DESCRIPTION Unusual and rare antique English Victorian solid sterling silver reproduction of an early Georgian mote spoon. Probably made as a novelty as by the 1880s tea was significantly more refined than that of the 1720s to 1740s so the mote spoon was no longer a necessity in your tea equipage. This mote spoon has never seen use.
"Why can't this be an 18th century example?" I hear the more discerning of you asking. Firstly the feel, just a bit too heavy, the metal thick throughout. I would expect wear to an original example as they were made to be used. Rings around the spike from the tea pot grills and bowl wear to the right or left of the tip dependant on the handedness of the user. The long rat-tail to the bowl back is an early Georgian feature rarely seen after 1750 on any silver other than later reproductions. For the early Georgians, silver metal was expensive but highly skilled labour relatively cheap. I would expect much finer and more detailed hand pierced work and less metal. By the 1880s the machines had taken over much of the manufacturing processes and a highly skilled hand-piercer was hard to find and relatively expensive. The hand-pierced work to this example incorporates the standard features but there is little flair, it is acceptable quality rather than exceptional. The hallmarks look ok for an original example being placed low down the stem and lacking both date and assay town. However, if making a reproduction you would also do this and strict assay rules on positioning and completion could be overlooked for small items and not considered a crime. The sterling mark is the lion passant introduced in 1756, used until modern times and the incorrect punch outline for the period of the rat-tail. The S.M maker's mark, still beautifully crisp, does not fit any registered mark of the early Georgian period yet is a perfect match for Sampson Mordan, a maker known for fine quality small and novelty items.
SILVERSMITH Sampson Mordan & Co. (the mark registered in October 1880)
DATE or HALLMARK 1880-90, no date letter but '& Co' added to mark in June 1890
LENGTH 5 ", 140mm
SILVER STANDARD 925 sterling silver
CONDITION excellent, never used, the little pin-pricks still visible around the outside of the piercings are the marking-out by the piercer to aid positioning of their work, the moveable black spot in the images is only a reflection

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