The fascination for me about collecting antique silver is all about being able to trace when and who by the piece was made. It is therefore gratifying if the hallmarks are in good condition and have not been rubbed, sometimes in their entirety, by an over enthusiastic housekeeper!
Some antique silver collectors will specialise in just a particular maker's name, some of which are much more collectable than others. However, the mark struck on a piece of antique silver might not necessarily be the mark of the silversmith who actually made the piece.
Most products have been produced through a workshop employing several different craftsmen. They would have specialised skills in hand raising, casting, assembly and polishing. The master who runs and owns the silversmith workshop will put his mark on that piece of antique silver.
Two of the silversmiths revered most are Paul de Lamerie and Paul Storr. Click here to see Paul Storr's mark on a classic William 1V antique silver teapot available through Warners Antique Silver. It is thought that the majority of Storr and Lamerie's work is produced by the workshop rather than the silversmith himself.
On occasion one silversmith would pass a piece of antique silver through the assay office for another who might have not had a registered mark. Paul de Lamerie was on occasion rebuked by the Goldsmith's Company for involvement in this practice.
Similarly, a retailer would sometimes overstrike the mark of a specialist silversmith. The Batemans are a famous family of silversmiths whose work is very collectable especially if by Hester or William. Some of their pieces have been overstruck by the retailer George Grey.