Two Elizabeth Eaton Fish Knives with CI overstamp on one


Two Elizabeth Eaton Fish knives — both from different sets that have been broken up so they might be sold individually as butter knives on ebay. (too big for purpose and there are more breakups on ebay silver than in daytime US TV)

One has a clear EE mark in the double helix for William’s widow and the other is overstamped for John le Gallias, a Channel Island silversmith who worked independently after 1846.

John used a triple helix for his three-letter mark. A careful look at the bottom of the mark shows the remnant of the double helix left behind. But what triggered inquiry was the tally mark “Z” below both. The mark for piecework payment purposes of the man who actually made the items.

By early Victorian times London smiths had rolling mill produced sheet silver and stamping machines and automatic cutters all run by steam power which meant they could produce faster and cheaper than the offshore smiths on Jersey or Guernsey.

There was no Channel Island law which required him to overstamp before retailing there so why did he bother? Presumably he thought the locals thought his craft more valuable than them “Luneners with their fancy ways”



A quick glance through Richard Mayne’s excellent book on fellow Channel Islanders allowed the find of this picture on p. 68. again an overstrike of an Elizabeth Eaton sponsor mark assayed in 1858.