As I mentioned yesterday, my friend David and I attended an auction…in a dive warehouse in a bad part of town. While we both swore we weren’t going to bid on anything, we both bid on lots of things.
This auction was more like a country auction than a proper auction. There were tables and tables of things, and each person would wander around, pick up a collection of pieces that they wanted, and then take them up to the auctioneer. At that point, you’d hope that no one else spotted what you had and bid against you.
Tucked away in a box of junk, I spotted this sweet little silver vase. It was disgustingly filthy and tarnished to black. But I thought it had nice lines and I liked the engraving on it.I started working on cleaning it this afternoon, and after about two hours, I’d gotten half of the piece polished. In doing so, I uncovered a little hallmark that I’d not spotted yesterday. Nor had the auctioneer. Although it’s hard to decipher, the characters from left to right are a shield with HW&Co in it. Then an M and an S, EP and then a pair of crossed keys. Using these clues, I found out that the maker is Henry Wilkinson & Co. The firm was founded in 1760. In 1829, the firm was active as Henry Wilkinson & Co and in 1872, was converted into a limited liability company under the name Henry Wilkinson & Co Ltd. In 1892, the firm was acquired by Walker & Hall which used a different set of marks.