A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU
THE WHAT IS? SILVER DICTIONARY

ITALIAN PSEUDO HALLMARKS

Since 1935 the Italian hallmarking silver is based on a number (e.g 800, identifying 800/1000 silver fineness) and a sort of lozenge (in reality an oblong hexagon) containing two letters (the province code - until 1944 also a "fascio") and one or more digits (the number identifying the maker).
The presence of a personal maker's mark (letters or symbol) is rare.
In objects manufactured in the 1950s/1960s sometimes can be found, besides the official hallmarks (800 and lozenge), one or more pseudo-hallmarks similar to those used in the 19th century in pre-unification states (Lombardo-Veneto, Papal State).
These pseudo-hallmarks were often used to embellish decorative objects made in 19th century style by handicraft or semi-handicraft makers active in the 1950s in Lombardy amd Veneto. The coexistence of the modern marks excluded fraudulent objectives and the pseudo marks were intended only as a token of the inheritance of the ancient local tradition in the workmanship of silver.
Obviously, these "modern" objects were sold by Jewelry dealers and not through Antiques Shops.


hand hammered silver tray with Lombardo Veneto pseudo hallmarks

Unfortunately, the quality of workmanship and the style of these objects led in the following years unscrupulous dealers or collectors (in Italy and abroad) to delete the "modern" marks. The result was that, in some cases, they were fraudulently presented as more valuable pieces of ancient manufacture.
Recently I had the opportunity to see something of new for me. A silver wax jack with the "fascio" lozenge (mark of Fernando Genazzani, Firenze/Florence, period 1935/1944) accompanied by a fac-simile of the crossed keys mark used in the Stato Pontificio (Papal State: 19th century). In this case, is highly dubious the good faith of the seller as the label (now partially torn out) was applied exactly over the lozenge. The modern mark appears to have been deliberately hidden and the probable result was that an unwary collector paid the object as an ancient and more valuable wax jack made in Rome in the 19th century.

Another example of pseudo hallmark of the Stato Pontificio (Papal State) is present in the silver candelabrum in early 19th century style illustrated on bottom page.


hand hammered silver tray: Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks hand hammered silver tray: Italian hallmarks: maker  Bruno Zaramella
Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks coupled to Italian (Republic of Italy) hallmarks, maker Bruno Zaramella, Padua, 30PD, c. 1950/1970

silver coaster: Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks and Italian hallmarks: maker Ditta Soldati di Dabbene Marco, Milan
Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks and Italian hallmarks: maker Ditta Soldati di Dabbene Marco, Milan
Lombardo Veneto (Venice) pseudo hallmarks coupled to Italian (Republic of Italy) hallmarks,
maker Ditta Soldati di Dabbene Marco, Milan, 277MI, c. 1950/1970 (courtesy Dorothea Burstyn/ASCAS)

silver was jack with Papal State (Rome) pseudo hallmarks Papal State (Rome) pseudo hallmarks and Italian hallmarks: maker Genazzani Fernando, Florence
Stato Pontificio (Papal State) pseudo hallmarks coupled to Italian (Kingdom of Italy) hallmarks,
maker Genazzani Fernando, Florence, 71FI, c. 1935/1944 (courtesy Paola Continella)
silver candelabrum with Papal State (Rome) pseudo hallmark Papal State (Rome) pseudo hallmark and Italian hallmarks: maker not identified
Stato Pontificio (Papal State) pseudo hallmark coupled to Italian hallmarks,
maker not identified (courtesy Bruno Busi)

English home page
This is a page of 'The What is? Silver Dictionary' of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu, a 1500 pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington), history, oddities ...
HOME - SITE MAP - SILVER DICTIONARY - COOKIES CONSENT AND PRIVACY