The pictures really tell most of the tale. This sweet little dog, a terrier or pekingese we guess, has been long ignored in the back of a shelf somewhere. Much to our delight we discovered him (and his twin!...see our other listing) on a shelf of odds and ends at a local estate auction on the coast of Maine.
This is an AMERICAN Victorian Silver item! Factory dated 1875-1915.
The real story comes from the maker himself. James Walker Tufts, born February 11, 1835 in Charlestown, Mass, who began in life as an apothecary apprentice. Later becoming quite interested in the advent of soda fountains, he then patented one called, "The Arctic". He opened a factory, working with silver as an adjunct since he seems to have been very interested in the most elaborate of silver plated hardware and accessories to make those fabulous soda fountains so wonderful a place to visit!
Expanding beyond soda fountain parts, James Tufts produced some of the most unique silver plate of the American Victorian Period.
Look closely at this wee dog, standing (oops!...SITTING a mere 2" high.) He leans, resting against a woven silver basket with his paw resting on a partially consumed bone. His open mouth displays his lower teeth and his tail, is free enough that you expect it to wag him to a standing position in a moment.
Although we thought initially that he was a terrier, this piece dates from the Aesthetic Movement Era when Japanese decoration was so beloved and treasured...thus we think, perhaps its really a little Pekingese pup.
We've left the well-earned patination alone.....remember all those "Road Show" episodes where the experts give the owners a valuation based on "before" and "after" cleaning?....and prefer to leave the big question, "To Clean or Not to Clean", quite up to the new owner. All the dark you see is tarnish and all the grey you see is dust! We TOLD you he'd been ignored!
The mark on the bottom is the 4 pointed star of the Tufts Silver Co. But contrary to all the pieces we've seen, there is no "quadruple or triple plate" mark. It reads, "JAMES W. TUFTS, BOSTON, MASS", all in capitol letters. The pattern is number 2684 which makes it a later piece, likely around 1900.
The other little dog we've listed is pattern 1091 and marked triple plate. It was manufactured from the same pattern, so according to the pattern number is much earlier..likely around 1880, closer to the opening of the factory. Both dogs are absolutely identical.
Pieces of this quality don't often become available....much less TWO. We are happy to make payment arrangements for either, or discuss a "package deal" for the discerning collector who doesn't want to split up the litter!.
........................................................................................................We at "As Time Goes By" on Ruby Lane are pleased to accept Personal Checks, USPS Money Orders, Bank or Cashier Checks and Paypal for payment of your purchases. During this unusual economic climate we are also willing to arrange for payment using equal value US coins or stamps. If this form of payment interests you, please contact us so that we may discuss with you what coins and or stamps will be acceptable!
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