convention mark, or the 925 standard mark, that will help you easily identify pieces as new.

Keep in mind genuine marks on 19th and early 20th century silver and silver plate vary considerably in appearance and new marks frequently change.

Fig. 8 - Any mark that is badly blurred or badly worn is suspicious. Many of these marks appear in areas where no logical normal wear would occur. Blurred marks can be a sign of a cast, not stamped, mark.

Fig. 9 - Any standard mark that includes 925 is suspicious. All 925 marks, whether standing alone or combined with other symbols as the above example, are very nearly a guarantee of a reproduction. The 925 standard mark was very rarely used in vintage American silver. It was not widely used until the European Community (EC) adopted it in the mid-1970s.

Fig. 10 - Any mark that is exceptionally small is suspicious. The 925 standard mark above is smaller than the diameter of the lead in the wooden pencil shown for comparison. Any mark under one-sixteenth of an inch is suspect.

Figs. 11 & 12 - Any cast or molded mark is suspicious. Virtually without exception, authentic marks on vintage silver and silver plate were stamped, not cast. Reproductions, particularly new silver plate, are generally cast in molds. Since new molds are usually made by copying originals, marks on originals are usually transferred to the new molds. Cast marks are almost always blurred with impressions of uneven depth. Stamped marks are generally much cleaner and sharper than cast marks.

Fig. 13 Any mark applied by soldering a tab, disc or other shape is suspicious. The oval tab marked 925 shown here is soldered on a new rattle. Some authentic Victorian-era silver-plated pieces do bear applied discs with the manufacturers name. However, even those discs should be examined very carefully. Many genuinely old marked discs have been removed from inexpensive common pieces and applied to more expensive pieces.

Figs. 14 & 15 New 1½-inch dia. silver locket, Art Nouveau lady's face in flower. Marked PAJ 925. PAJ is the mark of an unidentified maker/importer. Pieces with this mark were widely sold throughout the US beginning in the late 1980s-early 1990s. The presence of the 925 mark is a clue to this piece's recent manufacture.

Figs. 16-18 REO is a silver wholesaler located in the US. Their products are usually marked REO plus the copyright symbol, © and the word sterling (see Figs. 16, 18). About 50%-60% of the product line is based on reproductions of antique shapes such as sewing novelties, stamp boxes, pill boxes, chatelaines, and other shapes like the figural suitcase stamp box, Fig. 18. All very good quality. No vintage silver is marked REO. The modern copyright symbol, ©, is almost always a sign of modern production.

Figs. 19-21 This GJ-925-sterling mark (Fig. 20) was first reported in the spring of 2001. No old counterpart of the GJ mark is known. The mark was first found on a group of new silver match safes with sports themes. Several of the pieces were close copies of known original shapes. The golfer match safe shown here (Fig. 21) imitates an original by Gorham. Exact source thought to be Thailand, but that is not certain. Sterling and 925 virtually never appeared as separate words standing apart in vintage marks.

Fig. 22 Fake silver plate badge, US Indian Police. Marked Tiffany Studio New York on back. No old counterparts were ever made. This is a fantasy product. Same piece also available in brass (bronze). Wholesale price $5.

Fig. 23 Close up view of the mark on Indian badge above, Tiffany Studio New York.

Fig. 24 An ambitious forgery of a Tiffany mark. A well made mark, deeply and evenly stamped. A well researched mark which includes a date stamp in the bottom line, M. Fortunately the forger overlooked the order number and pattern number. See original mark below.

Fig. 25 Original Tiffany silver mark on which the forgery in Fig. 24 was based. The original includes both a pattern and order number missing in the fake. The pattern number appears on the left of the word Makers the order number appears to the right (see white arrows). Note that the individually stamped order and pattern numbers are not perfectly aligned, a typical sign of custom stamping.

Figs. 26-28 New silver brooch, above, appears with forged Unger Bros. mark in Fig. 27, right. An original Unger Bros. mark shown in Fig. 28 for comparison. The new Unger mark has a large dot in the bottom of the letter U. The fake is made from two pieces of silver. First, the lady's head was die-stamped, then a sheet of silver was soldered on the back.

Fig. 29 The Atocha was a Spanish treasure ship recovered in the 1980s. Most of the treasure was in the form of silver bars. Rather than sell the bars for little more than scrap, the silver was cast into the shapes of 17th century Spanish coins and made into jewelry. A 1994 advertisement promoting the Atocha jewelry is shown at right. All the coinlike objects shown in the advertisement were cast from silver ingots recovered from the ship. A fact only disclosed in very confusing language in extremely small print. With earring posts, hanging loops and other jewelry findings removed, Atocha pieces are sometimes offered as old Spanish coins, far right.

Fig. 30 Typical Atocha silver "coin" with confusing marks. These include 1) ATOCHA 2) date 1622 3) sterling quality or standard mark, 925. Atocha does not appear on any Spanish coins. The date 1622 is when the Atocha sank Atocha pieces were made after 1990.


Photos: Historic Clifton's Cafeteria through the Decades

When a piece of Los Angeles history disappears, it's often lost forever - preserved only in our collective memory and in the region's photographic archives. But in some rare cases, that history is only hidden, preserved by accident for later generations to rediscover.

Today, the façade of downtown's historic Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria saw the light of day for the first time since the early 1960s, as explained at KCET Food. For decades, the building's art deco façade stood quietly behind a wall of aluminum grates - removed last night and replaced with a temporary tarp, which Clifton's owner Andrew Meieran shucked from the building this morning at a special ceremony hosted by the Los Angeles Conservancy and city council member Jose Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway initiative.

The aluminum grates were an artifact of downtown L.A.'s mid-century decline. With an increasing number of shoppers migrating from downtown to suburban shopping malls or the commercial corridor of Wilshire Boulevard, Clifton's and other downtown businesses tried to stanch the flow of business by giving their buildings a more modern look. Clifton's metallic façade went up in 1963.

"They ended up keeping the original façade intact by accident and not by design," said KCET.org contributor Ed Fuentes, who was at this morning's unveiling. "Everything that's old is new again."

The Broadway cafeteria - closed temporarily since September as it undergoes renovations - is the last survivor among a chain of ten Clifton's restaurants.

Clifford Clinton opened the first Clifton's (a portmanteau of its founder's first and last names) in 1931 at 618 S. Olive Street. Amid a crowded field of downtown cafeterias, Clinton distinguished his with lavish decorations and a flexible pricing policy--an illuminated sign once suggested, "Pay What You Wish."

Clinton's original Olive Street location acquired tropical décor in the late 1930s and became known as Clifton's Pacific Seas. It was long a popular eatery among Angelenos and tourists alike before it closed in June 1960. It even earned a reference in Jack Kerouac's classic novel On the Road.

In 1935, Clinton purchased the cafeteria on Broadway that would become today's lone surviving Clifton's. He transformed the location, which first opened in 1913 as a Boos Brothers Cafeteria, into a sylvan wonderland inspired by the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Like the Pacific Seas cafeteria, Clifton's Brookdale became a Los Angeles institution, attracting diners with its food, prices and kitschy atmosphere.

Clinton, whose papers are archived at the Department of Special Collections at UCLA's Young Research Library, turned over control of the chain to his children in 1949. The Clinton family continued to run the business until 2010, when Meieran took over. (The family still owns the Broadway building itself.)


Masonic tools on the swamp bottom

This is how the year 2021 ends with more questions, fewer answers but with a first discovery of its kind on the island. A man-made road, hidden in dirt and water, beneath the swamp in the center of Oak Island. The discovery reinforces the hypothesis that a large-scale engineering project was carried out on the island, somewhere in the late Middle Ages on the eve of the Renaissance, but the purpose, as always, is not clear enough.

Oak island 2021 A small object a great discovery

But the smallest object seems to be the most significant for the season. For the first time we are exposed to a discovery that supports the hypothesis that the Masonic hand was involved in the mystery surrounding the island.

Gary Dreyton, an expert in metal discovery, found in the swamp a measuring instrument, probably an protractor, attributed to the Freemasons. We told you there was a good reason for producing Season 9 Curse of the Island.

Watch The Curse of Oak Island: GROUNDBREAKING STONE TOOLS UNCOVERED


1 One Of The Most Valuable Baseball Card Collections Were Lying In An Old Box In An Attic

In 2012, a man made an extraordinary discovery in the attic of his grandfather’s home. In the attic was a wooden box, with some of the most valuable contents inside hundreds of rare baseball cards. According to Fox News, the cards came from a rare series dated around 1910, and unlike other cards of this time, these were in exceptional condition.

Experts noted that this was a great find for sports card collecting, and the collection was estimated to be worth more than $3 million.


Watch the video: Silver Tip: Estate Sale Sterling Treasure Find! 17 oz Silver! Spoons Forks Silver Easterling (October 2022).

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