In 1831, Jabez Gorham, in partnership with Henry Webster, founded the silver company that bears his name in his native Providence, Rhode Island. Originally a manufacturer of coin-silver flatware, Gorham soon gained acclaim, selected by Mary Todd Lincoln for the White House in 1859. Beginning in 1863, Gorham became a powerhouse in plated silver, and it left coin silver behind for sterling silver in 1868, producing everything from flatware such as knives, forks, and spoons to hollowware pieces ranging from coffee pots to serving bowls.

The most important designer for Gorham in the late 19th century was the English-trained William J. Codman, who joined the firm in 1891. Codman helped develop the Martelé line, which was made of an even softer silver than sterling (.950 fine instead of .925), allowing Gorham silversmiths to hammer it into flowing, intricate Art Nouveau shapes (“marteler” is the French verb for “to hammer”). Gorham even created signature show pieces in the Martelé style, most famously a silver dressing table and cushioned stool, which beat Tiffany in the silver furniture category at the 1900 Paris World Fair.

Gorham flatware patterns include the Rococo-style Strasbourg, first produced in 1897, the floral-accented Buttercup (1899), King Edward (1936), and Chantilly, which was patented in 1895 and remains one of the most popular flatware patterns in the world.

Dating a piece of Gorham silver is a question of decoding the hallmarks on the back or bottom of each piece. While hallmarks for its first few years were not consistent, the triad of a lion, anchor, and “G” were used from 1848 on. From 1848 until around 1860, the lion faced left, but subsequent lions faced right. Beginning in 1868, the year Gorham embraced the sterling standard, marks for each year were also added. For example, pieces from 1868 through 1884 were marked with capital letters. Icons were used from 1885 (a wolf head) to 1933 (a parachute). Then, after a six-year gap, decades were identified by a polygon (four sides for the 1940s, five sides for the ’50s, etc.), with a numeral for the year set inside.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver 5 Piece Tea Coffee Service Antique 1005 Set NrGorham Strasbourg Sterling Silver 14pc Setting Service For 8 Flatware Set 112pcsDecorated Antique Gorham Sterling Silver Hand Held Postal Letter Scale NrPr Antique Gorham Sterling Silver, Mica & Fringe Beaded Candlestick Lamp Shades Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver Massive 22 ¼ Inch Oval Serving Butlers Tray NrAntique Gorham Sterling Tatting Shuttle With Engraved Floral & Scroll Decoration3 Antique Gorham Open Work Sterling Silver & Mica Candlestick Lamp Shades NrLot Of Gorham Sterling Silver For Use Or Scrap 1779 GramsPair Vintage Gorham Chantilly 750 Sterling Silver 3 Light Candelabras,13"perfectRare Set Of 12 Gorham Sterling Ice Cream Forks In The Etruscan Pattern, No MonoGorham Sterling Cocktail Shaker C1905 Special Order 43-piece Service For 8 Gorham King Edward Sterling Silver Flatware Set8 Old Gorham Versailles Sterling Silver 6-1/2" Salad Forks, Ornate Figural MotifAntique Victorian Gorham Sterling Silver, Mica Candlestick Lamp Shade NrGorham Sterling Tea Kettle & Stand 1917 Lion 76 Oz Large 14pc Gorham Strasbrourg Sterling Silver Server Set Spoon Fork Flatware OldSet Of 3 Gorham Etruscan Pattern Sterling Silver Salad Forks *greek Key Design*7 Old Gorham Versailles Sterling Silver 6-3/4" Forks, Ornate Figural Motif6 Sterling Silver Small Forks Incl. Gorham Aesthetic Seashell Lemon Pickle OliveFontainebleau By Gorham Sterling Silver Teaspoon 6"Rare Filigree Sterling Silver Gorham Centerpiece Taza Pierced ReticulatedAntique 1875-99 Gorham Sterling Silver Repousse Talcum Powder Pocket Shaker YqzGorham Versailles Sterling Silver Flatware Set 116 PcLarge Antique Gorham Gilt Silver Punch Ladle With Ebony HandleGorham Sterling Coffee Pot 1917 Lion Feet 31 OuncesGorham Sterling English Gadroon Ice Cream Forks Set Of 12Gorham 1985 Sterling Silver Annual Christmas Snowflake Antique - Gorham H45 Pattern - Sterling - Bon Bon Spoon Gorham Whiting "lily" ~ Sterling Silver Letter Opener Victorian Antique Nouveau5 Antique Gorham #35 Sterling Silver Bon Bon Or Nut Dishes 336 Grams Not ScrapSet Of 3 Gorham Etruscan Pattern Sterling Silver Forks 7-5/8" *greek Key Design* 1896 Ngc Au58 Hk-780 Colorful Toned Bryan Gorham So Called Dollar Large Holder8 Matching Antique Victorian Gorham Sterling Silver SpoonsLarge Vintage Gorham Picture Frame Sterling Silver Gorham Repousse ~ Sterling Silver Dresser Hair Brush ~antique Victorian C. 1893Gorham Strasbourg Sterling Sardine Serving ForkBlack Starr Gorham 8 Day 15 Jewels Mathey Tissot Swiss Travel Clock W Case BewGorham Sterling Rose Open Salt Cellar Dish Dip - Circa 1869 Model 865Antique Gorham Sterling Silver Hand Mirror - Cherubs Swallows & Roses - C 1193Antique Victorian Gorham Sterling Silver Repousse Hand Mirror - C355 -ca. 1890'sGorham Etruscan Pattern Sterling Silver Solid Gravy Ladle *greek Key Design*Very Rare Antique Gorham Medallion (1864) Sterling Silver Nut Pick~lot #1! Nr!2 Matching Antique Victorian Gorham Sterling Silver Serving Pieces - Strasbourg2 St Cloud Sterling Silver Dinner Forks-so Ornate/rare 1885 Gorham FinestGorham 1970 Sterling Christmas Snowflake Christmas Tree OrnamentGorham Sterling Mum Style Open Salt Cellar Dish Dip - Circa 1869 Model 867Gorham Sterling Silver Single Candlestick Not Weighted No Reserve Auction 108 GrSet Of 7 Gorham Etruscan Pattern Sterling Silver Teaspoons *greek Key Design*Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver Stag Horn Walker Corkscrew B1738 Signed Htf Vg NrGorham 1979 Sterling Silver Snowflake Ornament **no Reserve**Sterling Silver By Gorham Old French Fork Wide Lg Heavy No Scrap!! Great Vintage Gorham Sterling Silver Salt Spoon6 Gorham Versailles Sterling Silver Round Bowl Soup SpoonsVintage Silverplated Gorham 6 Piece Coffee/tea Service With Serving TraySet Of 3 Gorham Etruscan Pattern Sterling Silver Forks 7" *greek Key Design*Nice Set Of 5 Antique Gorham 1899 Cambridge Pattern Sterling Silver Tea SpoonsVintage Sterling Silver Gorham Pierced Filigree Heart Bon Bon Nut Bowl Dish Nice3 Gorham Versailles Sterling Silver TeaspoonsSuperb Antiq. Gorham Sterling Silver 1900 Cromwell Pattern 3 3/4 X 2.5" Nut BowlSet Of 6 Gorham Strasburg Sterling Dinner Forks Lion Anchor G Pat. 1897 Monogram