Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons

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Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons Empty Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons

Post by Seal on a Rock January 23rd 2022, 2:09 pm

These are family items, and I'd love to know a bit more about them.  There are two matching teaspoons, both with the same markings, but they are so old that some of them are hard to read.  Reading from left to right, we have a capital letter N, either in a square or in a square with cut-off corners, then it looks like someone's head & shoulders ? in an oval, then a standing lion facing left, then a mark that is difficult to describe , followed by capital TW in a rectangle.

I've done my best to research online.  I believe the mark immediately before TW may be Newcastle upon Tyne, which would make sense, as that branch of the family came from Tyneside/Gateshead/Northumberland.  I've found years for the N date letter, but none of them look exactly the same as my marks - the ones that have N in a square, like mine, have 5 marks not four.

I've also done a search for makers, and come up with Thomas Watson and Thomas Wheatley who overlapped - and both marks look like mine!

Can anyone help?

I have a couple of other items I'm trying to ID, but I'll post them separately as it might be less confusing that way!  Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons 20220111
Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons 20220110
Help identifying age & maker for 2 Newcastle? silver spoons 20220112
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Post by denbydump January 23rd 2022, 3:01 pm

Looks right for Newcastle 1829.
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Post by Seal on a Rock January 23rd 2022, 7:25 pm

Thank you - can I ask how you can tell? I've tried to read up on it, but found it quite confusing!
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Post by denbydump January 24th 2022, 12:40 am

Bradburys silver marks booklet, the first book i ever bought.
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Post by denbydump January 24th 2022, 12:54 am

Thomas Watson is the most likely.

http://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Makers/Newcastle-PZ.html#T
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Post by Seal on a Rock January 24th 2022, 10:28 am

Thank you - I was struggling to see much difference between the two marks. I guess you must develop an 'eye' for it when you know a lot about silver.
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Post by Coalman February 6th 2022, 11:43 am

The spoons are certainly Newcastle and likely Thomas Watson (rather than Thomas Wheatley).
However they are not 1829 as that year is indicated by the letter 'P'.
Yours are stamped with the letter 'N' which, together with the George III duty mark, indicates either 1803 or 1827.
Unfortunately the Newcastle hallmarks for both those years are near identical.
However, the font design of the letter 'N' more closely resembles that used in 1803 rather than the 1827 equivalent which had a slightly thinner diagonal.
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Post by Coalman February 6th 2022, 1:12 pm

Just a further comment on your observation that, in addition to the makers ‘TW’ stamp, there are only four marks on the spoons, not five.
This is indeed somewhat unusual as Newcastle silver usually carries a 5th stamp, namely, a Leopards Head. Stamping of the latter, together with a Lion Passant, was a legal requirement following the Sterling Standard Act of 1719.
The presence or absence of the Leopards Head stamp on provincial silverware (i.e. outside of London for which it is that city's silversmith mark) is a contentious subject which makes for some fascinating reading if you are bored and looking for something to do.
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Post by denbydump February 6th 2022, 2:35 pm

Sorry, yes I meant 1827, I just misread the book!

The reason I suggested (1827), was if the book is correct, shows a profile stamp for
George III in 1803, and the king's head in an oval for Geoge IV in 1827, as on these spoons.
Also the City mark is shown slightly fatter and rounder with a flatter top to the shield in 1827.
Tiny differences I know, and another book may even show them sifferently.
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Post by Seal on a Rock February 6th 2022, 2:39 pm

Coalman wrote:Just a further comment on your observation that, in addition to the makers ‘TW’ stamp, there are only four marks on the spoons, not five.
This is indeed somewhat unusual as Newcastle silver usually carries a 5th stamp, namely, a Leopards Head.  Stamping of the latter, together with a Lion Passant, was a legal requirement following the Sterling Standard Act of 1719.  
The presence or absence of the Leopards Head stamp on provincial silverware (i.e. outside of London for which it is that city's silversmith mark) is a contentious subject which makes for some fascinating reading if you are bored and looking for something to do.

Thank you for your help.

I spent ages trying to research this before posting on the forum - all the 'how to identify silverware marks' articles make it sound SO easy, but in practice, I found it really hard to identify between very similar marks and it doesn't help when the items don't have the 'right' number of marks either. On my other spoon, there is a sign of another mark that has been rubbed away, but on these, I think all the original marks are still there so it looks like the 5th one was never present.

Still since they are around 200 years old, I guess it's impressive they're still visible at all! I'd love to know if they've been in the family from the start, but I guess I'll never know for sure. We do have a couple of 'H' surnames from that period though so could well be.
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Post by Coalman February 6th 2022, 3:08 pm

Hi Denby,
It is a pity that the duty marks are so worn.
I have looked at them from so many angles now that my eyes are aching.
I think that the chubbier duty stamp profile is more like George III (died 1820) than the slimmer George IV but I could be totally wrong. At one stage the profile was looking more like Victoria which would date the spoons as 1852!!!!
I agree with you on the differences between certain silverware reference books. The info therein can at best be misleading or, at worst, simply erroneous.
Seal wins in the long run 'cos he has a nice pair of spoons.
So lets call it a draw Happy

Seal - let's have a look at the other spoon you mention.


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Post by Seal on a Rock February 6th 2022, 4:23 pm

The other spoon is the jam/sugar/salt one on the other thread - there is a faint unevenness and a couple of dark spots that might have once been a mark of some kind
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