This large ladle is fantastic & in such excellent plus condition. It's marks are the Gorham hallmark & it's selling store - J. E. Caldwell & Co. We believe it's time period to be 1866 or 67 as Rainwater says the lion faced left in 1865 & before. Also per Rainwater Gorham started to use date marks in 1868-there is no date mark. There is no mark for silver content. Rich has acid tested. Regretfully the test will not tell the difference between American Coin (900 silver) & sterling (925 silver). Again per Rainwater Gorham started using the sterling (925) standard in 1868. So we believe the ladle to be American coin (900 silver) & will guarantee it to be a minimum 900 silver content due to the acid test. The silver is in excellent plus condition with no chomps, cracks, missing pieces, deep scratches or repairs. The stag is wonderfully dimensional with excellent plus definition. The curved rim & end pointed bowl has a beautiful even toned light gold wash. The handle & bowl have some stunning hand engraved accent patterns. The backside is all un-patterned silver. The bowl's rim is all original with no chomps or dings from being tapped. You can of course find some faint, normal, surface scratching/swirling from old style cleaners on the ladle. The presentation case is original to ladle. It's interior has a faint gold embossed J.E. Caldwell mark. It's silk interior fabric has fraying & holes. But the handle stand is still well attached to case with just a little wiggle evident. Case's hinges & closures are intact and the case locks by twisting 2 tiny knobs. The case appears to be a very light weight wood with a paper cover. The paper on the top has been patterned. It's pattern is still very visible. The sides & top have small spots of rubs or loss of paper (largest approx 5/16"). The base of the case has definite loss of paper which is why I say case is a wood. This ladle was someone's prized possession & extremely well taken care of. Probably only used on special occasions & cleaned immediately after use. It's very hard to measure due to all it's curves but is approx 12 1/2" long. The stag is approx 2 1/4" long from the bottom of his neck ruff to the tip of a antler & is 1 1/8" wide thru his ears. The bowl is 4 1/4" long from tip of point straight across to handle x 3" at it's widest point x 1" at deepest point. A magnificent example of Gorham's design work & craftsmanship. It would be a high lite in a collection or a real conversation piece for that special dinner.
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