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Antique silver spoon but no maker

Friends, this is my first post and I’m using it to become familiarised with the forum by asking a question that (at first) might not need a picture. I will need to learn how to do that asap, and Phil has kindly started me on it.
So I have this beautiful tablespoon, lion passant, crowned leopard, duty mark George III, and year letter ‘u’ in the style of 1795. Weight 71 grams, length 22,1 cm.
The thing is, it has no maker’s mark! So I was wondering how frequently such unmarked spoons from that era crop up. I have not found any answer yet. The only remaining attribute on the spoon is a character (?) the same size as the hallmarks, situated next to the duty mark, and looking exactly like a line drawing of a square, bisected through two corners, and the one half removed. So: > , but the angle is exactly 90 degrees. I suspect it is a journeyman’s mark, and as you know, these have not been researched yet and cannot yet be identified as to owner. So I’m pondering over the fact that the maker’s mark is absent. Any thoughts, please? Jan.

Phil’s advice on posting a pic was spot-on! Here’s a pic of the maker-less spoon. Jan.

The mark which you note as a possible journeyman’s mark is actually the maker’s mark. It would originally have been a complete rectangle with the maker’s initials inside but over the years the mark has worn and been polished away until only part of the edge remains.

You may ask why the main hallmark is so clear while the maker’s mark has gone. We need to remember that the maker’s mark is applied by the maker himself and the hallmark is punched by the assay office so it is very likely that different amounts of force were applied. I often see faded maker’s mark with clear hallmarks, but this does seem to be an extreme example.


Phil, your suggestions are noted, and thank you. I do totally agree with you. The contents of the polished-out maker’s mark will stay hidden to research, I think; there are too many makers in that time slot having a square frame. So no hope of whittling the possibilities down! The spoon has clearly seen much honest use, as the dull (flattened) design characteristics, like the drop on the back of the bowl, attests to regular polishing in its extended time of use.

As to the extreme nature of the disappearance of the maker’s mark in comparison to the clear hallmarks, I think we have the depth of indentation of the hallmarks to thank for that!

Any more thoughts from members out there? Jan. :grinning: