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Curious about this R Wallace piece

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Silver Salt and Pepper41 of 51Vintage lot bought today - unidentified thimble #1 (turns out is a salt shaker top)Silver Salt and Pepper Shakers
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    Posted 10 years ago

    (1 item)

    I came across this R Wallace piece and was curious if anyone has any info. I did some research and I see that R Wallace made mostly flatware, spoons etc. I see many pieces online, but nothing like this. It appears to be a Salt, Pepper and maybe a toothpick holder. I'm curious on a date range and a possible value.

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    1. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 10 years ago

      Hi, very nice item. I don't think any of these vessels are for toothpicks. The shaker cap on all three vessels indicates that they contained something to be applied by shaking. Salt, pepper, and sugar seem most likely to me.

      Yes, this was made by the well-known American silver firm we know today as Wallace Silversmiths. We think of them today as manufacturers of fine sterling flatware, but they also produced silverplate flatware, hollowware, dresser items, and numerous other species of silver objects. The silver concern began relatively small in 1835, but has since undergone numerous expansions and corporate reincarnations. Wallace has produced many 'lines' under many hallmarks over the years. Your item is silverplated. The maker's mark on your piece corresponds to one of the Wallace hallmarks listed in Dorothy Rainwater's “Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers”, 5th ed., pp. 263-265. The most interesting elements of the markings are the words "TEA ROOM" and "PHILADELPHIA". They indicate to me that this is an item of “Hotel silver”. I think that this was produced for a particular tea room located in Philadelphia. R. Wallace manufactured silver goods for commercial enterprises such as hotels and restaurants. They also produced a line(s?) for the U.S. Navy (perhaps circa 1908). I can’t now provide a firm date range for you, but the ‘silver soldered’ mark will probably provide you with a reasonable date range. You can also do research to find out how many years Wallace produced hotel silver. As I said, Wallace had numerous ‘incarnations’ and numerous hallmarks, however, there is only one hallmark associated with ‘silver soldered’ in Rainwater. I’d concentrate your research on finding “R. WALLACE” with “SILVER SOLDERED”, and the tea room/Philadelphia. “04” is the manufacturer’s item ID number. (In 1959, the Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster Pennsylvania purchased Wallace Silversmiths, but I don’t see an indication in Rainwater that the firm ever produced in Pennsylvania or in Philadelphia. No other mention of Pennsylvania. FYI, Wallace has experienced ‘reincarnations’ since this 1959 acquisition, and is active today.) As for value, I really can’t say. I'm not an appraiser. If there is no silver loss, this would be a desirable item. Unlike so many of these vintage cruet/shaker ensembles, the pattern is understated, and the item would coordinate with many silver patterns. If my life depended on me offering a value range, I'd say that I think it would sell well under $200, perhaps well under $100, and perhaps around $50.

    2. sandjcoins, 6 years ago
      i have the same one but mine is sterling marked RW.
    3. cmartiniwright, 2 years ago
      I have this same item but mine makes no reference to Philadelphia or Tea Room. In addition to R. Wallace 04 Silver Soldered, mine has initials of "M.H." Any idea what that represents? Thank you!!

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