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Can you ID sterling fish fork? (Gorham beef serving fork)

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Sterling Silver Flatware152 of 170Sterling Silver Landers, Frary and Clark Pearl Handled Flatware Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company silver fork dated around mid-late 1700
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    Posted 13 years ago

    (72 items)

    I know it is a fish fork (actually a beef serving fork) and sterling silver but that is about it. Pat. 95 but I don't know if thats 1895 or 1995. There is what I assume is a lion standing on 3 lags in profile, an anchor, and Initial of some sort. Any ideas as to identification and/or value?

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    1. James James, 13 years ago
      The Marks on the back say it's a maker in Birmingham. You should be able to find out more from this website.
    2. Bootson Bootson, 13 years ago
      Thanks for the info James, I'll check it out.
    3. Bootson Bootson, 13 years ago
      I checked out the web site. All the English lions I saw were facing left, could this be from another country like Canada or Australia? Also the marks on this fork are raised instead of stamped, is that significant?
    4. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 12 years ago
      Hi, you've probably figured this out already, but I just saw your posting, so just in case you haven't already discovered it: This is American - Gorham, last quarter nineteenth century, so 1895. Hallmarks at: I have seen this pattern before, but couldn't place the pattern with a casual search. It will be a nice, solid piece, beautifully crafted.
    5. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 12 years ago
      I think that the pattern is Chantilly.
    6. Bootson Bootson, 12 years ago
      Thanks so much miKKoChristmas11,

      I had tucked that fork away for another day. I can only dig into silver marks and patterns for so long before my brain starts to shut down.
      I do believe you got it right though. The only thing that seems slightly different about mine may be the "shoulders " on the tine part of the fork (I don't know the proper terminology). Looks like a slightly different curve.
      Is there a difference between what is called a 'salad fork' and a 'fish fork'?
    7. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 12 years ago
      Hi, Bootson. Glad you held on to that fork. All Gorham sterling is of high quality. One might not care for some of the Gorham patterns, but a Gorham sterling piece will always be well crafted and will retain its value. As for your fork, I think it's beautiful.

      It's easy to get dizzy when chasing a piece of sterling to ground. You will perhaps smile when I tell you that Gorham Chantilly is perhaps the best loved silver pattern in the USA. Last night, I pulled up Gorham patterns and at first rejected the Chantilly model pictured because of suspected slight 'variations' with yours. Only when I later found a Chantilly model on another website did I venture to posit a pattern match. You will perhaps laugh when I tell you that the original 1895 design was later thought too elaborate and that it was reissued in 1897, with simpler lines and less 'applied lacing'. I think that your piece is the older design. This is not a fish fork, this is a beef fork - surely the serving fork (?), for the utensil-end is so large. Does it measure 6 and 1/8 inches? Don't feel foolish. American silver design was flourishing during this period, and affluent Americans delighted in acquiring 'specialized' flatware pieces. There is a dizzying array of forks, spoons, and serving utensils, many of which were designed for serving only one type of food. The range of pieces in high-end American sterling wardrobes of this period came to exceed the range of both the British and the French, I seem to remember. Two years ago, I was studying some of the 'great' patterns of this period and remember being astounded by the number of different specialized pieces. Then I was astounded by the fact that there was such great variation in the forms/shapes of the 'utensil-end' (vs. the handle end) among the different patterns, such that one pattern's fish fork might look like another pattern's pastry fork. Towle's "Georgian" is one of the most elaborate patterns. More than a few of the Georgian 'utensil-end' forms seems idiosyncratic to me. Without the catalogue facsimile before me to guide me, I was unable to identify a great many of the functions of these pieces. In fact, if I had an invitation to dine with a family that used an old Towle Georgian silver wardrobe, I'd have to bone up on the pieces' functions several days in advance of the meal so that I could get it straight. So don't feel foolish at all. Rejoice that you have a beautiful, original Gorham Chantilly Beef Fork!

      If you have a number of Chantilly pieces, perhaps you'd want to acquire a facsimilie of an early Gorham catalogue. You'd have a picture of a fish fork and of a salad fork, so you could see the difference. Here's a link for a reputable dealer I also saw the Proprietor on You Tube: (Hope I copied this You Tube link properly. I'm not too good at computer things.)
    8. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 12 years ago
      May I say (umm, 'hedge') - a little late, perhaps - that I 'think' that this is the 1895 beef serving fork? I found a picture and made the ID based on the correspondence of the photo with your piece, and on the lack of correspondence between your piece and a photo of the pattern's fish fork I found. Hope I'm right!....Just thought of another example of two pieces from this period that are often confused - terrapin and ice cream forks. Now, that could be embarrassing. Enough from me.
    9. Bootson Bootson, 12 years ago
      Great info miKKoChristmas11, I am starting a new post (Gorham Fork - Beef Serving or Fish?) to try to clear up my fuzziness. I will have new pictures and another question there.
    10. Bootson Bootson, 12 years ago
      Thanks BELLIN68
    11. Bootson Bootson, 12 years ago
      Thanks packrat-place
    12. Bootson Bootson, 12 years ago
      Thanks bratjdd

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