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Doris, Antiques Appraiser
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 9819
Experience:  Antiques store owner 10+yrs.Best of City Two Years. Collector 56+yrs.USPAP compliant. Member AOA.Founded part of antiques, silver & art collection at local museum.
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I have been sent an antique sterling soup ladle. The seems

Customer Question

I have been sent an antique sterling soup ladle. The mark seems to be an old man's head. There are no other marks on this item. It is not showing signs of much wear. I do not recognize the pattern on the handle and around the top of the ladle portion.
The claim is that it belonged to an ancestor of mine who lived between 1764-1820...born & died in Scotland, but was in Canada for some years as well.
It came to me by way of another distant relative who moved into a Senior's residence recently & his new neighbour was a Danish man who had this item from his late wife, who was British & had been given it with the story of its provenance by an old Scottish lady.
Any ideas?
Thank you
Sharie XXXX
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Antiques
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can I send you a picture of the item? Perhaps the pattern is distinctive enough to narrow down the time frame?
Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is Doris.
I have been an antiques collector, dealer and appraiser for over 56 years.
I will be pleased to help you.

Please know that I cannot accept any requests for "live conversations" such as phone calls. I must research data to give the most accurate answer.

Besides there are extra site charges to you for live conversations.

Please ignore any "rate" me messages until you see my complete answer with the value.

Yes, I will need photos.

Please send me at least one of the whole ladle front and back.

Please send me a photo of the marks - the old man's head.

You may need to use the macro function (flower icon) of your camera to get a good clear photo of the marks.

If you cannot get a good photo, then sketch the marks and take a photo of the sketch.

To send photos you may use the "attach" or "add" link or "paper clip" you see on your reply page.

If none is there, then you may use the free internet photo site Use the following instructions:

Go to

a. Click "Computer"
b. Find the photo file on your computer that you want to send
c. Click open on the file
d. You will see a Start Upload link on the page.
Click on it
e. Your image will appear on the screen
f. Highlight and copy the address link under Direct Link
to the right on the imgur page
g. Paste that link into your reply box on Just Answer

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Doris....I have taken several pictures & can email them to you....what address do I use for email?
Thank you.
Sharie XXXX
President, Clan MacKenzie Society of Canada & Lieutenant to Cabarfeidh
Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

This is the official explanation of how to send photos via email:
Please follow the questions exactly or they will not get to me.

Send the picture to,***@******.***

In the subject line put " Pictures for˜Doris in Antiques or Appraisals."
In the body of the message put, your user name and name.
Make sure to send these from the same address that you registered with
just answer,so they can verify who you are.

This method takes longer because the photos are sent to the Just Answer
techs who must forward them to me.
They will forward them to me and as soon as I get them I will contact you.

Sometimes the email takes 24 hours to get to me because it must first be processed by Just Answer.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you send me an email address please to send the photos.....I can not get them to attach properly otherwise. Thank you.
Sharie XXXX
P.S. This item is of great interest to the Clan MacKenzie, if it can be verified as belonging to the person to whom the last owner believed it belonged.
Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

I cannot give you my personal email address. All email photos must be sent using the directions in my previous response.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just Answer please stop sending me rating memos.....I just sent the pictures to you for Doris today....she will likely receive them tomorrow & then do her research. Thank you.
Sharie XXXX
Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I have been protesting that site practice most of the afternoon.

Kind regards,


Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

I have received your photos. They are just what I need. It will take a good amount of research to give an age. The ladle is beautiful and very unusual.

Please allow me time to research the data required by your question, calculate current values and write my answer.

I thank you in advance for your patience.

Kind regards,


Expert:  Doris replied 2 years ago.

Your ladle was an interesting study.

It was made in Canada as the marking states in English "sterling" which was a designation for 925 (sterling quality) used by many Ameriican (after mid 19thC) and Canadian silversmiths (much earlier). Since 1556 in Edinburgh and 1681 in Glasgow the marks designating 925 or better 950 silver have been symbols, not the word "sterling." These two cities along with the Scottish provinces, did not use the word "sterling."

The style of the ladle shows a French influence as well in its flowing lines and bowl lip decoration. There were many French Canadians living in Canada at the time your ancestor was there.

Without initials, the Canadian silversmith is very difficult to determine.

My best thought is that it was made by one of the many European immigrants to Canada during the 18th and early 19thC.

One such maker was ***** ***** who was born and apprenticed in Edinburgh but lived and worked in Canada 1813-1835. He used a man's head with the word "sterling" in his marking. I found that he also often used his initials AR along with a man's head and "sterling" so I cannot say it was positively he that made it.

There were no standard regulations on the quality of silver in Canada during the period your ancestor would have been there. It was a matter of pride and marketing that the word "sterling" appeared. The standardized regulations came later to Canada as they did in USA.

There were also few "pattern" names at this time. Each piece was made by hand. Something like a soup ladle would have been its own unique design.

In conclusion, I determined that your soup ladle is late 18th/early 19thC Canadian made sterling silver.

Its current retail antiques store value would be $2600-2900 assuming excellent condition.

A private seller to a dealer can expect 30-60% of retail value.

I hope I have helped you.

If I can help you with further questions about this answer, please let me know before you rate me.

All my answers are quoted in USA dollars.

I endeavor to give realistic, honest answers in a timely manner.

Please take a little time to give me a POSITIVE RATING now so that I am compensated by JA for my time and effort. This is of no cost to you.

Please do not rate me down because of system difficulty, site charges or current appraisal values - all three are beyond my control.

Please let me know if you have difficulty with the site's rating system. To rate me, you should see 5 stars near my answer. 5 stars gives me the best rating.

Kind regards.