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Irish Silver

A Funny Query
Did Irish silver use the normal English or in some cases no hallmark.
I have an antique silver pocket watch with no hallmarks on the case.
It is a silver paircase watch made in Waterford Ireland in c.1770.
The movement is engraved Wm. Maddock Waterford. and 760 which I think is the serial number.
There are no marks at all on the case. Is it possible that the number 760 on the movemenr refers to the year 1760.
Thanks for your intrest.

There was a goldsmiths’ guild in Dublin which assayed gold and silver using a similar hallmarking system to the English system. However provincial goldsmiths’ guilds made their own rules; Cork and Limerick silver was often marked with the word “STERLING” but there was no country-wide standard.

I cannot comment with any authority on the meaning of the number 760 but my feeling is that it would be unlikely to be the year - far more probably some sort of serial number.

Thank ypu for your help
I agree that 760 is most likely a serial number but being Irish they may have forgotten which century it was.

Hi Gramar,

No doubt the furthest thing from your mind was to cause any insult or offence with your statement "but being Irish they may have forgotten which century it was. " and be assured none has been taken though I have to express some disappointment that such an uncouth statement still gets airtime these days. Anyway my advice is for you to read up some more on Irish silversmiths and their work from the last three centuries or so and you will find that they were held in very high regard for their standard of workmanship. Dublin Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteen centuries was in many ways second to London as a centre of excellence and importance for many areas of the arts. It is true outside Dublin in those days effecting the secure transit of precious goods for the purpose of assay was fraught with risk and most silversmiths of that time working provincially ie Cork, Limerick and Galway preferred to hallmark their work with their own devices. Take note Dublin collated one of the most comprehensive lists of silversmith, masters, apprentices known so one finds that most Irish silver from the Georgian period will have a mark of some kind that can usually be attributed to a known and listed mark. Though it is not unheard of for a piece to unmarked altogether.

Some books of reference: Jackson’s Silver and Gold marks (provides quite a detailed list of Irish and provincially makers including Waterford)

Irish Georgian Silver - 1972 - Douglas Bennett

and I can add “Collecting Irish Silver”, 1984, also by Douglas Bennett to this list.

Hi Gerry G
I agree, it was a stupid comment to make so please accept my apology
My ancesters were McKennas from County Louth which makes it worse.
Thank you for your advise Re my query, Iam waiting to get into the State library
to look up “Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World”. I hope to find some thing there.


PS The watch is a lovely pair cased Verge Fusee with serpentine hands.