1900′ U.K. & U.S.A. silver thimbles

Charles Horner Sterling Silver Thimble,
Diamond Pattern, Chester 1913

DESCRIPTION

Sterling silver thimble by Halifax thimble maker Charles Horner. Diamond or waffle pattern top and flat rim – Charles Horner Catalogue No. 320.

Hallmarked on the plain flat rim: 11 (the size), C·H (for Charles Horner), the lion passant for sterling silver, the Chester (town shield) Assay Office mark and the date letter script “N” for 1913.

In excellent condition – in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.3 cm; internal base diameter 1.4 cm; weight 3.1 grams.

Charles Horner Sterling Silver Thimble,
Plain Pattern, Chester 1897

DESCRIPTION

Victorian sterling silver thimble by Halifax thimble maker Charles Horner. Plian knurled top, narrow border and faceted turn over rim – Charles Horner Catalogue No. 213.

Hallmarked in the narrow border: 10 (the size), C.H (for Charles Horner – the maker), the lion passant for sterling silver, the Chester (town shield) Assay Office mark and the date letter upper case “O” for 1897.

In excellent condition – in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.2 cm; internal base diameter 1.4 cm; weight 2.6 grams.

Vintage Birks Canada Sterling Silver Thimble

DESCRIPTION

Vintage sterling silver thimble with textured daisy pattern top over a waffle border and deep flat rim. Stamped 12 (the size) and BIRKS STERLING for Birks – the prestigious Canadian firm of jewellers. In excellent condition – in round with no holes, dents, damage or repairs. Crisp detail – it looks unused. Height approx. 2.1 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.3 cm; weight 4.4 grams.

The style and design of the thimble is reminiscent of those made in the mid twentieth century by James Swann & Son formerly of 25 Hylton Street, Birmingham, England so it may well have been made by them for Birks Canada.

Waite, Thresher Co. Sterling Silver Thimble, Fretwork Border, ca 1900

Sterling silver two band thimble by Waite, Thresher Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, ca 1890-1915.

Plain knurled top over a plain band and relief fretwork pattern border on a reeded background.

Plain band engraved with the initials H·M·C. Marked under the crown with the Waite, Thresher Co. Thimble-in-Star mark, STERLING and the size number (7).

Some needle scratches on the plain band and very slightly off round but free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.5 cm; weight 3.1 grams.

This thimble design is documented in Gay Ann Rogers’ American Silver Thimbles, p.123, plate 36, and is dated c. 1890-1915. She writes: “a fretwork pattern so stylized it reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement either through an Art Deco or American Indian design. The raised pattern appears in sharp contrast to the finely reeded background.”

A. J. Davenport & Co Sterling Silver Thimble, Chester 1896

DESCRIPTION

Sterling silver thimble by A. J. Davenport & Co formerly of 48 Clerkenwell Road, London EC. Plain knurled top, engraved wriggle work border, vacant cartouche and faceted turn over rim.

Hallmarked in the border: 9 (the size), A·J·D&CO (for A J Davenport & Co ), the lion passant for sterling silver, the Chester (town shield) Assay Office mark and the date letter uppercase “N” for 1896.

In excellent condition – in round with no holes, dents, damage or repairs. Height approx. 2.2 cm; diameter approx. 1.5 cm; weight 3.3 grams.

Charles Horner Sterling Silver Registered Design Thimble, ca 1887

DESCRIPTION

Large size 3 sterling silver thimble by Charles Horner of Halifax. “Diamond” or waffle pattern top, one row Ottoman border (engraved stars on a reeded band) and flat rim.

There are 3 marks on the rim: RD 73626 (registered on May 11, 1887 – see note below), C·H (for Charles Horner) and 3 (the size).

The rest of the Chester assay marks one might expect to find are missing. They are not rubbed or worn but were simply never applied. This omission must have been an oversight.

As the thimble has the Design Number however it was made between 1887 and 1900.

In excellent condition – in round with no holes, dents, damage or repairs. Height approx. 2.7 cm; internal base diameter 1.8 cm; weight 9.3 grams.

This thimble design is listed in a ca. 1900 Charles Horner Catalogue as No. 500 where it is described as: Diamond Top, One Row Ottoman Border, Flat Rim.

The RD number 73626 on this thimble is of course the wrong number. The RD number for the Charles Horner Diamond pattern thimble was RD 73624.

RD number 73626 was in fact accorded to a device for testing miners’ lamps!

RD Number 73624 – An Explanation

Norma Spicer and Diane Pelham Burn in British Registered Design Thimbles explain further:

RD Number 73624 registered May 11, 1887 by Charles Horner of Halifax – owner and maker. Known as the ‘Diamond’ pattern thimble, it is like a grid with faceted centres to the squares. The number registered with the Patent Design Office is definitely as above, (design shown on a flat piece of brass in register) however, so far no thimble has been noted with this number.

The large number that have been checked, mainly on Dorcas, but also on silver, have the end number as being a six (RD 73626). There is a possibility that the Design Patent Office sent out the wrong certificate, however as there were only three metal designs registered on that date, this seems unlikely. The alternative is that the person making the punch for the registered numbers was given the set of numbers ending with a six instead of a four. Either way, the mistake was not noticed in time, or if it was, the decision was made to leave it as it had been punched. This would not have affected the protection on the thimble, as far as competitors were concerned, as they would not have been aware of the mistake. RD 73626 is actually for a metal cylinder for testing the safety of miner’s lamps, registered by William Paterson of Durham.”


Constantine & Floyd Sterling Silver Thimble
and Jeweller’s Case, Chester 1897

DESCRIPTION

Victorian sterling silver thimble which has the maker or sponsors’ mark CE&FD mark for Birmingham silversmiths Albert Constantine & William Henry Floyd trading as Constantine & Floyd Ltd formerly of 14 Regent Place, Birmingham.

As the thimble bears the Charles Horner ‘Louise’ pattern Registered Design Number RD. 127211 (registered by Charles Horner on June 18, 1889) it was clearly made by Charles Horner for Constantine & Floyd Ltd.

‘Louise’ (or interlocking asterisks) pattern top over a border of roses (a pattern described by Charles Horner as ‘stamped’) and flat rim. Hallmarked on the rim: CE&FD (for Constantine & Floyd), the lion passant for sterling silver, the Chester (town shield) Assay Office mark and the date letter upper case “0” for 1897.

In excellent condition – in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.6 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.6 cm; weight 9.2 grams.

Comes complete with jeweller’s shaped brown leather thimble case with metal hinge and hook and eye catch. Lined with pale blue silk and dark blue velvet. Some scuffing and fine cracks to the leather covering.

Antique German 800 Silver Thimble, Maker’s Mark ‘U’

DESCRIPTION

Late nineteenth / early twentieth century German 800 silver thimble with with plain knurled top over a decorative border consisting of central band of raised dots between rows of milled and twisted chain bands. Ornate turn over rim. 800 silver mark in the the knurling and a maker’s mark ‘U’ in a circular punch.

Eight point star on the crown – the characteristic mark used by the Gebrüder Gabler (Gabler Brothers of Schorndorf, Germany).

Slightly off round and a very slight needle ding in the knurling but free of holes, dents, damage and repairs.

Height approx. 2.3 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.6 cm; weight 4.2 grams.

Note: Although I haven’t been able to identify the ‘U’ mark it is known that Gabler Brothers made thimbles for a number of wholesalers, retailers, jewellers etc.

So it is not unusual to find examples of Gabler Bros. thimbles with others’ marks on them. For instance, German thimbles which have the Pforzheim wholesaler’s Lutz & Weiss L&W mark were almost invariably made by Gabler.

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Vintage Italian 800 Silver Thimble, Florence Hallmark

DESCRIPTION

SEE ADDITIONAL PICTURES BELOW

Vintage Italian 800 silver thimble with plain knurled top top over a decorative Greek Key or Walls of Troy pattern border and flat turn over rim. Hallmarked on the crown: 800 (for 800/1000 silver), the Italian open star mark and an Italian maker’s number (329) and town mark on the crown: 209 FI. Although the maker has not been identified the town mark FI is for Firenze (Florence). In excellent undamaged condition – in round with no holes, dents, damage or repairs. Height approx. 2.3 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.7 cm; weight 4.1 grams.

Vintage German Sterling Silver Thimble, Julius Wengert

DESCRIPTION

Vintage German sterling silver thimble. Plain knurled top over a decorative border consisting of a vacant cartouche flanked by leaves and berries on a reeded background.

Eight-point star on the crown and stamped 925 for sterling silver and M (the size) under the crown which are characteristic marks of German thimble makers Julius Wengert of Pforzheim, Germany.

In excellent undamaged condition. Height approx. 2 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.6 cm; weight 3.8 grams.

Victorian Sterling Silver Thimble,
Marples & Beasley,
Birmingham 1891

DESCRIPTION

SEE ADDITIONAL PICTURES BELOW

Victorian sterling silver thimble by Marples & Beasley formerly of Albion Street, Birmingham. Daisy pattern top over a waffle pattern border and flat turn over rim. Hallmarked on the rim: M&B (for Marples & Beasley), the lion passant for sterling silver, the date letter Old English lower case “r” for 1891 and the Birmingham Assay Office anchor mark. Very slightly off round but otherwise in excellent condition – free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.1 cm; internal base diameter 1.5 cm; weight 2.8 grams.

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Henry Foskett Sterling Silver Thimble, London 1879

DESCRIPTION

Sterling silver thimble by London thimble maker and silversmith Henry Foskett.

Plain knurled top over a decorative chased border consisting of cabbage roses and leaves on a textured ground. Vacant cartouche and ornate turn over rim. Hallmarked in the knurling: HF (for Henry Foskett) the lion passant for sterling silver, the London Assay Office Leopard’s Head mark, and the date letter upper case “D” for 1879.

In excellent condition – very slightly off round but free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.2 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.4 cm; weight 4.6 grams.

T H E   F O S K E T T S
A FAMILY OF THIMBLE MAKERS

The Fosketts were London-based thimble makers in Victorian England. In his Thimble Collector’s Encyclopaedia John Von Hoelle describes them as “English silversmiths known to have made thimbles in London from 1865-1912”.

Henry Foskett was born in Iver, Buckinghamshire and baptised in April 1812. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Foskett. In 1862 Henry began working with existing thimble makers (T. Hastings) who had been thimble makers since the early 1820s. They were based in Great Sutton Street in Clerkenwell, London. In April 1864, Henry Foskett registered his mark with the London assay office. He married Eliza Ellen and in 1871 they resided at 31 Sutton Street, Clerkenwell in London with their nephew, Samuel Foskett. Henry Foskett died in December 1885.

Innovative thimble maker Samuel Foskett was born in Limehouse, London in 1848 and was the son of John Foskett and Sarah Scott, and nephew of thimble maker Henry Foskett. He married Elizabeth in 1871. In 1881 he lived with his wife and three children at 45 Essex Street, Islington and still resided there in 1901. His eldest son, Samuel William Foskett, became a silversmith and his second son, Henry James Foskett, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a thimble maker. Samuel Foskett succeeded his uncle Henry in the business in 1886 and he registered his mark at the London assay office in September of that year. He later registered his mark with the Birmingham and Chester assay offices. Samuel registered a design for a thimble (RD 265923) on 19 November 1895 and was also instrumental in the design of the Trueform finger-shaped thimble (Patent Number 19157). Some of his thimbles around 1905/06 bear this number.

Antique Mauchline Ware Thimble Holder,
The Beach Folkestone
and Sterling Silver Thimble

DESCRIPTION

SEE ADDITIONAL PICTURES BELOW

The Thimble Holder: Antique Mauchlineware sycamore Georgian knife box style thimble holder decorated on the lid with a photographic print of THE BEACH, FOLKESTONE. The holder is lined with burgundy red velvet, has a fancy metal hinge at the back and a brass hook and eye fastener at the front. There are a few minor scuffs and bumps but the holder is otherwise in very good condition for its age. It stands approx. 3.2 cm high and 2.5 cm wide (measurements taken at the back of the thimble holder).

The Thimble: Antique Victorian sterling silver thimble with chased daisy border on a textured background, and vacant shield cartouche. Unusually for a thimble of the period it is stamped SILVER. Not perfectly round at the opening but free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.6 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.7 cm; weight 4.3 grams.

Charles May Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 1899

DESCRIPTION

Victorian sterling silver thimble by London silversmith Charles May. Plain knurled top over a decoratively chased border and faceted turn over rim.

Hallmarked in the border: CM (for Charles May), the lion passant for sterling silver, the date letter Old English lower case “z” for 1899 and the Birmingham Assay Office anchor mark.

In excellent condition – in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.2 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.4 cm; weight 4 grams.

Charles May: After Charles Horner of Halifax and the Birmingham silver thimble makers (Henry Griffith, James Fenton and James Swann), Charles May was one of the most prolific Victorian silver thimble makers.

May was London-based with a workshop in Shoreditch and later in Hackney.

He registered his maker’s mark at the London assay office and, in February 1876, at the Birmingham assay office.

Charles May Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 1888

DESCRIPTION

Sterling silver thimble by London silversmith Charles May. Plain knurled top over a decoratively chased border and vacant cartouche. Hallmarked on the flat turn over rim: CM (for Charles May), the lion passant for sterling silver, the date letter Old English lower case “o” for 1888 and the Birmingham Assay Office anchor mark. In excellent condition – free of holes, dents, damage and repairs though slightly off round at the opening. Height approx. 2.2 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.4 cm; weight 3.8 grams.

Charles May: After Charles Horner of Halifax and the Birmingham silver thimble makers (Henry Griffith, James Fenton and James Swann), Charles May was one of the most prolific Victorian silver thimble makers. May was London-based with a workshop in Shoreditch and later in Hackney. He registered his maker’s mark at the London assay office and, in February 1876, at the Birmingham assay office.

Edwardian Sterling Silver Thimble, George
Goodman, Birmingham 1904

DESCRIPTION

Edwardian sterling silver thimble by George Goodman formerly of 52 Caroline Street Birmingham.

Daisy pattern top over a plaint flat rim. Hallmarked on the rim: G.G (for George Goodman), the Birmingham Assay Office anchor mark, the lion passant for sterling silver and the date letter lower case “e” for 1904.

In excellent condition – in round with no holes, dents, damage or repairs. Height approx. 2.2 cm; internal base diameter approx. 1.5 cm; weight 3.7 grams.

George Goodman was a Birmingham jeweler and pin and hair curler manufacturer.

He registered his mark with the Birmingham Assay Office in 1885 and examples of sterling silver thimbles attributed to him exist from the 1880s to around 1916.

Three Child Size Sterling Silver Thimbles:
Henry Williamson Ltd,
Henry Griffith & Sons
and James Fenton

DESCRIPTION

Three child size sterling silver thimbles by three different makers. All three thimbles are in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs.

From left to right:

  1. Plain knurled top and flat turn over rim. By London silversmiths Henry Williamson Ltd formerly of 81 Farringdon Road, London EC. Hallmarked on the rim: 15 (the size), H.W.LTD. (for Henry Williamson Ltd), the lion passant for sterling silver, the Chester (town shield) Assay Office mark and the date letter script “M” for 1912. Height approx. 1.7 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.2 cm; weight 2.1 grams.

  2. Daisy pattern top and flat turn over rim. Stamped on the rim: STERLING SILVER 9 · MADE IN ENGLAND. No maker’s mark though this thimble is identifiably a Henry Griffith & Sons’ design made in the 1930s. Height approx. 2.1 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.2 cm; weight 1.8 grams.

  3. Plain knurled top and flat turn over rim. By James Fenton formerly of 74 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham. Hallmarked on th flat rim: 8 (the size), J.F (for James Fenton), the Birmingham Assay Office anchor mark, the lion passant for sterling silver and date letter lower case “l” for 1910. Height approx. 1.5 cm; internal base diameter approx 1.1 cm; weight 1.1 grams.

Victorian Sterling Silver Forget-Me-Not
Keepsake Thimble, ca. 1850

DESCRIPTION

Mid 19th century sterling silver ‘Forget-Me-Not’ keepsake thimble.

Plain knurled top over a stylized half leaf border, prick dot vacant cartouche and linear bands with the lettering FORGET ME NOT in relief on a reeded background. Faceted turn over rim.

There are no identifying marks (silver thimbles were not commonly hallmarked until the 1880s) though tests sterling silver.

A couple of needle scratches though otherwise in excellent condition – in round and free of holes, dents, damage and repairs. Height approx. 2.5 cm; base diameter approx. 1.5 cm; weight 3 grams.

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Victorian Sterling Silver Anglo-Indian Thimble, ca. 1890

DESCRIPTION

Victorian sterling silver Anglo-Indian thimble from the time of the British Raj and made for the British market, ca. 1880-1900. Not marked but tests as sterling. Body decorated with repoussé work flowers and scrolls over a border of leaves. Beaded rim. Crown chased with a cross hatched pattern. In original condition – not perfectly round but free of holes, dents and damage. Looks quite naïvely made and charmingly ‘wonky’! Height approx. 2.3 cm; internal base diameter 1.5 cm; weighs 4.8 grams.

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