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Nora, Internet Researcher
Category: General
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Experience:  Liberal Arts BA College Degree, Post-Graduate Christie's Education in London, 10 Yrs Art World Experience in NYC, President & Founder own Corporation. Member AOA, USPAP & ISA Compliant through 2019
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Nora please: LIONS HEAD punch ladle STERLING SILVER. I believe the mark to be Gorh

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Nora please: LION'S HEAD punch ladle STERLING SILVER. I believe the mark to be Gorham. 13 1/2".
I saw 2 ladles on Ebay with silver sculptures quite high priced. Go imgur. I have a lt of phtos as I was trying to decipher the PAT. mark. the photos are also in an album
Hi Jean,

Thank you for the request!

You are correct that the Lion, Anchor and Letter G marks indicate that maker of your ladle is Gorham.

I am unable, however, to zoom in on photo so as to see what the markings are after the word "Pat."

In addition, in the photos, I do not see a mark that says "Sterling", "925" or "Martele" - is that on the ladle somewhere? The absence of Sterling or 925 marked on this would indicate it is either coin silver or silverplate. If there is any doubt, the best method would be to take this to a silver/gold buyer to be tested and weighed. That would not cost you anything and you would not be obligated to sell to the buyer - you will find out definitively if your ladle is sterling or plate.

Let me know what marking is past the Pat. word and if there are any sterling marks on this - and I will be able to move forward with a valuation.

In the meantime, I will be stepping away from the computer for a little St. Patrick's festivities. Rest assured I will attend to your question when I return back online.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thx Nora. I am afraid I cannot find any other marks...nor can I easily (20min."search) find Gotham pat. Numbers.I think I see an L then maybe an SS and a bird mark(rooster or flying bird??), but more likely L864. L is for Ladle perhaps. Or it could be 1864.

Why would G. Gold wash a bowl if it was not sterling and why the extra"lip".Hope you had a nice time at the festivities.....I trust the mark dates after 1852.


Here is a link to the ladle with a figure on e Bay i see no sterling mark,or Gorham mark but the handle is partially squared?


No problem with the blue Chinese Figure vase

Hello Jean,

Thank you for your patience.

Allow me to address the questions you have about your Gorham ladle.

If the items are not marked “Sterling” or 925, then the item is not Sterling silver. It is fairly straightforward, and Gorham wouldn’t not mark a piece sterling if it is sterling. If you really want to make sure for yourself the best way would be to take the ladle to a local gold & silver buyer to have the metal tested. Metal buyers do not charge to test the metal, and they will do it right in front of you and you will see the results right in front of you with your own two eyes. You also are not obligated to sell your items through them. In other words, it is a great resource for testing and weighing any of your precious metals.

I have attached two examples of Gorham sterling marks.

If you could provide a clear, in-focus, close-up image of the Pat L??? mark, I would be able to help determine this further. You have loaded many wonderful photos, I just am not able to zoom in on that one area which is crucial information.

If a picture is not possible, then here is a link to the date code symbols:

The last mark on the line with “Pat. L??(figure mark) should match up to one of the marks in the link I have provided above. The matching mark will be the date code.
Let me know what the symbol is and what year it indicates. You mention a flying bird or rooster, there is a flying bird mark for the year 1922 and a rooster profile for 1890.

The L and the numbers are not indicative of the year nor is it an ‘L’ for ladle. Here is a link that outlines the difficulties of the Gorham marking system:

The gold wash would be referred to as “Parcel Gilt” which is used on both sterling and silver plate. It is a decorative element that is a matter of both taste and cohesion if you already owned a set of parcel gilt hollow ware. Parcel gilt was at the forefront of popularity during the Regency era in Great Britain when King George IV was flamboyantly decorating the palace in Brighton.

In the Victorian era, every utensil had a specific purpose, from cheese spoons just for Stilton and forks specific to one kind of vegetable. Your ladle does not have a dip for pouring on each side so presumably it is not for gravy or soup. The shape of the sphere on the ladle looks to indicate it needed to be weighed down, and is most likely a punch bowl ladle. Yours appears to have a Georgian revivial sphere with a rat tail on the back and a Renaissance Revival style decoration (lions’ head).
Here is a link to a site with different ladle shapes.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX link to the piece being offered on Ebay. It is very important to bear in mind that Ebay auctions are not always correct in what they state nor are the prices always realistic. The auctions on Ebay are, for the most part, not conducted by professionals or antique experts, and due diligence is always necessary when bidding on items there. In other words, don’t believe everything the seller wrote about their item, believe the photos and what the pictures tell you about the piece. That ladle is not marked sterling. I personally would not risk that amount of money to pay for a ladle that does not have sterling marked on it. Seems that may be the consensus, since it has not sold yet.

A fancy antique sterling ladle by Gorham could sell for between $1000 - $2000. A silverplate ladle by Gorham, would usually sell for under $500. However, the market is not strong for ladles right now, and even 19th century sterling ladles by Gorham are selling for $175 - $300.

A fair amount (but not all) of the archives from Gorham are housed in the Brown University Library in Rhode Island. This is another resource for researching your piece. It would entail either doing the research on your own by booking at least 2 weeks in advance, or hiring an appraiser to go there on your behalf to conduct research.

My suggestion would be to have the metal tested first. Then, if you want to know more about the exact use and history of the ladle, the next step would be to have it researched against the Gorham archives at Brown University. The archives, however, are not complete, so it is also not a guarantee that the information on your piece will be forthwith.

Let me know if you are able to make a match on a date mark on your ladle, in comparison to the link with date marks. Or you can send a close-up of that patent marking for me.


Attached here are two images of Gorham sterling marks, just for your reference.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Nora, We are going away for a few days ... you have given me a boatload of info to research.

I agree the first thing is to find out what the metals are. We live an hour away from civilization so that may take some time.

In the meantime I will try to up load a set of French desserts spoons for your adicve. I think they are lovely

Hi Jean,

Yes, it was a lot of research. Gorham usually is, especially early pieces and their marks.

Definitely try to match the year mark on the link to the chart with yours.

You may even me able to get home tester kits for silver - although I personally prefer to let someone else do it. Jewelry shops, the mom and pop types should have testers also - just be mindful to bother them to test it when they don't have other customers around - i.e. catch them on a slow day. No shop owner wants to lose a potential sale.

Well, I will keep an eye out for a new question with the French spoons. Clear, in-focus, close-up photos of the marks on the handles will be the most important 'clue' for me.

In the meantime, if you could please take a moment to leave a rating for my services here, I would really appreciate it. Our conversation will continue as long as you please, even after a rating is left.

Thank you!


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