Silver and Flatware/Identifying Hallmarks on Pitchers
QUESTION: Hi Mitch,
I have a pair of what I think may be silver plated and glass Antique Wine Pitchers. The only hallmarks I found on the metal were: on the lid's hinge, it looks like "Y" and below that "7" and "8"; on the inside of the handle, "Y"; lastly, the letter "C" upside down on each side of the pitchers. I purchased these in Pennsylvania. I've looked all over the Web but can't find any info on the hallmarks or if they're U.S. made or European. Can you possibly help me identify the hallmarks; Country of Origin; or if they are antique or modern? I have more images but can only attach 2 here. Thank you for any assistance you can give me.
ANSWER: Hi Cynthia and thanks for the interest in your silver. The "Y" is probably the makers mark and without any content indicators it's tough to authenticate. I found no reference in the texts and web references I used.
Most colonial and all continental items have some kind of content marks, but none of these fit that. The numbers are probably part marks for parity as most hand made items were individually made to fit specific mates.
If you could shoot a picture of the whole item, I might be able to direct you to some areas where discrete marks might be hidden.
Enjoy your silver,
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QUESTION: Thank you for the quick reply! Your the first expert whose ever gotten back that quick to me! Fantastic. Yes, me too, stumped on these. Please find attached a photo of the pitchers (they're both identical). Thank you so much for your help.
ANSWER: Hey Again Cynthia; These appear to be German, Hungarian or Austrian as the materials, workmanship and "spiral" glass would support that. I would date them at about 1880 - 1920 a big window, but not many changes would have been made around then. The pattern is classic, but the markings suggest that dating.
Look closely in the pattern for the numbers 800 or 835. Check the ribs, the bottom of the flair of the pouring lip and the "waffle" scroll work. That's where these marks usually are.
I conduct silver restoration and repair events in certain parts of your state (La Jolla, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Redding) and might be at a venue near you. If so I could give it the once over as a courtesy of the hosting store.
I hope these tips lead to finding some more marks.
Enjoy, Mitch Paul
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QUESTION: Wow, Mitch! This is great! Thank you for assisting me in the country of origin in these lovely water/wine pitchers. To think they're that old and still look stunning! All of the information you've given me has sparked my interest to research further.
These still have some tarnish in the parts you've recommended for me to look for the "800"/"835", don't see it so far. May have to take a magnifying glass to them.
I appreciate the offer to give them a once over but I am no where close to any of those venues. I live in Ventura, CA. If you ever have a venue in Santa Barbara, California, I could make it there.
Thank you for all the tips, you're the best!
I may be at Van Gundy's in Cammarillo in July or next Feb. Mostly I conduct restoration/repair events in better table top, gift and bridal registry stores. If you can suggest any one in Santa Barbara who might host our service it could be convenient.
Another tip is, if you see something that looks like a variation in the pattern, it might be a marking hidden by tarnish. You can use a pencil eraser to enhance that, but use it sparingly as a scuff mark could result.