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I purchased this silver tray today. I am trying to figure out who made it, when, where... I am leaning towards Austria, maybe Vienna. It is engraved with a message which includes the date 1904. I've included a photo of the whole tray and a couple of the hallmarks. There are 5 marks. First mark? No clue although I did find a photo that included that mark or a very similar mark on something identified as Harrison Brothers, Sheffield. I don't think my tray is Harrison Brothers but it's a clue. The second mark - lion passant? Hopefully sterling? Third mark? It's pretty worn but I think possibly a double headed eagle, possibly with a crown above the heads. This is what made me think Austrian. Forth mark? A letter? G? and final mark? No clue... The marks are all pretty worn so hopefully my photos show enough detail. The tray is quite large and heavy. The leaf pattern around the edges and on the handles appears to be brass or maybe a gold wash finish??? I've been searching hallmarks for hours. I'm hoping one of you can point me in the right direction. Thanks!
Can't help much with makers marks, but research I am good at. Given there is sufficient information to identify the man in the inscription, a great deal of information can be dug up about him online, given his prominence.
12 August 1911 - The Argonaut (Newspaper)
The wedding of Miss Anita Meyer and Dr. Franklin Dray took place Thursday at the home on Pacific Avenue of the brides parents, Captain H. L. E. Meyer and Mrs. Meyer. Only relatives of the two families were present at the ceremony, which was followed by a dinner. Dr. Dray and Mrs. Dray will reside on Fillmore Street near Pacific Avenue.
28 December 1908
Was an honorary pallbearer for noted pioneer Claus Spreckels at the Rudolph Spreckels mausoleum in Cypress Lwn Cemetery.
24 June 1913
Captain H. L. E. Meyer, senior partner of the steamship firm of Meyer. Wilson & Co.. of San Francisco, with a branch office in Portland, who is over 70 years of age. died suddenly yesterday at his home In San Francisco. following a stroke of paralysis which he suffered some time ago. Captain Meyer was the head of his firm more than 40 years, and before that was master of sailing ships.
The inscription is a little unfamiliar to me.
May he live a thousand years and his shadow never grow less.
The last mark looks quite similar to the below image.
Edmond Johnson was a silversmith working in the late 19th century and early 20th century, based in the Grafton Street and Wicklow street areas. In 1879 he started restoration work on the Ardagh Chalice and was later given permission to make copies of it and other objects. The replicas were much sought after with Johnson’s own catalogue listing the Chicago (1893), Paris (1900) and Glasgow (1901) expositions among his clients.
He also made the Liam McCarthy Hurling Cup in 1921.
His maker’s mark was an EJ intertwined, as seen below.
My impression is that this is silver-plated, and not silver - mainly because of the handles and high spots of grape decoration. These are the high spots which would show the most wear, where the thin layer of silver electroplate wears off and the brass body shows through after decades of being cleaned. There would be no reason for a manufacturer to gild these areas. 1904 is long past the time that American manufacturers were marking silver with a Sterling mark. The collection of marks do not make sense, so probably qualify as "pseudo-marks", which were put on pieces to make them look fancy or exotic. Your marks suggest foreign manufacturer with similar symbols used in various different countries, but the mix of symbols put together don't make sense and make me believe pseudo-marks.
Also, the pattern of this tray, with applied raised decoration and light engraving in the tray bed, is typical of those manufactured in this time in silver-plate by American manufacturers. I don't think this is related to Edmund Johnson.
I couldn't find those marks as being used by any particular manufacturer, but with harder searching you may find a company that used them. By the way, I have a silver-plate tea set with pseudo-marks (three marks, not the same as yours but similar in some ways) and no other markings, and I never found a manufacturer. I believe mine to be American. You could post on 925-1000.com to try to confirm and see if anyone there might recognize the manufacturer.
I think you're probably right that it's plated. Bummer. Still very pretty and beefy so hopefully I'll do ok with it.
First Hallmark (HM) is a Celtic cross, 2nd is a lion passant, which is an old London HM.3rd HM is 2 headed eagle Russian HM. No idea what 4th and 5th are. This confusion of marks is indicative of fakery; not saying it is fake, but could be. The grape pattern appears to be machine made (stamped) which indicates manufactured in late 1800s to present.
I did acid test the tray and it is indeed only silver plated. A good thick plating and the tray is pretty impressive, weighing in at almost 11 pounds. I didn't want to damage it by filing into it so I tested it initially by just putting a drop of acid in a couple unobtrusive spots and got a strong red sterling positive reading but repeat tests in the same spots changed to a vivid aqua bluish result (on the third test) so I would assume the acid had made its way through the silver plating into the brass base metal below. I have since polished the whole tray and I must say it is quite beautiful. Interestingly the brass color on the raised grapes is much less brassy after being polished and looks just silver. I've run across tons of jewelry marked sterling or 925 and found it to be fake but this is my first item with the lion passant or at least a mark that appears to be the lion passant that is not sterling. Thank you to Michael for the information about the inscription. The original owner and information he found online all makes sense based on where I got the tray. Perhaps this tray was a retirement gift since he passed away only a few years later in his 70's.
Something interesting I found.
Very Pretty Tray! Most all trays like this are made of Silver plate, because silver is too soft to be sturdy enough to hold a full tea and or coffee set - which is what yours is missing.
Many times the rest of the pieces get broken, lost or replaced with something else. The good news is, that it's fairly easy to find nice old plated pieces that would go nicely with your tray. That is called a (marriage) Mismatched items placed together as a set.
The only trouble here, is that we don't know maker. I think the others are correct on date/era as late 1800's, it might be a bit older than that, Victorian era of 1850 - 1880.
The markings are confusing, and may have been put there much later, than when made, to deceive, on purpose. I've seen that a few times before. Old time Antiques "Dealers" were not always honest with their wares, and they may have decided to falsify markings in order to get a higher price, especially if they had a "marriage" of a mismatched set to go with this tray. What would be included would be: Tea Pot, Creamer, sugar, and coffee pot. Sometimes two sets of cream and sugar's would be included, one larger, one smaller. These items are called "Hollow ware"
Best thing to do, I think is to tract down what these markings are supposed to represent first. (maker, origin, country etc). Try looking at these sites: http://www.925-1000.com/silverplate__menu.html
If your new to silver/silver plate try and read through some of the info from each site (above) and decide which one is most helpful for your needs.
We do have a silver group here on IAO - http://iantiqueonline.ning.com/group/silverantiqueandcollectible
Feel free to post your tray and or any other silver you may have. There is lots of good info/websites in the top left corner of the group page. Good Luck!
Vicki, thank's for the info. It did actually come with a complete tea and coffee set, and another couple odd unrelated items. I knew that the set was a "marriage" and silver plated which is why I didn't bother to include it in the photos. I'm not near it at the moment to post a photo but it is really pretty also. All the pieces are engraved on the bottom with initials and a date, I think it is Dec 1934. The largest piece which looks like it originally sat in a stand also has a crossed arrows makers mark on the bottom and another mark: S*P . The crossed arrows look like William Hutton & Sons mark but no WH or other mark. I'm in the process of polishing them up but some pieces have areas where the silver plate has worn through and I can see copper showing through so not sure it there is any value in them. I will load a photo when I get a chance.
I would love to see all the pieces that came with the set. And, if yours is a tilting teapot ( those can be worth quite a bit of $$) does match, and has a makers mark, it might be easier to decide who made the tray as well!
Antique and Vintage tea sets always have value. Many people love them, and some just like to add to their sets of flatware or collections that they already own. The copper wearing through really doesn't affect value much, if it's not unsightly, but the initials do hurt, but do not affect price dramatically.
What is more important, usually is age, pattern and conditions. The prettier the better, in most cases. I'll look forward to seeing the rest of your set, and keep us posted if you find more info! Vicki H