There has been a great deal of feedback for this issue, on subject of the inclusion of the postal auction in The Finial; I have received many letters, notes and phone calls concerning this matter, so thank you, too all those that did. Below are samples of these, which I feel now justifies the inclusion of the postal auction. I would just like to finally add that even though The Finial has changed a little bit, it is very much in the style that Terry and Mary Haines developed over the years and to just remind everyone that this unique publication would not be here today, if it had not been for Terry's conception for The Silver Spoon Club of Great Britain -Ed.

  • In response to your editorial on including the Postal Auctions in the Finial - I'm all for it! After all, we include other auction sales in The Finial, so why not our own? As a relative newcomer to spoon collecting, I find it very informative in terms of naming styles, identifying makers and as a price guide. It's much easier to file and refer to if it is in one volume - especially when, as you point out, there is feed back and discussion on the various items in the auction. I have particularly enjoyed the editions of The Finial over the last year and welcome the expanding space for member's discussion/feedback and requests for help. You're doing a great job!

  • As a member of The Finial since its inception in 1990, I fully support the inclusion of the auction within the magazine. I consider the auction an integral part of The Finial and given your explanation re printing economics have no difficulty with the present format. Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks for the Oct/Nov issue. Once again, lots of interesting reading. If it helps to receive comment about the auction, may I say that I have no problems with it being included in the pages of The Finial rather than printed separately. I don't see that it sits any more uneasily with the more academic contributions than the regular sale reports which many find useful even if they are a bit wasted on others who regularly receive the catalogues and attend the sales. I agree that the well-researched and more academic contributions make The Finial what it is for us collectors but I also enjoy the variety of content. I guess that ultimately we have to leave it to the editor to decide on the most practicable and economic method of publication.

  • As a 'greenhorn' spoon collector and new member of the Club, I totally support all your arguments about the retention of the Postal Auction as part of The Finial. I have studied the photos, particularly the Hallmarks, for hours. A magazine entirely devoted to the 'academic message' would be pretty turgid affair.

  • Still excellent - Look forward very much to The Finial every other month.

  • Good production but a number of the auction lots look as if they should be 'weeded'. (The Finial has many different levels of collectors with varying degrees of tolerance and also vendors are learning that poor items do not sell, unless it is for the mark of course. This month's auction is looking pretty good with a wide variety of quality pieces - Ed).

  • I must congratulate you on the great improvements you are making with the presentation & content of The Finial.

  • We like the new format 'Finial' very good. We look forward to each issue.

  • Your magazine is excellent - very professional - very happy with the situation.

  • I applaud the improved quality and article presentation of The Finial. Your effort to obtain complimentary tickets to fair events is much appreciated.

  • Very impressed with the presentation and of course the contents.

  • I think the reproductions of the photographs good. I have not found the articles etc. quite as interesting of late. (How about sending one in, all are welcome-Ed).

  • I am only a small collector, but I do enjoy The Finial. It is very well produced.

  • Many improvements for overall presentation. Hope you find it satisfying. (I truly do -Ed.)

  • Many thanks for your continuing efforts & the improved format.

  • Delighted with the continued format and increasing quality of images.


    Mark Nevard responds: From The Finial, Aug/Sep'03.
    On page 19 John Anderson asks about an odd dessert spoon. If he looks carefully he will see a repair on the stem between the two part sets of marks and running through the partial mark next to the maker's mark. The story is that this was a Hanoverian spoon which broke at the leopard's head mark, all bottom markings creating a point of weakness in the stem which can lead to fracture.

    On repair either inadvertently or deliberately, the handle was turned to make the fashionable Old English pattern, suggesting that the repair was probably affected around 1780-1800. The leopard's head mark is lost in the repair, only the point of the escutcheon remaining, and the spoon is in consequence up to a quarter inch shorter than it started.

    Many Hanoverian spoons were reshaped ('turned') to the Old Eenglish pattern. They can be readily identified in most cases by a loss of the rattail ridge along the stem, both upper and lower surfaces being flat (and very unappealing in my view). The join between stem and bowl looks fine to me, a double drop that would be the expected form in the 1730's. More interesting is the very crude, almost cabalistic, marking subsequent to the SK over ML engraving.

    In defence of Bill Gillham regarding restoration, I think we all agreed on the undesirability of disturbing patina. But having myself restored amongst other things two teaspoons from a twentieth century canteen, that had been eaten by a sink disposal unit, to the delight of an owner who could not believe anything could be done with the mangled remains. I am sure restoration is an honourable activity in suitable cases.

    Regarding Robert Hamilton enquiry, page 20, on experience dealing with insurance claims for silver. My only experience was acting for my mother-in-law when her house was burgled. No exceptional items, mainly Georgian/Victorian flatware and table silver. I made a very honest objective assessment of replacement costs based on the auction/trade prices. When she submitted these all the figures were agreed but the insurer then deducted 10% without explanation. When I challenged this, I was told that there was no dispute on the values, but that a 10% deduction was standard practice. My advice would be to have everything professionally valued before the incident and have the same valuer represent your interests. If it is too late for that, claim high and make their loss adjuster work. I have to say that my opinion of all insurers is so low that I avoid the problem by having no insurance (no, not even in the house) unless I am legally or contractually required to, i.e. car and travel, so perhaps I am not the right person to ask.

    Mark Nevard also responds: From The Finial, Oct/Nov'03. Tony Dove's response to David Whitbread, page 18 has me confused. He says that London spoons never had three cusps. This appears to conflict with his article of 1984 in 'Antique Collecting', reproduced in the Pickford's 'Jackson' where type 2 in his sketch of the variations to the duty mark clearly shows three cusps and appears to refer to London for 1797. I would much appreciate his clarification. Having said that, I do not doubt that David's three spoons are Exeter.

    I have identified the maker of lot 107, the trefid. Not an easy one but no doubt once found. It is Francis Archbold (Grimwade 82) and with close examination you can see the first stroke of the 'A' to support the case established by the cartouche.

    I trust that Tony Dove spotted Lot 1376 in Woolley and Wallis's sale of 23/24 October. It was a folding parasol from Weeks's R. Museum with a telescopic handle like that on his toasting fork and numbered 1013. Perhaps the number is a production number for these tubular handles. There could well be a connection with the 'four draw telescopic' handled parasol of very similar appearance ascribed to George Giles, 1802 illustrated on p.148 of the late Eric Delieb's 'Investing in Silver' where he waxed eloquently on the quality of the craftsmanship. The Woolley and Wallis offering was also 1802, ascribed to probably George Collins (See page 21 - Ed).

    The mark on these spoons is for Francis Parsons and Joseph Goss of Exeter. The line of evidence can be traced from Grimwade, where 'FP' over 'DG' is firmly attributed to Exeter, with the letter 'D' queried, by Tim Kent. Tim identifies the partnership as being with a member of the Goss family, and reference to the Exeter Museum booklet list of Exeter silversmiths yields Joseph at the right date. Q.E.D.


    Henry Willis replies to John Anderson's 'Odd Dessert Spoon', from The Finial Aug/Sept'03. I would suggest that this started life as a normal Hanoverian dessert spoon, London 1731, fully marked which has broken across the leopard's head and re-attached upside down causing the marks above the leopard's head to appear on the front of the re-attached stem. The drop looks from the photograph to be original.


    Ted Daw notes on Lot 60, the 7th November postal auction: It is 'RG' with the double leafed thistle for R. Gordon II of Madras, 1802-1818 and is illustrated in Wynyard Wilkinson's book Indian Colonial Silver, page 74.

    Richard Turner emailed: I expect others have pointed out that Lot 60 is 'RG' and Robert Gorgon II of Madras, see Wilkinson, p.74.

    David Whitbread emails: as someone responsible for some of the less academic contributions, I should add that I am grateful to Tony Dove and David McKinley for their helpful feedback about the marks on my Exeter spoons. I have an uneasy feeling I should have remembered these points from earlier contributions of theirs and apologise if I have proved to be a forgetful student!


    Paul Dudley asks: I was reading the Dec/Jan Finial 02/03 and saw the photos and article on pages 12 & 13 regarding a spoon with 'PH, Sta' marks. I have a rattail tablespoon with the same 'PH' mark stamped twice, but no 'Sta' mark, see figure 1. Like the one in the article mine has a short rat tail, it is an ex Martin Gubbins and he thought it could be Scottish, the chances are they are British/Irish as to have 2 colonial turning up would be rare. I am wondering if they are Hopwood of Preston.

    Fig. 1

    I bid on the One at Woolley & Wallis's recent sale but was unsuccessful, it would be interesting to compare that mark, did a member acquire it?


    John Jervis has found another couple of spoons, that he is asking for help to identify their hallmarks: Figure 1 has come from a Fiddle pattern tablespoon, 21cm in length and weighs 55g; Figure 2 is from a Fiddle without shoulders (Oar End) table spoon, 22.1cm long and 48g.

  • Fig. 1Fig. 2


    Ted Daw writes: Gerald Benn on page 16 of the last Finial wished to promote debate/discussion of the 'thistle; b; thistle' arrangement on Banff spoons.

    Fig. 1Fig. 2

    John Argo is the only identified maker (Fig. 1) with marks I.A; thistle; b; thistle. However, there is another unknown maker with a similar arrangement to 'HS incuse', referred to by Gerald (and the previous correspondent). Figure 2 shows this maker 'WA; thistle; b; thistle'.

    Fig. 3Fig. 4

    There is no evidence on my spoon (Fig. 3) that erasure of a previous maker has occurred under 'HS' incuse. Nor so on another spoon (Fig. 4) but just to encourage debate - could this be 'EL conjoined' and not an 'H'?

    Alexis Butcher of Woolley & Wallis has just announced that they are delighted to be selling in their next sale on 28th January 2004, the silver reference library of well-known dealer and Silver Spoon Club member, Brand Inglis Esq., which is an extremely comprehensive library built up of over 50 years and including quite a number of spoon related volumes and catalogues among the listings - not to mention a complete run of 'The Finial' from issue No.1. In addition the sale will include the usual smattering of early spoons & flatware and caddy spoons etc.

    Woolley & Wallis are also delighted to be offering the caddy spoon collection of the late John Norie in the April 2004 sale. (More details in the next Finial -Ed).


    3rd Silver Spoon Club Members' Meeting

    The following are the details of the arrangements made for the 3rd SSC meeting.

    Date of meeting: - Saturday 24th April 2004 (meet from 09.30a.m.)

    Venue: Hilton Hotel Conference Rooms, Swindon, Wiltshire.

    Cost: 26.00 per person (includes the meeting room, teas/coffees, a buffet lunch and VAT) to be paid in advance to Daniel please. (Please make cheques payable to Silver Spoon Club - Ed.)

    Members may bring a guest but overall numbers are limited by the size of the room. (If we are over subscribed preference will be given to those who sent in the enquiry form last year).

    The price given is dependent on a minimum number of 20 delegates. I therefore need to confirm the specific numbers of people attending the meeting and inform the hotel management so, please complete the form below and return it by 31st January to Daniel together with your cheque for the appropriate amount.

    I will prepare a meeting agenda based on the contributions volunteered so far but if any member has a specific request for any topic to be included, please do not hesitate to let me know via Daniel. Details, directions, map & agenda will be sent to those attending.

    A Happy New Year to you all,
    Chris Bell.


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    The Finial, December/January/February 2003/04

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