An early set of four Liberty silver Japanese salts and spoons
For sale is this rare set of Liberty silver salts and spoons dating from 1893/4. 1893 is the first year Liberty entered a hallmark with the London assay office and, up until the launch of the Cymric range in 1899, seem to have only imported silver, principally from Japan.
These four salts are not strictly a set but I believe must have been put together by Liberty at the time. Not only is Liberty silver from this date rare but I have never seen this design before in a single salt, let alone four together.
The salts each have a slightly different design of a leaf bowl on a stem and berry/fruit base. One salt is marked for Liberty & Co 1893, one for Liberty & Co 1894 and both carry the London import mark. Two carry no English hallmarks. Two of the salt spoons are marked for Liberty 1894 and two are unmarked. All four spoons are virtually identical, with slight differences between the marked and unmarked pair. All the salts are marked with the same Japanese characters and in the same place on the foot. I believe this is the Japanese, unidentified, makers mark.
The salts come in a leather bound box in good condition with some external wear and discolouration. The box is labelled for Hugo Schafer, one of the leading German jewellers of the period and the box lid is dated 1875-1900. I believe it is original in which case it seems likely this high end retailer acquired the salts from Liberty in the 1890’s so creating the set.
All four salts have diameter c. 3.6cm with one “pair” about 3.4cm tall with weight 1oz each, the other “pair” about 3.2cm tall with weight 0.9oz each. Each spoon is 7 cm long.
Maker: Liberty & Co (two salts/spoons) / unidentified Japanese maker
Marks: Ly & Co, London “S/T” and import mark. Japanese maker’s mark
Material: Sterling silver (possibly Brittania)
Condition: very good. Box exterior shows signs of wear.
Size: Salts 3.6cm diameter, spoons 7 cm long
Weight: Each salt weighs approx 1 oz or 26 grams