Dear Reni,

Good morning!

What if, anything, are you able to tell my about the Forbes Silver Company? Other than learning that they became part of the International Sliver Co. in the late 1800's, I don't know anything about them. For instance, did they continue using their mark after combining with ISC?


LB

Dear LB,

The Forbes Silver Company was established in 1894 as a part of the Meriden Britannia Company. The department specialized in quality silver plating of holloware. Holloware refers to larger pieces in the hollowed form such as; teapots, coffeepots, pitchers, bowls, mugs, vases, and including serving trays.

The Meriden area in Connecticut has a long history of silversmithing and the manufacture of pewter and britannia. Many smaller firms organized into the Meriden Britannia Co. to better production methods and supply the public. The company had branches in London and Canada and sales offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. It was the officers of this company that were instrumental in forming the International Silver Company in 1898.

The Forbes Silver Company mark is also listed under the Meriden Britannia Co., Ltd. (the Canadian subsidiary). It may have been used into the 1920's. Cross reference through the Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers, 4th Ed., Dorothy T. Rainwater and Judy Redfield (Schiffer)

Reni

*reference: Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers, 4th Ed., Dorothy T. Rainwater and Judy Redfield (Schiffer)

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Dear Reni,

I recently purchased a pair of cufflinks for my husband that I am told are from the Victorian era, American made pieces. They are round-shaped, 14kt gold filigree design, with a black Greek key design enameled around the edges. The inside of the cufflinks are stamped WAB. I hoped that you might know something about the jeweler that designed them. I purchased them in New York City if that helps any. Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,


KLT

Dear KLT,

Cufflinks were all the "rage" from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century.
The filigree and Greek key design were very popular during the 1920's. The jewelers mark probably belongs to Allsopp-Bliss Company. This firm worked in Newark, NJ from 1915 through the 20's. They were successors to Wordley, Allsopp and Bliss Co. (early 1900's) and succeeded by Allsopp-Steller, Inc. (post Depression - 1973). They all used a WAB mark. Newark was the major manufacturing center in the United States for jewelry production. Over 200 companies existed in the early part of the century. Few survived the depression.
Although your cufflinks are not Victorian, they are from a collectible period in this type of jewelry. I hope your husband enjoys wearing them.

Reni

*reference: Rainwater, Dorothy T., American Jewelry Manufacturers, Schiffer

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Dear Reni,

A friend of mine got a basket for Christmas made by her father. The pattern on the basket is called a Victorian Bride Basket. What is a Victorian Bride Basket? Is there such a thing, and if so, does it have a meaning?

Your help appreciated,


L

Dear L,

Bride's baskets in the Victorian Era were popular decorative pieces, usually made of pretty glass, (sometimes cased with fluted edges) and cradled in holders of sterling or silver plate. Designs can be plain or highly ornate.
Cake baskets (also used to serve bread and fruit) were made all in silver or silver plate. They were oval or round in shape and often had pierced or reticulated sides.
Both types of baskets averaged from 9" to about 14" in diameter and incorporate handles to carry them.
You did not mention the material from which your friend's basket was made. The pattern was probably made to resemble the Victorian forms and therefore carrys on the charming tradition.

Reni

*reference: Bingham, Don and Joan. Tuttle Dictionary of Antiques and Collectables Terms, Charles E. Tuttle Co.

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Dear Reni,

I am looking for a Victorian lorgnette, a single magnifying lens on a necklace. It doesn't have to be old, in fact I want it to be totally clear and useable. I have seen them at the Dickens Festival in England, and also in a wholesale catalog, but never for sale by retail.
Do you know where I might find one? In England I found many that were made of silver spoons, but that isn't what I want.

Thank you,


JB

Hi JB,

The lorgnette was a popular and practical fashion accesory in the late 19th century through the 1920's. The traditional form consisted of a pair of eyeglasses that folded together (looking like a single lens). They often slid into a cover that became the handle when the glasses were clicked open. They were made in all sorts of materials (such as silver, silverplate, gold, tortoise, horn and ivory), and accompanied by long matching chains.

I've seen reproductions in eye-wear stores, but the older lorgnettes are much nicer. Sometimes the lenses can be replaced at a good optical center.

Good Luck,

Reni


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Dear Reni,

Can you appraise my silver pieces or recommend a reliable company, if I E-mail a full description of the Manufacturer, Pattern Name & Number along with a jpg picture???
Please advise.
I maybe interested in selling.

Thanks,


C

Hi C,

In order to do a valid appraisal, an appraiser must see the pieces. If they are sterling, weight and condition are important factors. Check your local directory under Appraiser's associations, and they can recommend someone objective and reliable in your area.

There are companies that specialize in the buying and selling of patternware. Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, North Carolina is one. Check their website at www.replacements.com.

Good Luck,

Reni


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