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UPDATE........MYSTERY POCKET FLASK w/hallmark picture

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English Silver111 of 145Silver ? Dish with a Lion Head1907 Sterling Silver Travel Lighter?  English
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Posted 5 years ago


(1 item)

UPDATE! IWAS FINALLY ABLE to photograph the hallmark. My mystery flask. The more I research it, the less I know. The woven shoulder is a work of art and a tribute to someone's patience and talent. The cup is silver and I cant seem to match the mark. The first stamp is a "B" inside a bouche. The cap's hallmark shows that it is Victorian. My photography skills leave a lot to be desired. I have many pictures of bright flashes and reflections of my hand, but not any of a clear hallmark. Once after many many hours of searching, I found a picture of another one. I got so excited that I hit the wrong key and everything disappeared, froze up and got lost somewhere in cyberspace. I have never able to find it again. Therefore, the flask and I have a love-hate relationship. Ain't she grand.

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    I know it's hard, but a good photo of the marks really necessary to identify it properly. Can you try it in daylight, no flash? Macro sometimes helps, but I find it usually makes things worse. If you can get a clear picture of them, I can download it and work with it to help bring them out and enlarge them.
    I found one similar, though NOT the same. It's just over 5 1/2 inches tall, it's glass with woven shoulder cover and removable sterling cup on the bottom. It was shown with the following information:
    "Old Georgian 1802 English Sterling Glass & Rattan Flask Presented is an antique, English sterling silver and glass flask made by James Darquits Jr. of London in 1802. The underside is marked with the lion passant for sterling silver, a duty mark of King George III's head, a date letter G for the year 1802 and James Darquits Jr's hallmark." You can see it here:
  2. smee, 5 years ago
    I appreciate the offer, Chinablue. I have not had much luck at photographing it, but I'll give it another go over the weekend. Thanx again for offering your help.
  3. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    I just had a minute for right now but wanted to take a look at your new photo. EXCELLENT shot! I'll see what I can find out about the hallmarks. I'll let you know what I can find out. :-)
  4. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    I did a little quick research but so far haven't found anything. Because of that, I'm wondering if these are 'pseudo' hallmarks since they don't readily make me think of particular country or perhaps one of the central European countries because of so many territorial disputes and border changes. You said that the hallmarks on the top dated it as Victorian era. Do you think that the top might not be original to the piece, or perhaps the cup isn't? It seems that they should probably be the same, don't you think? Anyway, I'll look around a bit more in the next few days and hopefully I can find something for you. If miKKo has some extra time, she would be a great help, so I may put out an APB for her to stop by and have a look. :-)
  5. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    Ahoy miKKo! ! (Or Sherlock if you prefer ;-).. can you take a look at these hallmarks and see what comes to mind?
  6. smee, 5 years ago
    I am as proud of the picture as I am the flask. It has a threaded cap with victoria, the standard lion , "O" and the last is worn. It was in a box of things that I selected when my Aunt passed away last year. It seems as though the flask is just as much of a mystery as my family. Let the hunt commence!!!!
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    I'd go for pseudo marks. They are not British silver marks.
    This is an amazing document:
  8. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    Thanks, vetraio! I was beginning to think I was missing something. The pseudos can be SO wacky and hard to find sometimes. And from what I saw, that IS an amazing document. I'll have to get my bifocals and get busy reading that one. Thanks for sharing that link. :-)
  9. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, all! Chinablue, sorry! Didn't see your appeal until just a moment ago. I have no opinions that I can offer as "intelligent opinions", and hope you'll settle for some humble ones. : )

    When I first saw this piece, I thought it most handsome. Restrained, classic. I revisit this tonight and see the photo with a strange string of hallmarks, and think - what very odd hallmarks! Some of the punch 'shapes' are not symmetrical, and I find the first - third hallmark symbols unrecognizable, which is not a good thing in a hallmark. The only two symbols I recognize are the 'fleur de lis' (or is that the Prince of Wales' Feathers?) and the six-pointed star. I looked through Vetraio's marvelous new reference work - and promptly saved it to my favorites list, along with your porcelain painters' link! - and I did not find therein a match. After looking at the hallmark string on this flask, I hypothesized that this was probably not made by a 'high-end' producer. But the excellent quality of the woven work seemed at first glance inconsistent with an item of lesser quality. However, upon reflection, perhaps it would not be inconsistent. If this weaving was produced in a what was once or is now a third world country, or in a country with this tradition of woven handiwork, the weaving might have been obtained with low wages. Hope that makes sense.

    A good photo of the cup rim might provide some good clues as to its quality. Probably not made by a high-end firm, but possibly this item is of very fine quality throughout.

    I think that it's a wonderful flask! Very stylish. After the manner of 'Colonial Style"? Caveat: I do not have good graphics resolution on my laptop, and so cannot see very well, and I also know nothing about the flask genre. Best wishes for success!
  10. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, smee. Must apologize for my posting last night! I was quite exhausted, and accidentally blasted your beautiful flask. So sorry! I should have said that your flask is beautiful, and that I'd never encountered the hallmarks before, and that it was probably not made by one of the better known firms. FYI, my favorite silver trophy was made by a silversmith who is well respected by silversmiths but whose work is today not as well known or esteemed as it should be. It's a trophy for a 'boat' race, and the sea horses are real horses with fins. It would astonish you. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of it at the moment....Anyway, I love your beautiful flask, and I apologize for my thoughtless comments last night. I hope that you'll post many more of your treasures.
  11. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    I was wondering if it's possible the cup is an add-on or perhaps replacement at a later time. Maybe from a different country? I would think it possible to lose the cup or have it meet some untimely accident that would require another to be made. I've wondered about the flask itself, smee. I'm thinking it's most likely glass.. and wondered if IT had any markings on it. *LOL* I'm seeing these hallmarks in my sleep now so we have to come up with SOMETHING! :-)
  12. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    miKKo, I was looking at what all you had written, and was looking at the hallmarks again.. and I think you may be on to something with the "Prince of Wales Feathers". The mark that is really giving me trouble for searching is the second one.. I'm clueless as to what it may be. The 3rd one is maybe a bell? Also, smee.. though we haven't seen the hallmarks on the top, I've been working on the premise that it is sterling and british from what you alread know. The cup shows no markings in the pictures of IT being sterling, so do you think that may be even more evidence that the cup is not original? What do you think? I would think with a sterling top, and such intricate and precise weaving that the cup would be too. Hmmm.. I'll get back to you when I mull this over a little more. :-)
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    I've had another look at those marks. What is interesting to me is that the outline of each one is quite different. The fleur-de-lys is within something that looks six sided, the star within an eight-sided shape, the 'viking's helmet?' within an eight, the B has another 8 and is the 'rook/castle' in a six-sided cartouche?
  14. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    vetraio50, I agree wholeheartedly. I found that odd also. The comment you make about the viking's helmet, made me see that mark a lot differently. I just couldn't put a name to it besides 'bell' and it took my daughter to come up with that for me. Also, your comment about the rook/castle... late last night, I was researching the Prince of Wales Feathers and found it in reference to a 'single wheat sheaf' mark. Does that sound like a reasonable description of the second mark to either you or miKKo?
  15. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, all! I've been working on a response to Vetraio and chinablue's excellent comments. Draft is quite long and not finished. Must attend to 'real life' responsibilities this afternoon, but will return tonight with remarks on pseudo hallmarks. Right now, I will confine myself to the following.

    IMHO: Cap/’cup’ and flask not an original duo if they have such different hallmarks. Is the cap a firm fit? Or is it a trifle loose? Need photo of hallmarks on cap/’cup’ to say anything about it as an object. The photo you’ve provided of the hallmarks on the base is superb, smee! I know that it’s hard to photograph silver and shiny surfaces, but perhaps you would have some luck if you avoided using the flash, and used a bright natural light. You can open up another show and tell entry and call it ‘Mystery Pocket Flask II’, or similar. You could try to photograph the cap hallmarks singly, or in groups of two – on an angle. Photo of rim of cap with a view of the interior might prove helpful to discussion of the cap, too.

    IMHO: Suspect you may well be correct, chinablue, when propose that this is most likely a glass flask, and that the silver base has been imposed over glass. Also, does anyone find the sheen on the ‘raffia- type’ woven section covering the shoulder and the neck odd? Smee, is the material from which the woven portion has been fashioned a natural grass or reed-product, or, is the weaving ‘thread’ a man-made substance? Perhaps something that shares some traits with a more ‘elastic’ plastic?

    RE identification of pictorial hallmarks. Not considering what the sign value (vs. symbolic value) for these marks is, but considering the marks only as pictures of 'something’, I make the following remarks. With caveat - very poor resolution/graphics on my laptop.

    I cannot see any hallmarks on the cap/'cup'.

    I am amazed at your ability to apprehend the pictorial value of the first - third hallmarks. Vetraio may well be quite correct re first hallmark. I don't think second hallmark is a rook, as both terminals seem to me to be comprised of three projecting 'hemi-globules'. No, I think this mark is much more consistent with a wheat sheath than a rook, but I’m also not confident that it’s a match, as sheaths of grain usually have a flatter base. Frankly, a bone is what came to my mind, and I promptly discarded the idea as silly. Viking helmet? I started laughing when I saw this hallmark. Angel? -NO!, I said. I have zero intelligent opinion on the third hallmark. Suppose it could be a helmet of some sort!

    Now, I refer the hallmark field, or the 'cartouche' (with apologies to those who strictly adhere to heraldic terminology), as a 'shape' for convenience. Yes, they are striking. As previously remarked, not symmetrical.

    The 3-D pictorial element within some of the 'shapes' does not appear to be 'clean' and 'clear'. Don't know if the flaw is in the design or in the execution. Could be both. Think it much more likely that the flawed pictorial elements are the result of less than excellent design. The 'shapes'/cartouches look to have been firmly and deeply impressed, and I see no significant erosion, such as would occur with age and years of polishings. That is my humble opinion. I can't see very well, and have few intelligent opinions about the quality of metal impressions.

    These are my humble opinions. Cheering you on to victory! Which might ultimately consist in a wise judgment that we might never identify the hallmarks on the silver base of this flask. Must fly! Later.... : )

  16. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Good morning, all! Have about three typewritten pages on pseudo hallmarks, but think right now that the most prudent thing for me to do is to ask smee for some information about the country in which this was aquired - if smee knows, and/or, what country in which the relative who owned this lived, if known. Will help narrow down the field.

    Just so you don't reduplicate my searches. Don't find this mark in Dorothy Rainwater's 5th edition, or on, or on silvercollection, or on Sterling Flatware Fashions. Think that Vetraio's reading of the "B" is a most excellent advance, and that uncovering its referent might well be the key to solving the mystery of the flask. Conducted Google searches for this particular hallmark and came up empty handed. I think that a combing of silver forums might be the way to go. Another avenue might be to get a better photo of the flask and use it in a Google images search. If the cap/cup is a replacement, I don't think that this would work, however. Question. Do you detect plate-wear near the hallmarks - perhaps a copper or brass base showing through a silver plating? Thanks all.
  17. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, all! Did some quick rummaging around for similar flasks, and found quite a few with this contour of cap and type of base. The portion of the bottle covered by 'rafia'-type weaving on smee's flask was covered by leather on most of them. Found no rafia-type examples. I learned some things from this search. The silver bottom/sleeve often comes off. Smee, does it come off on yours? The caps on flasks like this are often connected to the bottle by a hinge. Is there a silver collar on the neck of the bottle to which your cap is connected by a hinge? If so, I think it most likely! that the cap is original to the bottle, and that the base is the non-original part. Some of these, however, had caps that screw all the way off. Some of them looked like one would simply insert a purchased flask of whiskey into the silver sleeve/base and replace the liquor manufacturer's cap with the flask's cap. I found examples with leather dating from the mid 1800's to the 1920's. They were all of British origin. Perhaps they are still made. Found some sterling, and some silverplated. Oh, smee, could you please tell us how tall your flask is? I don't know much about flasks, but my search made me question whether this is a pocket flask - the ones I saw that looked similar to your were referred to as 'hip flasks'. Thanks, smee!
  18. smee, 5 years ago
    All of you are terrific. I really appreciate your help. Here is some of the information that you asked for. The flask came from Sommerset, England. It's 4" high. The cap fits well but if snugged up too far, it will continue to turn. The cap has 5 shield marks total. Four in a line and an "N" lower and to the left of the others. The cap shows signs of being dropped or dinged. It could have been repaired but I can't say for cetain. Weave is natural grass or reed. I can detect no signs of wear showing brass or copper. I can't understand why the split shield or "bouche" since it is so different isn't a better clue.
  19. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Season's Greetings to you and Yours, Smee!
  20. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, smee! Hope you are well. I have been thinking about this item of yours and don't think that I have anything intelligent to add. We can't read hallmarks on the cap from your description, and I haven't been able to find the hallmarks on the silver sleeve. A couple of weeks ago, chinablue said that she had just about run out of ideas. So, I am regretfully going to relinquish my hand. Best wishes for finding a solution to this attractive flask! And best wishes for a Merry Christmas to you! Regards, miKKo
  21. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    *°·`*~~ SEASON'S GREETINGS - SMEE!~~*`.°*

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