The S.M. mark appears on Adrien von Ferscht’s database of Chinese silver makers on the website Chinese-Export-Silver.com
For sale is this remarkable, and I believe previously unrecorded, set of six Liberty & Co Japanese silver spoons with rare finials of frogs in various poses, several sheltering themselves from the rain under lotus leaf umbrellas. With lovely detail to both the bowls and terminals, these are close in quality to the Liberty Japanese octopus spoons that I have previously sold.
These spoons are all marked for Liberty, London, 1894, and carry the “F” London import mark. They predate Liberty’s Cymric range when Liberty was largely selling only imported silver.
They are also marked S.M. whose mark typically appears on Liberty & Co’s silver in the 1893-1899 period. This is the more unusual SM mark in a double rectangle and appears on one spoon (see images) to overstrike the Liberty mark, suggesting the Ly & Co mark was put on in Japan (or the S.M mark in London). The S.M mark has been documented by Adrien von Ferscht, an expert on Chinese Export Silver, as originating from a little known Canton firm working in Yokahama, Japan, Sadajiro Musashiya. The firm’s founder and silversmith being Ozeki Sadajiro. See this link for further information on this mark.
These types of Japanese spoons also feature in Simon Moore’s book “Artists’ spoons and related table cutlery” pages 50-52, though no examples of these frog spoons is shown.
The spoons are all in excellent original condition, with just one spoon having an invisible repair where the stem joins the frog finial. There is no box.
Maker: SM, Liberty
Marks: S.M. Ly&Co, London, “T”, “F” import mark
Material: Sterling Silver
Size: 11.5 cm long
Weight: c 10 grams each