The Dutch silver industry based in Gravenhage and Schoonhoven and the German silver industry based in Hanau had a long history of exquisite silver workmanship and an artistic legacy stretching back for centuries. This regional silver industry has not been well researched and we do not know much about the products which they produced, but we do know that they produced a lot of very interesting flatware and antique looking silver.
A few of the firms in this area supposedly decided to specialize in re-creating some very old silver pieces. Supposedly they copied the pieces in exquisite detail. Apparently there was no law against using old silver marks in this area, and we have been told that some new pieces were created with old marks which were used in spurious combinations which would have never occurred in previous centuries.
Consequently we find pieces today which cannot be traced by conventional means. Remember that Europe has seen two major wars and horrendous social and economic problems this century. Many silver pieces were destroyed or confiscated by various governments and all records of their true origin have disappeared. We therefore cannot state with certainty whether these are indeed old pieces or Victorian era reproductions. Rather than risk paying a lot of money for a reproduction, most are arbitrarily declared to be reproductions.
For more information on the Hanau silver industry --read this informative article
This Marriage spoon is a prime example of our discussion. The handle is cast and then chased by a trained silversmith. The bowl is hand pounded in the "old style". the back of the bowl is chased in the "old style" rather than engraved in the Victorian Style. The gilting is a mercury gilt rather than an electroplate gilt. Mercury gilting was used before it was understood that this is a dangerous method of plating silver with gold.
The wording on the back is "Van der Steg", "geboren 1694" and the coat of arms.
There is one mark on the "rattail", but I can't describe it in words and my camera cannot capture this small of a detail. I have also been unable to find it in several books, but most books on the subject are inadequate in many areas.
If it is a reproduction, I do not know if the makers purpose was to defraud a buyer, since the premium for antiques of this type was not substantial during the Victorian era, or if it were simply made for sale at a higher end jewelry store. If another piece shows up, then we will have the answer to our questions.
I can't tell you for sure whether this is an actual old piece or a reproduction.
This is a high quality reproduction of an old Norwegian baptism spoon for a king. It is discussed further on the Apostle page. The markings on it clearly indicate that it is of Victorian era production and there is no attempt to deceive. On the Apostle page there are also some spoons from Nuremberg, Germany which may be very old or may be reproductions.
View the Large Dutch Serving pieces made during the Victorian Era
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