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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 7063
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Question for S. Can you please let me know about a metal

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Question for Robert S.
Can you please let me know about a metal vase I have please?

Hi Shalini,

Can you let me know what this number on the bottom reads?

Also, how tall is the vase?

Many thanks,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Robert,
The number is ***** and the height of the vase is 22cm

Thanks, that's all I need. Leave this with me and I'll have a full answer for you as soon as I can.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Robert
I’m on a trial membership which will end in a day. Sorry about the rush.

No problem, here's my answer.

This very decorative vase is a genuine antique, made in England around the 1870s. It's made of a type of metal called "spelter" or "pot metal" an alloy of zinc and copper and a small amount of lead, which has a low melting point and therefore a more affordable substitute for bronze. Although spelter is silver coloured, the surface can be patinated by electrolysis to be almost any colour desired. In this case a dark bronze tone. Spelter has been used since about the 1860s to make all sorts of affordable versions of statues, lamp bases and ornate tableware that resemble bronze. To test for spelter, scratch the base somewhere where it wont show. Bronze will appear as bright yellow while spelter will be silvery.

Your urn, or chalice vase, is shaped in a classical form, with high scrolling handles and raised on a knopped stem and circular domed base, a form that dates back to Greco-Roman times. The main decorative feature is a frieze of frolicking Bacchanalian cherubs, some holding grapes, cast in raised relief and encircling the whole vessel. It is designed in what's called a Renaissance revival style, similar to Venetian and Roman ornament in the 1600s. Renaissance revival in the decorative arts and furniture became extremely popular in the late Victorian era.

On the base there's a British Design registry mark, popularly known as the Rd No "Kite Mark" because of its lozenge shape. Each design was given an officially regulated 'Registry Number', the numbers issued chronologically, which acted as a date of copyright. The kite mark was used only between 1842-1883 which means your piece has to date within that span of years. Various symbols and numbers in the kite mark (yours appears to be too indistinct to see them) correspond to the year, month and day the object was submitted for registration. If you go here you can read all about how the kite mark operated. The other number, "1534" is an internal factory code for the shape or model number. Despite the marks, the actual maker of these spelter chalices remains unknown.

They do turn up for sale from time to time but don't seem to have a specific following of collectors. This example, quite similar to yours, for instance, sold on line about 10 years ago for £80 which seems about right at the time. If you were to sell yours at auction or on line (eBay and the like) expect to get in the range of £100 - £150 for it. If you were to see it for sale in an antique shop it would be priced at around £300. This is also the 'replacement' value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much Robert. You have been very helpful and have given me a lot of information. I have a few more bits and bobs, so I will look into what it costs to pay Just Answer monthly and what their exit policy is. If I stay on, I will ask for you to personally answer the individual questions if that’s ok? Thank you again :)Best

You're very welcome, glad to have helped.

By all means ask for me if you take out a subscription. I'll be here when and if you decide to do so.

Meanwhile, have a great evening.

Best wishes,


PS. Don't forget to rate my answer (with the stars or "accept" tab) when you get a moment, as this is how I get paid by JustAnswer (at no extra cost to you). Thanks! R.

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