Posted 4 years ago
This is a recent addition to my silver collection: It is a silver Memorial Dish "following" the death of Queen Victoria. What really makes me smile is the way Sampson Mordan the famous silversmiths hold in check their respect for Queen Victoria when commercial opportunity arises. What do I mean??? Well.....Queen Victoria, as we all know, died in 1901... the hallmark (3rd) photo is for 1900.* Obviously the Queen was probably very frail, even to say "poorly" by late 1900...So possibly The Company seeing a looming opportunity rushed out this memorial dish so it could be assayed and marked READY for the good Queen's demise, and a "quick buck". Maybe this is why it is smithed around a 1900 Florin Piece and not a 1901 minted coin (they would have had to wait another year for that!) I think it would have been a bit of a blow to Mordan's if Queen Victoria had soldiered on for another year! I suppose they could have always melted it down and started again!
Another interesting mark is in the dark area in the 2nd Photo...... that looks like ....Vz/t. This is a Pawn Brokers mark (which they often made/make when taking in valuable metal items). At sometime a previous owner of this dish fell on hard times and visited their local pawnbroker....did they ever manage to reclaim it...we'll never know!
*Please see Vetraio50's very valid and erudite comments below; on the assay timings, as it is easy to wrongly assume the given date (year) letter mark is a given Jan 1st to Dec 31st, start/finish year.
(Also; occasionally, items made a considerable time before being presented for assay, end up bearing a later (than manufacture) year mark)
So all in all; the marks on our collectables often deliver up a veritable host of interesting clues as to the item's hiSTORY and background! (* As long as we do not read too much into them, or conversely; too superficially ;)