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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gorham Buttercup Hallmark Help Needed

We received a request from a reader regarding Gorham hallmarks on the Buttercup sterling flatware pattern specifically. Here's the question.
If a Buttercup piece has the old hallmarks of "Lion/Anchor/G Sterling", does it always also have a reference to "Patent 1900" on the piece?
This reader has some Buttercup pieces with old Gorham hallmarks that do not have any reference to "Patent 1900" on them and the reader is concerned. Some of these pieces were inherited and some were purchased over the years from a large, reputable dealer in used sterling flatware.

I have some guesses about this but would rather have an explanation from someone who knows for sure. Post a comment or send an email if you have the answer.

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Anonymous said...

I am fairly familiar with Gorham hallmarks.

I think the appraiser mentioned is confused.

Silver Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver Jim said...

I left a question about this issue on a web site offering Q/A service about sterling. The response confirms my guesses.

Many thanks to Michelle at She obviously has a broad and deep knowledge of issues regarding silver pieces. Here is part of her response.

"The patent date is shown on the back for the duration of the design patent, which I believe is 12 years. After that, when a new die is made at the factory, off comes the patent date, but the flatware is still as legit as can be (and Gorham is still producing this pattern).

Some add'l info for you: Having a patent date on the back of a set of Buttercup will increase its value, but only a bit.

Your friend should go to this website and try again: "

I recommend visits to Michelle's Q/A site for answers to many questions.


Maren Berry said...

So this has nothing to do with Buttercup, but it does have to do with Gorham. I recently inherited my grandmother's silver flatware, which is Gorham Chantilly. I've been researching to try and find out as much as I can about it, and have been mainly looking at the markings on it. They all have the same lion, anchor, G that according to my research is from the last quarter of the 19th century. I also know the pattern was patented in 1895. I also know the pattern is still available for purchase as new from places like Bed, Bath, & Beyond, etc. What I would like to know is roughly how old it is. I believe it was given to my grandmother soon after her wedding in 1934, but I'm not sure when the pieces were made. Some are newer, replacement pieces as well, and I'm clueless about the serving pieces. Anyway- any suggestions on how I could find out the approximate age of the collection?

Silver Jim said...

With respect to the previous post, I'll tell you what I know (which is not everything about the subject).

Gorham placed the "old" hallmarks of "Lion/Anchor/G Sterling" on its sterling flatware pieces until 1950. At that point, they changed to "Gorham Sterling".

You will find the patent date on some pieces with old hallmarks but not all. My conjecture is that they stopped putting the patent date on the pieces when the time limit on the patent expired. If this is true, that would indicate that pieces with the patent date stamped on them will be older.

Comments are welcome from others who can add additional information.

Anonymous said...

I have Buttercup sterling flatware that has the patent date on it and some that does not. Most of the items with the patent date have the old lion-anchor-G stamp, and most of the items without the patent date are stamped "Gorham Sterling". Some of them are transitional, with the old lion-anchor-G stamp but no patent date.