I’ve been seriously collecting and researching antique and vintage silver for over 25 years. When I was very young, perhaps 6 or 7, my Grandmother (who is now 105!) imparted to me what became a life-long interest in antiques. So many things she would point out to me had a tale associated with them. The idea that ‘things’ could have a story captured my imagination and interest.
Silver, in particular, captured my interest because no other functional item in our houses is made of a precious metal. It is that juxtaposition of the everyday and the precious that really fascinated me. To eat my everyday cereal with an object made of precious metal…that was worth thinking about.
When in University, I really began to explore this interest. Ostensibly, my B.Sc. in International Relations, M.Sc. in Environmental Policy from the London School of Economics and M.A. in War Studies from King’s College, London were preparing me for my first career as a consultant.
However, while there, in combination with academic knowledge, I gained invaluable perspective that I use every day in Silver Magpies. In London, the museums, the shops, the city itself, all of it is a vital monument to the history, art, economics, politics, and fashions of the past. An important lesson in how the past is relevant today.
The forces that shape a piece of silver into a functional piece of silverware are more than just a silversmith’s tools. While the mallets and anvils affect the piece in the most direct manner, nothing is ever made in a vacuum. There is the smith to consider, and all of the experiences, opinions, and circumstances he or she has encountered.
My interest is in deciphering, recording, and disseminating the stories hidden within silverware. You wouldn’t believe how much a simple spoon has to say.
Take the example of silversmith George Hanners. In 1720, in Boston he recorded a mark that was his initials surmounted by a crown. About 10 years later, he re-registered a mark. This time it was his initials alone. That simple change speaks volumes about how political opinions of the time were resonating with Mr. Hanners. Already, citizens of Boston were distancing themselves from the British Colonial power.
It is this combination of technical and academic knowledge, along with a broader historical perspective that I bring to you.
I truly believe we should use and enjoy what we have. I say it time and time again, but what is the point of being fortunate enough to have beautiful things if we save them for best – and end up never using them. Silverware in particular, was made to be used.
In addition to dealing, I also write and research silverware. In addition to projects for private clients, I also write for a number of digital publications, including my own blog. Additionally, I am a featured columnist for Silver magazine.
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