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Opportunity to acquire a beautiful pre-Revolutionary War silver beer mug

WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 25, 2022 4:16PM in Precious Metals

I collect pre-revolutionary war beer mugs. I love the history. Pubs were common meeting places of our founding fathers, who plotted and planned a revolution while drinking ale and eating mutton.

I know some of you also collect historic silver pieces ( @asheland ) and some have commented they'd like a piece like some of the ones I've posted.

One of my favorite dealers just listed a piece that I feel is a great bargain. If I didn't have 2 similar pieces, I'd have snapped it up already. Its quality, size, and price will probably mean a very quick sale.

This is a mug or cann-- a non-lidded drinking mug. Unlike a tankard, which has a lid on a hinge. It's a common "baluster" form, with a fat bottom and a slight taper toward the top. Most silversmiths who made drinking vessels in this period made mugs virtually identical to this one, and they're actually still made today.
But this has a few subtle flourishes and attention to detail that make it an especially nice example.

The hallmarks on this piece are nice and clear and tell much of its story: This piece was made in London (crowned leopard's head) of sterling silver (passant or walking lion) by William Grundy (WG), a known silversmith whose pieces are included in several museum collections. And it dates from 1773--which you can tell by the fancy script "S".
https://silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/London/Cycle 1756-1775.html

The large and detailed feather or leaf at the top of the thumb rest on the handle, the crystal clear hallmarks, which are often badly worn from centuries of polishing. And this one is bigger than similar mugs. It's heavier at 13.9 troy ounces, and it holds more than 20 fluid ounces, about 30% greater capacity than typical pint (16 fluid ounces) mugs.

It's not engraved, and doesn't appear to have been damaged or repaired.

And the exchange rate is really phenomenal right now, where a British pound is worth just $1.13.
They're asking £975. Which if my math is correct, is only about 4 times melt! And they may be willing to bargain on price.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm not selling it, and I'm not getting commission. They don't even know I've mentioned it here.
You can contact the seller directly. Note that this is NOT an American piece. If it were, it'd be 50 times more rare and would probably be priced at least 10x as high. But is it possible it made it to the American colonies in the 3 years after it was made? Sure. It's possible. :)

https://waxantiques.com/product/george-iii-antique-silver-mug/

We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
--Severian the Lame

Comments

  • USASoccerUSASoccer Posts: 445 ✭✭✭

    Amazing piece! I love sterling

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,543 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That’s awesome! I too want one, but I’m a little funny, I actually want engraving on it. Maybe @ricko ? I know he admires them!

    Ricko:

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,543 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Speaking of, @Weiss I just ordered some silver from England, the exchange rate is awesome currently!

    When they arrive, (hopefully later today) I’ll make a thread and tag you in it.

    These are extreme opposites of these mugs, but I’ll bet you find it interesting. 👍

  • PillarDollarCollectorPillarDollarCollector Posts: 4,574 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice piece of history!!!

    Interest: Latin American history & coins with an emphasis on colonial coinage from Mexico & Peru

    Sports: NHL & NFL

    Thank you Lord for another beautiful day!!!

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is a beautiful piece... just not the style I want. @Weiss KNOWS the one I want... :D;) Cheers, RickO

  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice mug, I like

  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 1,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great piece!
    I love the history that hallmarks Tell
    This Sterling mug is begging to house a cold ale…

    It's all about what the people want...

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 22, 2022 6:26PM

    @ricko said:
    That is a beautiful piece... just not the style I want. @Weiss KNOWS the one I want... :D;) Cheers, RickO

    How's this for selection? :)
    https://waxantiques.com/product-category/drinking-vessels/tankards-and-mugs/

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss.... Some real beauties at that site. Thanks for the link. Cheers, RickO

  • jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,263 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's pretty cool, Weiss. Pretty cool. :)

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
  • HigashiyamaHigashiyama Posts: 2,122 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It’s painful—just too much good stuff to collect!

    Higashiyama
  • Downtown1974Downtown1974 Posts: 6,663 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss that is a spectacular collection! Truth be told, I almost pulled the trigger on that piece you linked above. I have a few other irons in the fire that need to be hammered out first. I’ve really been inspired to pick up a Newcomb College pottery piece ever since you posted your collection some time ago.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss.... Ah yes.... There it is.... ;) Cheers, RickO

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,543 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Downtown1974 said:
    @Weiss that is a spectacular collection! Truth be told, I almost pulled the trigger on that piece you linked above. I have a few other irons in the fire that need to be hammered out first. I’ve really been inspired to pick up a Newcomb College pottery piece ever since you posted your collection some time ago.

    That’s awesome 👍
    Asheland approves.

  • 3stars3stars Posts: 2,278 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 25, 2022 8:56AM

    I'd recommend a visit to the London Silver Vaults if you're ever there, dozens of dealers specializing in sterling silver wares. There are also the IACF antiques fairs, with Newark being the biggest in Europe. Easy to find sterling items near melt at these.

    Previous transactions: Wondercoin, goldman86, dmarks, Type2
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @3stars said:
    I'd recommend a visit to the London Silver Vaults if you're ever there, dozens of dealers specializing in sterling silver wares. There are also the IACF antiques fairs, with Newark being the biggest in Europe. Easy to find sterling items near melt at these.

    Yep! The seller of this cann is Wax Antiques. Located in the Silver Vaults (Vault 31-32).

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is a beautiful set. I only have one silver mug. Mine holds exactly one pint, has a 3-finger fit handle, is a bit toned, and has a few of those fun old hallmarks :)

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 25, 2022 4:23PM

    @Goldminers said:
    That is a beautiful set. I only have one silver mug. Mine holds exactly one pint, has a 3-finger fit handle, is a bit toned, and has a few of those fun old hallmarks :)

    That's a great piece, @Goldminers
    I think I'd be comfortable calling that piece a beer (or wine) flagon, because it's taller and thinner than a typical mug.
    As you probably know, from left to right:
    The passant lion means it's English.
    The crowned leopard means it was made in London.
    The upper case L in the shield dates the piece to 1806.
    The king's head (that's George III, the same guy we fought in the Revolutionary War) means that the duty, or tax, had been paid on that mug.

    I can't make out the maker's hallmark, that would be the mark to the left of the passant leopard, if I'm seeing it clearly.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Goldminers .... Very nice ... That is the style I prefer. Let me know it that becomes available. Cheers, RickO

  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss said:

    @Goldminers said:
    That is a beautiful set. I only have one silver mug. Mine holds exactly one pint, has a 3-finger fit handle, is a bit toned, and has a few of those fun old hallmarks :)

    That's a great piece, @Goldminers
    I think I'd be comfortable calling that piece a beer (or wine) flagon, because it's taller and thinner than a typical mug.
    As you probably know, from left to right:
    The passant lion means it's English.
    The crowned leopard means it was made in London.
    The upper case L in the shield dates the piece to 1806.
    The king's head (that's George III, the same guy we fought in the Revolutionary War) means that the duty, or tax, had been paid on that mug.

    I can't make out the maker's hallmark, that would be the mark to the left of the passant leopard, if I'm seeing it clearly.

    >

    Thank you for the information on the hallmarks. I knew it was 1800 range but not the exact date. It has had a variety of liquids in it over the years but is still in great shape. I rarely ever polish it; I treat it sort of like my coins... ;)

    Took me a while to get a decent close up of the Maker mark. I am quite curious now.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 26, 2022 12:41PM

    @Goldminers said:

    Took me a while to get a decent close up of the Maker mark. I am quite curious now.

    That's a tough one. Partially rubbed hallmarks mean you have to go by other factors. For example, the date. If the piece was made before your smith was alive, before they started working, or after they died, then you know it isn't a match. And if you can find similar pieces by the silversmith you think it might be, especially if the little details match up, then you have a good chance of nailing it down.

    One possibility is Peter & William Bateman. The Batemans were one of the most prominent families of London silversmiths, including Peter, William, Ann, and Hester Bateman, the most famous female silversmiths of the era.

    Each Bateman had their own hallmark (actually many marks over time). And when they worked together, they used a combined mark. Sometimes 3 Batemans would work together on a piece!

    Silver was hallmarked from the year 1285 through today. But Peter Bateman & William Bateman only worked together for a short period of time--from 1805 until 1812. Remember your flagon was made in 1806. So that's a great match.

    Some smiths only made candlesticks. Some only made coffee and tea sets or salt & pepper shakers. But we know that William and Peter both made mugs and tankards. So the type of silver is right. And we know that they made them together, in that really short period of time. More on that, later ;)

    And you can compare the maker's marks. Don't just look at the initials. Pay close attention to the shape of the cartouche, or shape, under the initials. Each maker used a different shape their initials are in--some were oval, some circles, some rectangles, some more like little shields.

    Then you can look at the letters of their hallmarks themselves. See the maker's hallmark on the mug I posted up top? He used fancy, swirling cursive type letters. And many smiths used periods after each initial, or a single dot or lozenge between the letters.

    Now compare the hallmarks.

    Here's your piece and a couple of other hallmarks we know are by Peter & William Bateman. Note that they appear to have only used a square shape. And that square had slightly angled corners. They both used fat, blocky upper case letters. And they didn't use periods or dots after any of their initials.

    Yours 1806

    Another PB & WB mark from 1807

    Yet another PB & WB mark from 1805

    Finally, here's a small christening mug currently on eBay by Peter Bateman and William Bateman from 1806. Note the little crown-shaped flourishes coming up from the top of both the "P" and the "B", especially how they kind of come together in an arrow shape in the middle of the two letters. The same thing appears on your hallmark.

    Looks like a pretty good match. Type of silver fits. Timeline fits. Cartouche and letters are very close. Here's that little tiny christening mug. Might be a neat companion piece for yours, and they're only asking $399 for it!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/143529544547

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • 3stars3stars Posts: 2,278 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just put some sterling in the monthly buy/sell post if interested.

    Previous transactions: Wondercoin, goldman86, dmarks, Type2
  • GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss,

    Thank you for the silver mug research and the detailed information concerning hallmarks and some history on the most likely makers for the one I have. I have saved this information in my display cabinet. Much appreciated.

    I did look at the other sterling mug. It is not the style I like, but it is a very coincidental set of timing. Always fun to learn something new.

  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 1,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss , question on these tankards and such...

    How rare is a weight of a kilogram on any of these vessels?

    I think i remember you posting a giant 44ozer in the past and just wondering...

    It's all about what the people want...

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 27, 2022 7:48PM

    @LukeMarshall said:
    @Weiss , question on these tankards and such...

    How rare is a weight of a kilogram on any of these vessels?

    I think i remember you posting a giant 44ozer in the past and just wondering...

    The heavier ones will be tankards--larger vessels with big hinged lids. Some of them approach that 1000 gram weight, but it seems like very few actually cross it. When they do they sometimes really cross it. Being a precious metals guy, I look for pieces that have heavier weights than typical.

    I've got one that is 874 grams (28.1 troy ounces). Not quite a kilo:

    Jacob Marsh
    London
    1770

    But you're probably thinking of the Mack Daddy:

    John Carter
    London
    1775
    1343.67 grams (43.2 troy ounces) :o

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's me after a month of drinking from that mug. :D
    .

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss... Thanks for the interesting information on hallmarks. I have to check a couple of my older pieces - before I really considered hallmarks etc.. Cheers, RickO

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Looks like that original piece I posted about sold. I hope one of my precious metals comrades snapped her up! :)

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 1,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss said:
    Looks like that original piece I posted about sold. I hope one of my precious metals comrades snapped her up! :)

    I was tempted, especially with the larger capacity and heavier weight, but decided not to delve into this area of collecting just yet... or untill that kilo+ piece comes along...

    In the past after youve posted these tankards, I sleuthed the internet looking for hallmarked cups from my birthyear, but only found small christining cups, and none of the heavier tankards,,, but I know they are out there!

    Thanks for all the info, @Weiss

    It's all about what the people want...

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,543 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome silver Weiss!

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