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Silver

Collectable Silver

Collectable Silver includes what is loosely termed bijouterie. These are small collectable objects, which may or may not have a purpose other than to please or delight. They are often novel or risqué and often involve animals. This category can include boxes, scent bottles, children's rattles, menu holders, etuis, wine labels, cigarette cases and vesta cases.

A Victorian silver scent bottle, typical of the collectable silver sold at auction in our salerooms,
        went under the hammer for £370 (FS18/75).

A Victorian silver scent bottle, typical of the collectable silver sold at auction in our salerooms, went under the hammer for £370 (FS18/75).

Silver collectors assemble their collections in different ways. They may collect by maker, by date, by Assay office or by theme (owls, horses, etc) or styles (such as Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and even 1950s chic).

Probably the most popular areas of collecting are wine labels, vinaigrettes and caddy spoons. Wine labels were introduced in the mid 18th century and originally of escutcheon shape with engraved titles to the labels. Later the fashion was to have pierced decoration and title, the shape having changed to a cartouche design. Smaller labels were used to hang around the sauce bottle contained in a cruet. These are also very collectable.

A cased set of six Edwardian silver menu card holders made by Samuel Mordan & Co of Chester in 1904 was sold
        for £380 in our Exeter auction rooms in April 2013 (FS18/78).

A cased set of six Edwardian silver menu card holders made by Samuel Mordan & Co of Chester in 1904 was sold for £380 in our Exeter auction rooms in April 2013 (FS18/78).

Vinaigrettes were introduced from the late 18th century, filled with a sponge soaked in scented water. They were used for inhaling when smells in the street were overpowering. Usually rectangular in shape, they either had floral chased decoration or engine turned decoration. One particular maker, Nathanial Mills, decorated the lids of his vinaigrettes with castle and country house views. Vinaigrettes by Nathaniel Mills are particularly sought after.

Caddy spoons were first introduced from 1780 onwards and come in assorted designs, very often copying the traditional patterns of Old English, Hanoverian, Kings and Fiddle. Novelty caddy spoons come in the form of riding hats and jockey caps.

One other popular area of collection is animal novelties, including pincushions in the form of elephants, hedgehogs, camels or pigs. Menu holders, pepperettes and name place holders in the form of owls are also highly collectable. These are just some of vast range of items to be found in the collectables category.

Specialists

Martin McIlroyMartin McIlroy
Department Head