It could be obvious to assume that miniature silver items such as candlesticks, teapots and plates were samples produced for travelling salesmen or alternatively practice examples made by silversmith apprentices. Although some miniature objects were produced for travelling salesmen by, for example, the ceramic manufacturers Moorcroft and Doulton, in the context of silver this is simply not the case. Miniature silver objects were generally made for those who collect novelty silver items or manufactured as toys to be integrated into extravagant dolls houses.
Silver miniatures are very collectable. A very wide range of miniature silver objects was produced, to the point that nearly all types of objects typically made in silver can be found in miniature form. Typically the more unusual the silver miniatures are, as well as taking into account their age and the maker, the higher the price achieved at auction will be.
Miniature silver objects began to appear during the 17th century with the Dutch considered to be the most prolific producers during this period. Although examples from this period can be found with a full set of marks, the vast majority only bear initials of the maker and, in rarer circumstances, without any marks at all.
The most notable important miniature silver makers are George Manjoy, late 17th century and David Clayton, early 18th century, with both often commanding high prices at auction.
If you have any silver you would like to have valued, please contact Robin Newcombe of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.
- Posted by Robin Newcombe