Silver or 18ct White Gold? - Reply

By Anthony Dove F. R. S. A.

The first illustration here takes last month's question a stage further. From another set of ten teaspoons incorrectly punched with an 18 carat gold stub, three had already been struck with the Queen's head duty to the right of the marks - evidently before the error had been spotted. This resulted in the two heads that were pointed out to me as an unexplained curiosity. To my knowledge there are at least three other sets of Glasgow spoons so marked. It would be interesting to know if any have survived with the '18' still visible (perhaps heavily gilded and sold as rare gold teaspoons!)

As an interesting point of assay, the marks as they stand are still quite correct for silver, albeit in the wrong order. As will be seen from a correctly hallmarked silver spoon, figure 2, the positions of the lion rampant and city arms are, in fact, reversed. This was one of the small differences deliberately introduced by assay offices to try to prevent forgery in both gold and silver.

It should also be noted that, as mentioned in last month's Finial (page 4), the same bun head of Queen Victoria (engraved in 1840) can be seen in this spoon of 1886/7 as this duty head was used until its abolition in 1890.

I would like to thank Simon Moore for figure 1 and Michael Golding for figure 2.

(There now seems to be at least 5 sets of Glasgow hallmarked teaspoons of differing years that have had the 18ct mark over struck with the duty mark, surely this is now more than coincidence and error of the Assay Office - however I cannot think of a reason why - ANY IDEAS - Ed.)


A plea for information, whereabouts or ownership of any "William Darby PATENT" spoons is still being sort by Derek Fry. Especially the two that were sold from the Martin Gubbins Collection and the two that were sold in The Finial postal auctions. He would very much like to collate a list of known examples. Please contact The Finial if you able to help.


The Finial, February/March 2003

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