This is a remarkably beautiful antique set of .800 silver and gilt-steel servingware from renowned German silversmith Franz Mosgau.
The large knife and fork represent the very best of Art Nouveau style with languid florals etched into each gilt blade and elegant laurels and bold decoration on the handles.
Founded in 1807 and based in Berlin, Franz Mosgau specialized in elegant silver servingware. This set is a stunning example of his style and the Art Nouveau movement.
Better known in Germany as Jugendstil, the Art Nouveau movement was characterized in Germany by hard edges and precise lines.
While these elements are present in the overall motif of each piece, the juxtaposition of heavy lines and delicate florals speaks to the unique quality of Mosgau designs.
As you can see, each handle is stamped with an elegant columnar pattern below the bolster with flowing laurels.
The blade and tines of the fork each feature an impressed mark which reads "Stahl" (German for "steel").
You will notice that both steel pieces exhibit an etched pattern of distinctly Nouveau florals with graduated line widths and overlapping contours.
The handle of the knife features a single impressed mark which reads "800".
Both pieces have been professionally tested to ensure the purity of the silver.
Another mark reading "800" can be seen on the handle of the fork along with the Halbmond und Krone (crescent moon and crown) mark.
This mark was made compulsory in 1888, and indicates a silver purity of no less than .800.
The opposite side of the handle features a maker's mark which reads "FZM".
Each piece rests securely in a silk-lined "Posen" presentation case.
Small cradles for both individual pieces ensure proper storage and discourage movement.
A screen printed mark on the underside of the case reads "Hofsilberwaarenfabrik, Posen, Frankfurt AM Berlin".
The exterior of the case is a lovely deep teal green color and features an embossed animal print.
Two small brass clasps on the face keep the box securely closed. It shows a small amount of wear and some spots on the interior.
The knife and fork show some age expected oxidization and a few light scratches on the steel and silver.
Overall, this remarkable elegant set remains in good antique condition.
Measurements: Knife is 11" long, Blade is 6 1/2" long (to bolster) and 2" at widest point, Handle is 4 1/2" long, 1" at widest point and 11/16" deep (111 grams) Fork is 10 1/4" long, Tines and neck are 5 3/4" long (to bolster) and 2" at widest point, Handle is 4 1/2" long, 1" at widest point and 11/16" deep, (108.6 grams) Box is 11 7/8" long, 5 1/8" wide and 1 1/2" tall, (303.4 grams) Total Weight: 523 grams (18.4 oz)
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