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Silver stand with crystal bowl

I received this from my father who said he bought it at an auction for quite a bit of money. I’m wondering what it is and what it’s worth. It has a crystal etched bowl that fits on top (that I haven’t photographed) - it’s quite large, about 17 inches high and very heavy. Attached are some pics of the silver stamp as well as the item in general.

I can’t find any other marks on the piece whatsoever.
silver emblem2small.jpg
silver emblemsmall.jpg

I’d call it a centerpiece epergne. Most epergnes of that size are silver plated and although I can’t see the mark that well, it appears to be a monogram rather than some sort of purity or maker’s mark.

Large centerpieces and epergnes are an exception to the general rule that silverplated items have little commercial value. I’d carefully follow similar items on eBay’s “completed auctions” to get an idea of what they are fetching vs. asking prices.

It is a very, very nice piece.


Uncle Vic

Thanks so much for your quick reply. The mark is definitely a Lion Rampant (it’s a bit worn and I didn’t photograph it very well), but I don’t know if that means its sterling or silver plate or where it’s from. My dad told me that he bought it for $10,000 in 1992 - any chance that’s even remotely possible?

Also if there is any way to determine how old it is?

If the mark is a lion facing left with its right paw raised, that is the UK purity mark for sterling sivler, but it should also have a city mark (for example, Birmingham is an anchor, Sheffield is a crown) and a date letter. The date letter will show the date it was assayed in the city of the city mark.

Some of our UK colleauges are much better equipped to identify it, and a clearer close up photo of the marks and/or a detailed verbal description of them is essential.

If its solid sterling and properly marked that price is not unreasonable.


Uncle Vic

Thank you - yes, it is a lion facing left with right paw raised (but standing). I have searched and searched all over the piece but cannot find any other marks whatsoever.

Well…could it be a family crest and not a purity or maker’s mark? The location suggests that. I have a four armed epergne we bought at the London Silver Vaults in 1995 that was represented to us to be Old Sheffield Plate - pre- 1850 - that has no marks other than matching numbers for the holes where the arms attach. I’d consider taking it to a trusted jeweler and have it tested for purity, i.e. whether its silver plated or solid silver.

What do you UK guys think? I’m getting over my head on this one.


Uncle Vic

Thanks for your help Uncle Vic. The only other information that I have is that it was purchased by my Dad at a Sotheby’s auction (or some other large auction house) in the 1990’s and that Paul McCartney (yes…THE Paul McCartney) was apparently bidding against him. But you never know with my Dad - he could have made it up :smiley:

The lion is definitely a family crest rather than a purity mark. Lack of marks tends to indicate silver plate, but it might be worth having it properly tested - it is possible that over the years any sort of hallmarking or purity marking might have been polished away; the state of the crest certainly suggests age and polishing have had some effect.

if it is brittish sterling = lion mark.
There is one thing about brittish mark - they are set next to eachother. If it is lion rampant city+year+makers mark is located less than 1cm away from lion rampant. In case there is only one hallmark it is not Brittish.
I am also sure that it is an engraving and NOT a hallmark.

Keep looking for halmarks - German is also a logical possibility. And then halmarks are a completely different story.
French halmarks are NOT set next to eachother - and they are normally hidden within the decoration. Sometimes I spend long time looking for french halmarks.

Thanks everyone. I’ve checked everywhere, and we did take it in to a local antique silver expert. It’s plate, and I can’t find any other marks on it at all, so it’s likely a crest.

He felt it was worth $1500 to $2000.

That value is realistic. As I recall, I paid a little over $3,000 in 1995 for my four armed epergne with one large crystal bowl on top and four smaller ones on the arms. Its about 21 inches tall without the bowls. As I mentioned, it was represented to use as Old Sheffield Plate but after examining it many times I’m convinced its electro plated from the latter half of the 19t century, but still one of my favorite pieces.

Yours is a very attractive piece that you should display with pride.


Uncle Vic