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Help with goblet


Can anyone help with some history on this object?

Height about 20cm, diameter about 15cm. Weight about 480 grams.

It also has an inscription from:
browndown rifle meeting.
T H Ashley Major R E

any clues?

BR Daniel

The engraving (and probably the repoussée decoration) is much later than the goblet itself. The hallmarks show that it was assayed in London in 1811; the maker was Solomon Hougham.

What can you generally say about the value, when engraving and decoration are made afterwards. Has it a big negative effect?

BR Daniel

Generally speaking then, and without particular reference to your goblet, my perception is that decoration, especially when tastefully done, enhances value and engraving (of inscriptions) depresses value. As evidence I cite the relative values of Georgian table spoons versus their Victorian berry-decorated counterparts.

I know this might get off topic but instead of starting a new thread I try it here.
In what range is a realistic value of this object?

In my experience of auctions, and I attend several each month, the habit of the Victorians particularly high Victorians to ‘improve’ Georgian silver, also furniture incidentally, decimates the value. Your goblet were it it its original condition would be worth several times more than in its adulterated state. One can verify this by assessing the hammer price of a similar but unadulterated piece. This verification would be better done by consulting the archive catalogues of reputable auction houses. Serious collectors of Georgian silver are simply not interested in Victorian’ improvements’,
As to inscriptions or dedications were the recipient to be someone who later became notable and there existed provenance then the value increases, For example supposing that Major TH Ashley went to to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Boer War or later then the value increases geometrically. That said, inscriptions and dedications in a general sense reduce value. Armorials and monograms less so.
As an overall note the last decade or so of the Victorian age did, in my opinion, ruin more of our heritage than any other single period with the exception of the blitz.

Forgive the rant but it’s a subject which has irritated me for years.

Tony - Thank you very much for your comment. I´m new with silver so it was a good leasson for me

Regards from Sweden :slight_smile:

Ok, I know this is the wrong forum but does anyone know where I can search for British military history? I think I found my Ansley (not Ashley) acting in the Assualt of Fort Bassein and like to find out more about this person.

Sorry for any inconvenience.


Sorry to bother again.

In what range should I set my insurance value or is impossible to say?

No one?

As a rough guide I’d say it’s value is around £180.
But I stress this is just a rough guide

What do you base the value from? Just curious because I thought this would be more valuable then the tea pot I have in the thread “what is it worth - tea pot”

I based the value on scrap price, but before everyone throws their hands in the air in dismay, I added a collectability value to it, which isn’t much unless the inscription on the goblet is to someone who achieved something great or someone that is well known. It is a rough guide though, you know how auctions go, if you sent it to auction it could double that or more. It’s the luck of the draw. Perhaps someone else here could be more precise?

Well I don´t know if he was that famous. I found out that he participated in the Zulu War where he prepared maps for engagement, “Military survey of the country around Isandhlwana” He´s also mentioned in the peer age since his daughter married royal blood.

I guess it´s the late decoration and engravings that lowers the price pretty much or is this a common range of value for a piece like this?

Definately the later engravings that lower the price, though the decoration is well done it has probably still damaged the price, but it’s the engraving that’s done the most damage to the price. The engraving may be some what interesting for some people, but it would have to be specifically targeted or it could end up going for cheaper than it’s worth. If you were considering selling it?

No I´ve just bought it so it´s more of an ensurance value, but if I would sell it I would do it in England, cause I guess the market is bigger there. I was hoping though it was around 250, but you live and learn :slight_smile:

Well you always have to add more to an insurance value as it would be difficult to find something almost identical. It’s not unrealistic that it sell for £250. It’s just above what I would expect. Good luck should you ever wish to sell it!

Hi, I mentioned, in my first reply, that were your Major Ashley to have been involved in some important events/battles interest in your piece may increase. You mention his involvement with Isandlwana. That was the battle, in 1879 and a disaster for the British forces, which precipitated the much publicised Battle of Rorke’s Drift (film - ZULU) later the same day. Were you to find Maj Ashley involved in some significant way then again interest may increase. When I have acquired pieces with some organisational connection I have found that the library/archive/museum associated with the organisation, in your case the Royal Engineers, might be able to shed more light on Maj Ashley and may even be prepared to buy the piece from you should it be of significance to them. I must confess I found the research very interesting and rewarding regardless of the commercial aspects. Research is one of the really interesting aspects of silver collecting.


The history and research around this goblet has been far the most interesting about it.
I have spent hours and hours trying to find out information about Maj Anstey. On my way I have leraned more about brittish war history then ever before :slight_smile:
And by “mistake” I found his name on so I could follow his blood line on to today. I even found a picture of him :slight_smile:
Also I found a little about this brown down riflemeeting but all the research feels like it becomes harder doing it from Sweden :frowning:
I´ll try the RE and se if they can help me out with some information. Do you know where I can start my search?

BR Daniel

Hi, all I can suggest is the RE museum in Gillingham, Kent at
They should be a useful first step. Hope it proves interesting and also, ideally, useful.