What’s It Worth? An Old Pot Solves A Modern Mystery

Katrina says if we could make a living by simply researching, instead of buying and selling, we would. The thrill of the hunt for information on vintage or unusual items is exhilarating.

Because we love old silver, dealers across the U.S. send us thousands of ounces per year. The hot water kettle came to us in a box of Tiffany and Victorian silver.

silver old pot

We determined a silversmith engraved a family coat of arms. Coats of arms are difficult, but research revealed the original owner.

The stars are actually pieced mullets, and the lozenge indicates a lady’s arms. The fleurs de lys are arms of the Digby family. So these are the arms of Frances Digby, the widow of Sir Thomas Legard, Baronet of Yorkshire. Frances was heiress of Sir John Digby of Nottinghamshire. She married Sir John in 1727. The arms of Digby escutcheon are also important.

mullets silver
stamps silver

Lady Frances’s date of passing is debated by scholars. Burke’s Peerage is accused by scholars of having an erroneous date of passing as 1736. Most scholars insist it was 1777. Our old pot dated 1748 supports the 1777 date as she could not have owned this past 1736 if Burke’s is correct. We contacted the arguing parties online to share our anecdotal findings. Our research may increase the value a little bit, but we reveled in our nerdish quest and enjoyed being able to solve a rather insignificant puzzle.

The George II kettle’s scrap silver price? $800. (We paid $1,200.) Auction estimate: $1,500 to $2,000. Pictured are the kettle, the coat of arms, and the hallmarks. We buy silver!

Go ahead. Google us. Three former sothebys.com associates and two art
historians on staff. You read about us in the Wall Street Journal, The New York
Times and Fortune magazine. Do you have vintage silver for sale? Contact us!
We have sold the contents of museums and collections for USF. We make house calls
anywhere in the U.S.! ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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