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Sterling silver featured in Jasper52 auction Feb. 4

A Jasper52 online auction on Tuesday, Feb. 4, will set the table with time-honored 18th- to 21st-century silver pieces. From Gorham to Georg Jensen, Reed & Barton and more, this collection features renowned names in the art of silversmithing. As the most versatile of precious metals, silver stands as both the backdrop and center stage of a tastefully decorated home.

Reed & Barton Francis I sterling flatware service for 12, 161 pieces in excellent unpolished vintage condition. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

English silver retains look, feel of royalty

NEW YORK – Collecting silver not only offers the tactile pleasure of holding a fine three-dimensional object expertly crafted but it also appeals to the eye. Akin to a piece of “statement jewelry,” fine works of art in silver make an elegant tableau. From elegant cutlery with scalloped or repousse handles to architectural candlesticks and a striking centerpiece with a profusion of cast elements, no table is complete without good silver.

English silver, particularly Georgian (1714-1830) and Regency (1811-1820) period examples, are highly desirable.

This double-handled covered cup is one of the earliest works by Paul de Lamerie, a Dutch-born silversmith who became one of London’s best craftsmen. Photo courtesy of M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans.

“In regard to silver, during the Early Georgian period (1714-1760), Queen Anne style reigned supreme, marked by simple, elegant forms and minimal decoration,” said Deborah Choate, sales consultant at M.S. Rau Antiques in a blog. “However, around 1725, elements of the exuberant Baroque and Rococo styles began to appear. By the Late Georgian period (1760-1811), a Neoclassical esthetic prevailed, which harkens back to the classical forms of antiquity, particularly the art and architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome.”

This George III English silver epergne, London, 1768, marks for Emick Romer, brought $24,000 in November 2018 at Brunk Auctions. Photo courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Among the best-known British silversmiths in this era were Hester Bateman (1704-1794) and Paul Storr (1771-1844). Bateman became one of the best-known woman silversmiths after her husband died. At age 51, she took over his silver business and defied convention at the time, creating elegantly simple works even though the Rococo style was in vogue.

Storr also favored a minimalist aesthetic in keeping with the Neoclassical style, creating plain and unembellished forms that often featured naturalistic designs. While much of his tableware was simple, he did create lavish pieces for royalty and made most of the silver bought by King George III and King George IV.

This important English silver centerpiece sold for $17,000 in November 2017 at The Popular Auction. Photo courtesy of The Popular Auction and LiveAuctioneers.

In sharp contrast to its predecessor, Regency era silver is the most sumptuous and striking of English silver styles. Ornately embellished with scrolling acanthus and shell accents or having cast details like a lion’s head on the spout of an urn, Regency silver overall was a diverse grouping encompassing bold decoration and expert craftsmanship the extent of which has seldom been seen since.

A pair of English sterling silver servers with ivory handles made $25,000 in May 2015 at Clars Auction Gallery. Photo courtesy of Clars Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

Becoming a scholar of English silver means one is introduced the world of hallmarks, of which there are many. Hallmarks do more than merely identify the silversmith, a series of marks also convey how pure the silver is, its origin and age or that duties were properly paid as well as the assay office certifying the piece. Books as well as online reference guides can provide exhaustive information to identifying pieces.

“Collecting silver need not break the bank and a Charles Horner silver thimble might cost you around £10 at auction, a hat pin by the same maker around £30-£40 and an enamel and silver pendant by him around £200,” according to an article posted by Richard Winterton Auctioneers on its website. “At the other end of the spectrum Georgian and Regency silver by some of the most famous British silversmiths can sell for over £100,000 but there is much more to be had in the £100-£1,000 price bracket.”

A Moses Montefiore silver Sabbath goblet having a tulip form bowl, London, 1881, made $22,000 in February 2015 at Pasarel. Photo courtesy of Pasarel and LiveAuctioneers.

Even in America, museums are devoted collectors with sublime examples finding their way into permanent collections in renowned institutions, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which in a 2010 press release announced the gift of 50 choice pieces of English silver from collector Rita R. Gans of New York, transforming the museum’s collection. At the time, VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said it was “the most important and fabulous gift of English silver in memory in many years to any museum in the world.”

A Manchester Cup silver trophy, Elkington & Co., Birmingham, 1903, realized $18,000 in June 2018 at Dan Morphy Auctions. Photo courtesy of Dan Morphy Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Some collectors collect only one form, such as candlesticks or epergnes while others seek out the best forms from one maker, and for others, it’s silver wares associated with one period or king.

For new collectors, a great way to start collecting silver is to start small either by focusing on smalls like silver thimbles or snuff boxes or if you favor larger pieces, adding one covered dish or teapot at a time. Learning is a lifelong process and while you educate yourself on the myriad of hallmarks pieces are engraved with, you will also absorb some of the social history of each piece. The more pieces you see and handle, the better you will train your eye and you will start to know the feel and weight of a piece, judge its patina, flaws and quality.

6 Exceptional Silver Treasures

Sterling silver treasures spanning the past three centuries are the focus of this week’s curated auction antique and vintage silver pieces. This expertly crafted collection is devoted to American, European, and Continental silver, featuring globally renowned names in the art of silver-making, including Gorham and Georg Jensen.

American-made silver includes a set of 12 wine goblets made in 1900 by A.G. Schultz & Co. of Baltimore. Each goblet is stamped sterling and has the maker’s mark.

Set of 12 sterling silver goblets, made in the United States by A.G. Schultz & Co., 1900, 2,428 grams. Estimate: $5,500-$6,000. Jasper52 image

 

English silver is highlighted by a covered entrée dish made by Waterhouse, Hodgson & Co. of Sheffield. The handle on the lid unlocks, and the lid can be used as a second dish. The dish is hand engraved on both sides of the lid with a lion crest. This substantial piece was retailed in Dublin by West & Co.

Georgian shell and gadroon sterling silver covered dish, 1826, Waterhouse, Hodgson & Co. and retailed in Dublin By West & Co., 12 1/4 x 10 x 5 1/2 in, 2,300 grams. Estimate: $6,400-$7,300. Jasper52 image

 

A set of 12 fish knives and forks in the popular Kings pattern is a modern entry in the 56-lot catalog. Gee & Holmes, also fo Sheffield, England, made the set, which is fully hallmarked and dated 1961.

Set of 12 English sterling silver fish knives and forks, Kings pattern, Gee & Holmes, dated 1961, 1,320 grams. Estimate: $4,300-$4,800. Jasper52 image

 

Yet another Sheffield item is a sterling silver epergne made by Thomas Frost in 1911. The base and each of its three baskets bear full English hallmarks.

Sterling silver epergne, 1911, made in Sheffield, Thomas Frost, 1,500 grams. Estimate: $4,200-$4,800. Jasper52 image

 

German silver includes a pair of candelabra by Theodor Julius Guenther and Robert Freund crafted crica 1910, as well as a rare bull and cow milk jug and creamer set from the 1880s.

Pair of German silver candelabra made by Theodor Julius Guenther and Robert Freund, circa 1910, 800/1,000, 22 in. high. Estimate: $9,900-$11,000. Jasper52 image

 

The pair of Cow Creamers is rare as it is highly unusual to have a Bull Creamer and a matched Cow & Bull Creamer set. Designed in the style of the late 1700s silver smith John Schuppe, the pieces include hinged lids set in the backs with a small insect finial decorating the tops and curved tails as handles.

Rare German bull and cow cream and milk jug set, 1880, 1,480 grams, German hallmarks on tails. Estimate: $6,500-$7,500. Jasper52 image

 

Explore the full catalog of the hand-selected silver pieces and place your bids today.