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Allan Horne

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  1. Allan Horne

    1700’s or 1800’s knife??

    Hence the expression ‘you might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb’ when stealing a sheep was a capital offence. I think it was anything worth more than a shilling. 12 old pence or 5 new pence. My great grandfather was a shepherd / gamekeeper from the area around Wreay (pronounced reea) in the north of the Lake District. One day I’m intending to go look around the graveyard and records there. I grew up in Carlisle so spent a lot of time in the lake district, camping with the Scouts and later underground exploration of the old lead and copper mines. Now I live near the south coast and miss the mountains.
  2. Allan Horne

    1700’s or 1800’s knife??

    Hi Alan, That is good info to know, I have not thought of the idea of countries outside the UK misusing hallmarks and as a valuer just accepted foreign marks (mostly from Europe on watch cases etc) at face value without ever suspecting that they may be wrong. With internet trading making the world a smaller place I can see this becoming a problem for those still working as valuers. One of the things to watch out for on forged ceramics is the ‘Wedgewood’ mark with the extra e in the middle. Surprising how many forgers make the most simple of mistakes. Most UK people immediately assume Australia when thinking about deportation but the Americas was the used extensively before independence. Over the past few years genealogy has become quite a topic here. The TV series “Who do you think you are” where celebrities are helped to trace their ancestors has added to this interest. Most of the older census records are available on-line. The census started in 1801 and is every 10 years apart from 1941. Going back prior to 1801 tends to rely on court and parish records for ‘hatches, matches and despatches’. Have you ever tried to find the history of ‘Young Mr. Longmire’ and his family before he was deported? Cheers Allan
  3. Allan Horne

    Southern England bladesmiths

    Hi James, I was thinking daywise. My e-mail is allrhorne@gmail.com if you want to contact me rather than here. Cheers Allan
  4. Allan Horne

    1700’s or 1800’s knife??

    Hi Alan,. That is interesting; you mentioned in the first topic that the lion mark was commonly faked in the USA. That surprised me because fake hallmarks are very rare in the UK. Since you have the provenance I would not dispute your description of their origin and why fake marks were put on them. The penalty for faking marks is now a £400 fine and or 2 years in prison. It used to be slitting the nostrils and deportation to the colonies. Oh the good old days when we could send noseless felons to the Americas or later Australia. You certainly would not be allowed to offer those spoons for sale in the UK although legal in the rest of the world so long as it was disclosed that the marks were fake. I suppose Google was not so good in the 1870’s and few Americans (even now) had seen many real hallmarks. I’m not sure what Consumer Protection legislation there is in the USA now but there would not have been a lot in the 1870’s. If you collect spoons, the main thing that lowers their value (by at least 50%) is unsymmetrical wear on the sides of the bowl and any repair with lead based solder is a no no. These look to be in good condition and well made; I hope you use them. Perhaps sucking eggs but don’t clean them vigorously and loose the patina or store them near elastic bands which contain sulphur. (Okay then, sulfer if you must!!) Cheers Allan
  5. Allan Horne

    1700’s or 1800’s knife??

    Hi Alan, There are marks called ‘spurious marks’ which is a term applied to the sort of marks you get on Sheffield Plate and electroplated nickel silver (EPNS). Which were/are legal even if misleading; although certain designs were precluded if too similar to genuine Hallmarks. However, in the UK this mark would not be classed as ‘spurious’ it is an out and out forgery and the piece (or the marks) destroyed. The Lion (looks more like a money!), Birmingham Town Mark and Date Letter would never all be struck by one punch. Each would be in its own cartouche although the individual punches may be clamped together for pressing into the work. As far as I know, ‘STERLING’ is never part of the official hallmark stamp and is redundant since that is what the lion is for. Looks a bit like the ‘me thinks he protests too much’ forgery where the forger is not content to imitate the mark but over-eggs it for the benefit of the hard of thinking. The words 'LOADED' may be on items such as candlesticks which have a base metal core or the word 'METAL' eg for a silver knife with a steel blade. The ‘gothic’ style of the date letter looks like it is imitating a date from the 1800’s and for that date the lion should be ‘passant guardant’ Looking towards you, rather than 'passant' looking where it was going. And probably a Duty Mark if before 1890. The other glaringly obvious thing that makes this a forged mark is that the lion is facing the wrong way! At least they got the anchor the right way. Vertical is silver, horizontal is gold. It is not unknown for Birmingham silver to be gold plated and passed off as gold so always check the direction of the anchor mark. Since forgers don’t really care that much, you may find that the identical mark is on many similar items (rogues gallery). It is possible for an item to have the word ‘sterling’ and a hallmark but generally this would not be seen except perhaps on imported silver which had been stamped sterling my the manufacturer then subsequently hallmarked when imported into the UK. Each Town had a specific mark for imported items. This site explains spurious marks and different methods that have been used to forge or transport marks. https://www.925-1000.com/a_Spurious1899.html Cheers Allan
  6. Allan Horne

    1700’s or 1800’s knife??

    Would you like the short answer or the long one? Looks like a George III sterling silver Hallmarked in Sheffield. The absence of Date Letter, Makers Mark and Duty Mark was quite common for smaller pieces and if less than five-pennyweights (7.78 g ) (of silver – i.e. not including the mounts) was exempt form duty. (This weight is still exempt from Hallmarking today) The Town Mark for Sheffield shows it is after 1773 when the Sheffield Office was established. Unfortunately Sheffield used the Lion Passant Guardant (looking at you, rather than Passant – looking sideways) until 1975 which can be used with e.g. Birmingham Office to narrow a date range on a ‘rubbed mark’. I assume you have inspected the piece closely, but sometimes a Date Letter would be ‘spot marked’ on another part, but this is more usual on larger pieces. E.g. a lid off a pot. In 1798 an Act of Parliament (24 George III c. 64, s. 5 An Act to repeal the duties on gold and silver plate used in watch cases) allowed exemptions to payment of duty to "watch cases, chains, necklace-beads, philligree [sic] works, shirt buckles or brooches, stamped medals, and spouts to china, stone or earthenware tea-pots of silver, of any weight whatsoever." (http://www.silvercollection.it/ACTOFPARLIAMENT.jpg) The exemption interested also various other classes of articles weighing less of ten and five pennyweights. From: http://www.silvercollection.it/dictionarydutydodger.html A very similar knife is shown on this site https://www.loveantiques.com/antique-silver/silver-knives/george-iii-solid-sterling-silver-and-mother-of-pearl-mop-antique-english-sheffield-hallmarked-folding-pocket-fruit-penknife-c1800-114628 In terms of value, generally £85 to £200 very much dependant on condition and only top-end if by a famous maker of proven provenance of belonging to someone famous. Yes, I am a qualified jewellery valuer. Retired but I can still go on ‘til the cows come home. :-)
  7. Allan Horne

    Southern England bladesmiths

    Hi James, I have an outdoor coke / charcoal forge, anvil tongs etc and have been making knives similar to those in your pics. Neighbours are far enough away not to complain and we all have horses so clanging anvils are de rigueur . I'm based near Lewes if that is 'local' enough. I'm still learning but shared enthusiasm is always good. Cheers Allan
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