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I found this piece in with my late grandfathers belongings. It was just an indistinguishable black tarnished item when I found it. I cleaned it up & its's quite lovely. I don't know what it is, who made it or when it was made. I posted it on the Whadja Find group and got several ideas but no one knew exactly what it was. I was told it is a Victorian Cap Badge and a Belt Buckle. The markings on the back read "STERLING 271 (then a mark I cant figure out because it is so tiny.) then the number 25" I've looked at the tiny mark with a 7x magnifying glass and it's still a mystery to me. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Robin, Welcome to Antique and Collectible Silver! Your item is quite beautiful, and appears to be from the Baroque Period of the Victorian era. The "Mask" is what tells me this. Also, I found that Wallace Silver Co. (USA) Used the number #271 for it's "Grande Baroque" pattern. It's not identical to yours, but it might lead you to them as the maker.
Another thing you may want to do is use at least a 10X magnifier to look at the mark. If you have a jewelers Loop, or can borrow one, hold it close to your eye then move the piece back until it becomes clear. You really need to see what's there to determine exactly who made this. This link (below) takes you to many makers of Antique Silver, and can also be found at the top of the group page.
If you have to, find or borrow a Scientific Microscope, if you think you need more than 10x to see the markings.
It does look like a buckle of some kind, but I've not seen one as beautiful as this before!
Silver markings ID link: http://www.925-1000.com/index.html
See page 2 please ...