The S.M. mark appears on Adrien von Ferscht’s database of Chinese silver makers on the website Chinese-Export-Silver.com
A remarkable set of six, early, Liberty & Co Japanese silver and enamel teaspoons. Each has a teapot or animal terminal, with enamelled flower design bowl and bamboo stem. With lovely detail to both the bowl and terminal – there are three teapots, one turtle, a butterfly and a goldfish. These spoons are a rarity, and probably represent Liberty’s earliest importation of silverware from Japan. An 1892 catalogue for Liberty (held at the National Art Library in London’s V&A Museum) shows a near identical set for sale – see images. The spoons come in their original, damaged, box, marked Liberty & Co, Regent Street.
The spoons do not carry the Liberty mark (or assay marks) but are marked MS (or conceivably SW), though it is thought this is an erroneous early mark for the maker SM, whose mark typically appears on Liberty & Co’s Japanese silver in the 1893-1899 period. 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.
Four of the six spoons are in excellent condition with age appropriate tiny losses to the enamel, only visible under magnification. One spoon, with goldfish terminal and green and yellow enamel, has significant enamel loss and signs of an old repair, re-fixing the bowl to the stem. There is a small loss to a petal of one other spoon. Please see images. The box is materially damaged but still closes tightly with working clasp and with good clean interior.
Maker: Probably SM, Liberty
Date: c. 1892
Marks: S.M. or W.S or M.S
Material: Sterling Silver, enamel
Condition: See description
Size: 9.0 cm long (approx)
Weight: 0.1 oz, 4 grams each approx