My collection has close to a hundred silver cow creamers, ranging in age from two by John Schuppe dated 1764 and 1768, to a few from the late 20c and early 21c. Silver cow creamers aren't all that rare, but they are getting quite expensive so I am very careful about which ones I buy. They seem to remain fairly popular thanks in part to P.G. Wodehouse's 1938 book, The Code of the Woosters and the related 1990s TV serial about Bertie Woostedr and his valet Jeeves, in which the first episode of the second series was Jeeves Saves the Cow-Creamer. I also believe that although my overall cow creamer collection is one of if not the largest in the world, there are likely several collections of silver cow creamers (and the old Staffordshire cow creamers) that are larger than mine.
I have a few that I commissioned, although most of these were just made for the 'trade', most probably by working the silver around a mold. For an introduction to the traditional method of crafting a cow creamer (now seldom used), by carefully hammering out the body by hand, view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHAsvy8LXsg from the workshop of master
silversmith Bruce Russell of Guernsey. You can find more about him, and the cow he made for me (Snowflake) , at the
beginning of the “Other Silver Cow Creamers” area which is about 3/5 of the way down this page.
As a reminder, click on any thumbnail for a larger picture.
Silver Cow Creamers and John Schuppe
From C. Bernhard Hughes’ fine historical accounts in his 1957 book Small Antique Silverware,
we learn that “A quaint conceit of the third quarter of the eighteenth century was the milk jug
modeled in the form of a cow. Although the name of John Schuppe” (a Dutch silversmith who moved to
London ~1750 and registered his mark there in 1753) “is particularly associated with these jugs there
is evidence of hall-marks that David Willaume the younger” (a Hugenot silversmith, 1693-1761) “was
making them before Schuppe, who remains an obscure figure, dying in 1773. Silver cows, as they were
listed at the assay office, were made in sections. The sides of the head and body were made
separately as were legs and hooves, horns, ears, and the tail handle which looped upward over the
haunches. The top of the hollow body was fitted with a curved hinged lid, like a saddle, either plain
or bordered with chased flowers and foliage, and with a lifting knob in the form of a large fly
modeled in the round. The jug was filled through the lidded opening, the milk being poured into the
tea-cup from the animal’s mouth. Head and body might be tooled to represent the cow’s hair, but
others were left smooth-surfaced except for some tool work representing hair between horns and eyes,
and along the back bone, this being applied with the intention of concealing joints…Silver cows
approximate 4 inches in height; an example by Schuppe sold at Christie’s weighed 4 oz, 15 dwt. In
modeling, as in general design, the style is naïve but lively. Many were gilded and a crest might be
engraved on the side of the body. In some instances the neck was engraved with an inscribed collar.”
I would like to thank Peter Cameron, a London silversmith (of Vault 57 in the London Silver Vaults)
for some additional information about John Schuppe, whom it seems is really quite hard to pin down.
He notes that there were some Schuppes of German origin in London at that time, so the assumption
that silversmith Schuppe of the cows was Dutch may indeed be mistaken. Our elusive silversmith
apparently worked in the liberty (an area in which rights reserved to the king had been devolved into
private hands) of St Martin’s le Grand (at first in Little Dean's Court and then in New Rents), which
is located in the City of London between Newgate Street and Cheapside to the south, and Aldersgate
Street to the north. Mr Cameron stated in an email to me dated May 2012 that “I am pretty clear that
John Schuppe, the silversmith, had a wife named Mary and that they had a son, John, who was born in
1760 and died in 1823. He was listed as a watchmaker, hardware and toyman in an insurance policy with
the Sun Insurance Company in 1804. This last John Schuppe had no children. There were daughters of
John, the silversmith, and Mary his wife, as follows: Elizabeth, who married a John Phillips in 1782
and had a son named John Schuppe Phillips; Ann christened 1754 of whom no more as yet; and Mary who
married Mathew Hodson in 1781 and had various children. John Schuppe, silversmith, was certainly
alive quite late in the year 1773 but his wife, Mary, (then living in London Wall), wrote her will in
1795 when she described herself as a widow. The only hope of finding more detail is combing through
the rate books for the period - if I can find the Schuppes listed in them and if they survive.” He
was also kind enough to pass on the following fascinating clipping from the “Gazetteer and London
Daily Advertiser” (London), Monday, February 23, 1756; Issue 4504:
Most of Schuppe’s creamers date from around the 1760’s; he died in 1773. I have two Schuppe’s in
my collection (both acquired from I. Franks Antique Silver in the London Silver Vaults), shown in
side,front, top and butt views, along with their hallmarks: Schuppe’s JS, the lion rampant denoting
silver, the leopard head with crown which is the early London assay mark, and the date stamp, here
1764 for the smooth creamer (Hairiette) and 1768 for the chased one (Hairy).
The fly on the lid – flies being pervasive around cows and milking (and not as disparaged then as
now, I’ve heard) – has become traditional on silver creamers, as you will see on much of the rest of
the collection; and the scrawny legs have also carried on through the years; butts, however, are a
different story, and differ widely. Schuppe’s seem somewhat more realistic than many others.
I’d like to learn more about John Schuppe and about David Willaume II and his creamers as well, if
someone can kindly point me to a source. www.UKauctioneers.com
has a very nice glossary (that they attribute to Reader’s Digest’s “Treasures in your Home”) that
notes that “David Willaume I (1658-1741) [was a] huguenot silversmith who worked in London using many
techniques and designs which were far advanced. His pieces are individualistic … His son David
Willaume II (1693 -1761) took over the business in 1716. For a time the two silversmiths were thought
to be one and the same”. There is nothing about Schuppe, however.
Schuppe’s traditional form remains popular, as these modern versions attest.
The two facing each other in the leftmost picture, one smooth and the other chased, both
date from 2002 and thus bear the QEII Jubilee special mark as well as the lion rampant
and the London assay leopard head, plus the maker’s mark “TB” for Timothy Joseph
Burtwell of Tring, Hertfordshire who apprenticed with William Comyns. He made the mold,
did the pressing and assembling and had them polished, chased and assayed. I purchased
them from Veronica Shaw who named them Daisy and Doris (and from who I later
commissioned Bluebell and Dalina, see below). The third creamer, also chased, is also
from 2002 and bears the “A&T” hallmark of Adams and Taber. These are all fine modern
copies, and bear a close resemblance to the originals (except for the price tag), as you
can see from the group photo.
Another Schuppe copy, not that I really needed one … but I was curious about its possible maker
and age and it was reasonably priced. The only marks are under the lid – “xxx” in an oval, and two
unidentifiable symbols. There are quite a number of Dutch silversmiths who used xxx as their mark,
generally with some other symbol added, so I assume it’s from Holland. The only one I could find that
used just the letters in the shape this one has is Diederik Willem Rethmeyer who worked in Amsterdam
in the early 1800s. This cow is shiny and looks new – and was relatively inexpensive as these things
go, so I doubt it’s by him – presumably some enterprising chap is turning them out in large numbers
given their continuing popularity.
Yet one more, but with a simpler fly, tail hanging in the air and horns pointed forward rather than curled, but with Schuppe-like body, head and leg shape. This one is unmarked, and of quite heavy silver. This 'classic' form seems to be extremely popular with silversmiths from both the UK and the continent, up to the present day. While without marks it’s impossible to give it an age or
provenance, I’d guess it to be quite modern, and likely English because of its weight.
The Schuppe influence also shows through clearly in these two modern creamers, the one on the left
from 1958 and bearing the hallmark “SJS” for S.J.Shrubsole, Ltd; and on the right from 1962, marked
with a “2” and “HP” over “LP” Herbert Parsons and Laurie Parsons, trading as Tessiers Ltd.
This creamer, marked for Tiffany & Co., England and date-stamped for 1963, is very similar to
the two just above. It’s interesting in that it has a gold wash. Tiffany’s produced a number of
creamers of this shape – I’ve even seen one with diamonds in the eyes and anus (of all things), but
it was a bit too rich for my taste. Interestingly, both the belly and the lid of this cow bear the
lion passant and the Elizabeth II lion head for the London assay, but there is no maker’s mark.
Tiffany contracted with quite a few silversmiths for their products, and apparently didn’t feel it
important to identify them.
This little cow, inspired by Schuppe’s, is marked R.C for Richard Comyns. It bears a London sterling assay mark and is dated 1968. A search for information about it not only told me quite a
bit about the some of the transitions in British silversmithing, but revealed that this model (the
only one to the best of my knowledge) is currently still in routine production. Here is what I have
learned (more than you may wish to know…): first, from Koopermanrareart.com (and others), the Comyns
firm “was established by William Comyns c. 1859 when he purchased the business of Robert Tagg, itself
said to have been founded about 1730. As yet efforts to trace the latter's lineage have failed; it
seems clear, however, that Tagg succeeded John Tapley at 40 Roupell Street, Waterloo Road. Tapley, a
manufacturing silversmith, was probably the last of Rundell, Bridge & Co.'s outworkers and is
also known to have provided work for Robert Green & Co and Makepeace & Walford. Robert Tagg
moved in 1857 to his new residence and manufactory at Carlise Street,
Soho Square, where by 1859 he listed as a silversmith. William Comyns,
thereafter listed as a silversmith, appears to have purchased the business in 1858 or early 1859,
entering his first marks from the first same address. He moved to 1 Percy Mews, Rathbone
Place, then to 16 Silver Street, Golden
Square Soho, and subsequently to Beak Street,
Regent Street. These premises were later expanded to 41, 43, and 45 Beak Street and to 41, 43, 45, 47 Beak Street. Additional premises were taken from c. 1903 at 54 Marshall Street, Soho.
The style of the firm was changed to William Comyns & Son c. 1885 when William Comyn's two sons,
Charles Harling Comyns and Richard Harling Comyns were admitted to their partnership. William Comyns
died in January 1916, and C.H. Comyns while attending a sale in Christie's in 1925. The business was
incorporated as limited liability company as William Comyns & Sons Ltd., registered on 20th
October 1930, with R.H. Comyns as permanent governing director. Upon the latter's death in
1953, when the firm is said to have lost its former prominence, William Comyns & Sons Ltd was
purchased by Bernard Copping.” From 1957 the firm was located on Tower St London WC2. Comyns’
original mark apparently was W.C, followed by C&R after William’s death, and then R.C from @1922
to 1984, when Mr. Coping died. I haven’t yet located any information about the fate of the firm
immediately after that point, but a November 22, 2008 article in The Star stated that
Comyns was acquired in 1993 by the Malaysia-owned Royal Selangor Group, and around 1998 they moved
production to their plant in Wangsa Maju. The company’s web site – http://comyns-silver.com – notes that their archives contain some 35,000
historical molds, patterns, tools, and drawings, and that they produce both traditional English and
European heritage items as well as contemporary ones, with marketing targeted toward Japan, Australia
and Singapore as well as Europe, US and UK.
A response to my query to their Malaysian headquarters
about the cow creamer – which can be found via a search on their web site and is undoubtedly
fashioned from one of their historical molds – states that they trade as Comyns (Malaysia)
Sdn Bhd and Comyns of London. The cow creamers being produced today as a ‘standard product’ bear the
W.C maker’s mark and (as of late 2015) retails in Malaysia for RM6,500. It seems I got a bargain at
£480 for my 1968 version. Another piece of information I am missing is the date when this particular
mold was fashioned. I have seen quite a few Comyns cows for sale, but don’t know when – or by whom –
the first was fashioned. I would be delighted if someone could help me correct and fill in the holes
in this account.
Going back to the start of the 20c, here is a creamer with Schuppe-like legs and fly, but a very
different approach to the head, horns, and stylized smooth udder. It is Hallmarked for Daniel
John Wellby, London 1902 (hallmark entered 1896). This company was founded in 1827 by Joseph Clement
and John Wellby. The business was continued by Daniel and John Wellby at 57 King Street, Soho Square
and later at Garrick Street, Covent Garden. The firm was converted in 1896 into a limited liability
company under the style of D & J Wellby Ltd. The hallmarks on the belly appear somewhat worn,
but there are similar and clearer ones on the lid.
Here are two Dutch creamers that I believe are mid-19c, albeit I haven’t found date marks on either.
Both have the lion passant with a ‘2’ below denoting .833 minimum purity silver (this mark was first
used in 1814), and both have traditional Schuppe-like legs. Neither has an export mark, so I assume
they were made for the Dutch market. The one with the elevated fly, for which I have shown the belly
marks that I’ve not been able to identify, has a Minerva head with M (for Schoonhoven) on the lid.
The one with the curly horns, red (presumably agate) eyes and simple aft-facing fly is most unusual
in that its head is removable – the only one like that I have seen.
This is a more modern, Dutch version that retains many of the same features including the agate eyes
and smooth udder, but with very different and quite flamboyant horns and ears. Its maker’s mark
“H-H” is that of Herbert Hooijkaas who worked from 1943-1980 in Schoonhoven .which is renowned for
its silver. The lion passant with the key is for 833 silver made for export, and the Minerva head
bears the M for Scoonhoven.
On the right in these two shots is that same creamer by Herbert Hooijkaas, here with its
younger sister. The larger cow bears for a date mark (as shown above) a capital ‘Q’ for
1951, and the smaller cow carries a lower case ‘b’ for 1961. There are a few other very
small differences – e.g. the eyes are set slightly differently, but it seems that Hooijkaas’s
basic cow creamer shape and pattern remained consistent over the decade.
This creamer and the next are also both made for export, but are considerably older. This one bears
a whole lot of city or makers marks that I haven’t been able to identify, but is (problematically)
Dutch because there’s a (blurry) Minerva head on the lid. It’s import marked for London in 1891 by
Samuel Boyce Landeck of Campden Place. I need some expert advice on this one, both regarding the
multitude of unidentified marks, and because Landeck is said by one web site to not have registered
until February 1902. On the other hand, the very reliable Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks,
Hallmarks and Makers Marks notes that Landek was a known imported of Hanau silver, and dates him in
London from 1879. The multitude of marks (pseudo-marks most likely) would imply to me that this cow
is from Hanau rather than Holland but again I haven’t been able to identify them.
Here again we have an SBL importer’s mark, although it’s different than the one on the cow above,
and instead of London this one is marked for Sheffield, 1899. It does have the Dutch key on the
belly and a nice Minerva head (as well as the Sheffield lion gardant) on the lid, so it’s quite
definitely Dutch. But…were there two SBL’s, and if not did Mr Landeck have a shop in Sheffield as
well as one in London, and use a slightly different importer’s mark for each? Mysteries…or at
least, confusion on my part.
Here, the Schuppe influence remains in the scrawny legs, but the bodies, faces, horns etc have
assumed quite a different appearance. Also note the variations in the flies – none on the cow on
left, and facing rear on the cow in the middle; the flowery decorations remain, but somewhat
subdued. The creamer on the left is German 800 silver and bears a couple marks I can’t identify. I
believe it’s fairly new, as opposed to the one in the middle which is also German but dates from
1902. The one on the right, also German, is marked “sterling” and “925” (plus 3 unidentified marks),
and also bears the script name “Cartier”, who retailed it in the US.
This one also retains some Schuppe influence, and is included because it is a good example of an
engraved creamer…in this case, as a present for “Franklin Frazee Moore II, Born July 27, 1963,
Christened 11-10-1963”. The seller indicated that he acquired it from the Edgehill Estate of Deal,
it’s marked “Sterling”, thus is either American or made for the US market. I haven’t been able to
any information on Mr Moore II, but his father and grandfather were both Presidents of Rider College
Lawrenceville, NJ, their consecutive terms lastingfrom 1898-1969. No wonder this apparent family
sinecure didn’t last to a third generation, since FFM II was only 6 when his father gave up the
Here is a sterling silver cow creamer imported to London in 1897 by Elly Issac Miller, registered
in 1892 as a plate maker and foreign agent. It is clearly marked F for foreign on both the lid and
belly, but there is no indication of where or by whom it was made. I'd be willing to bet that it came
from Hanau, but that's only a guess. It has taken a couple dings - the right eye is pushed in rather
than protruding, and the tail is somewhat bent. I sense from those minor faults and the condition of
the body that looks like it has seen a lot of polishing, that this one has actually experienced
considerable use. It came from a family estate from a wealthy area in Southampton, NY, and folks that
live there might well have considered this a normal piece of dinner (or breakfast?) ware. At least it
makes me happy to think that this lovely piece served as more than a tarnish catcher. It came to me
at what I consider a bargain price, since the seller started it reasonably and it turned out I was
the only one who showed it a bit of love.
Yet one more cow with the Schuppe leg style – in this case, it bears a lot of what I believe to be
pseudo-marks, none of which I’ve been able to identify. Per usual any help would be greatly
Finally for Schiuppe-style (sort of), here’s Pete Acquisto’s (of Acquisto Silver of Albuquerque, NM, www.acquistosilver.com)
version…I debated whether to put this here or with the other miniatures, but since it’s his
interpretation of a Schuppe (at 1/12 scale of course, as are his other silver pieces) I figured it
belonged here. But then I decided that since it’s so tiny, it might as well be in both spots.
No, this one isn’t a Schuppe copy, but I decided to put it here (as well as on the miniatures page)
because it was attributed by the seller to Acquisto, and it came to her with a lot of other old
silver items from a ‘gorgeous Tynietoy mansion”. There are two stories to tell here – the maker and
Tynietoy; as I found out some time later the seller was wrong about the first, but I have no reason
to doubt the quality of the collection from which it came.
This lovely tiny cow that's here tromping on George was fashioned by Eugene
Kupjack, and is his Miniature Dollhouse Silver #353. From his obituary in the NY Times I learned that
Kupjack, who died in 1991 at the age of 79, over his lifetime fashioned more than 700 period-style
miniature rooms with 1/12 scale doll house furnishings. He is perhaps best known for the 30
shadow-box settings that were designed (and funded) by Narcissa Niblack Thorne, widow of a Montgomery
Ward & Co heir. These were first displayed at the 1939 Worlds Fair, then donated to the Art
Institute of Chicago.
For those of you who aren’t dollhouse miniature aficionados, there’s a lot of info on the web about
Tynietoy. One good source is the Francis Clay Antiques site, where I learned “Tynietoy was a company
started by two talented women, Marion Perkins and Amy Vernon in about 1917 in Providence, Rhode
Island. They made miniature replicas of popular furniture designs in the styles representing Early
American through to the Victorian era. ...Over the years, or decades rather, leading to approximately
WWII the women grew the company to include other employees, craftsmen, and a huge line of miniature
furnishings. ...The miniature furniture was initially made independent of display spaces, but
eventually Tynietoy began making miniature replicas of New England style houses to sell along with
the furnishings.” These days original Tynietoy houses and furniture make my cows seem inexpensive!
Apparently in addition to David Willaum the younger and John Schuppe there was a third silversmith cow-maker in London the late 18c: Robert Miller, as indicated by
this clipped add for James Robinson’s NY Old English Silver shop, from a 1926 edition of “The
Connoisseur”. It’s interesting that Miller’s creamer bear a family resemblance to Schuppe’s…and
also, that the Schuppe cow shown here has a heavier chest than do mine. I can find absolutelky nothing about Robert Miller, but Robinson’s is still
in business so I naturally asked them for more information, but they replied that it was too many
years ago for them to have any knowledge. What a shame.
Other Silver Cow-Creamers
As I mentioned in the introduction, I have commissioned a few silver cow creamers, and I will start this area of the page with those. Then there are a number of silver cow creamers from England, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Those are followed by a few bulls - even though they aren't noted for their milk-giving abilkity, they is I guess some rationale for fashioning bull creamers since they are indeed responsible for turning heifers into milk-makers. Then there are a whole bunch of small or single-serving cow creamers. I assume that these were made so that you could put one at each place when serving a number of guests. And finally, as with other parts of my collection, there are a few that don't quite fit the basic definition but were of interest.
Commission from Bruce Russell of Guernsey
Meet Snowflake, crafted by master silversmith Bruce Russell in the traditional manner
shown in his youtube video that is referenced at the top of this page. The hand hammered sides of
the body, along with one of Bruce’s hammers, are shown here next to the finished creamer. The
information on the card that Bruce included along with the cow tells you a bit about him and his
company, and you can learn more at www.bruce-russell.com. While I normally don’t name my cow
creamers (I’d run out of names!) this lovely Guernsey cow automatically became ‘Snowflake’ when Bruce
personalized her for me in honor of her joining my family in Alaska.
Commissions from Veronica Shaw of England
I started corresponding with Veronica Shaw after I bought one of her Schuppe copies on eBay. After a
number of emails, I asked her to design and make a silver cow creamer for me. The result was
“Bluebell”, a heavy Modigliani-inspired “Auroch”-like lost-wax cast creamer, standing on a heavily
enameled base plate (which also, please note, bears the fly). The patterning under the enamel is
designed to make it look like watered silk, and the cow is heavily chased. The base bears her “VJS”
(Veronica Jane Shaw) makers mark, the lion rampant, 925 (it’s actually 958, Brittania Silver), the
Leopard Head assay, and the Queens Head special mark for 2002. The cow itself was assayed in 2003,
and bears simply the maker’s and assay marks.
When I met Veronica during a quick trip to London a year or so later, she showed me a creamer she
had made for another patron (it’s on her web site). I liked it so much I asked her to make a similar
one for me, and the result is the Dali-inspired Dalina, bearing a Schuppe head and modernistic body,
again on a beautifully enameled silver stand. Dalina was assayed in London in 2004, and enjoys
looking at her dangling fly. Later, my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting Veronica during her
trip to the US.
Commission from Arte Magico Andino Joyeria of Cusco Peru
This large bull is a silver version of a Peruvian ‘Torito de Pucara’. He was crafted for me by
virtually every artisan in the shop of this silversmithing company while my wife and I spent 3 days
visiting Machu Pichu and the area around Cusco. It also appears in the Peru section of the Places
page along with more of an explanation of the Toritos. This shop had all different kinds of lovely
silver jewelry and figures, but they had never before made a Torito de Pucara. They probably thought
I was a bit strange for asking them to make one, but nevertheless willingly complied (at US
$5/gram), went out and purchased a couple ceramic ones for a model, and this is the result.
These still have flies on the lids, and the one on the left has Schuppe-like legs, but they all have
lots of different features. The heavy creamer in the middle with the short horns dates from 1998 and
bears the “JMS” hallmark of J.M.Surtees (plus the lion rampant and the London assay mark) – from
whom I bought it, at his shop (Vault 65) in the Chancery Lane London Silver Vaults . On the left is
an “800” silver creamer, probably German, with two marks, one of which is a crown over “GR” in a
heart (help, anyone??). On the right is a very heavy cast creamer, with a very prominent and hairy
chest bearing the word “Sterling”; it was made in the US. It is nearly identical to the one on the
…in this picture, which bears a “U-“ ‘brand’ on the left rump, as well the marks “Shreve & Co,”
and “Sterling”. On the left is quite a different interpretation – heavy chest, long pointy teats,
a tiny circular mouth hole, small lid without a fly. It dates from @1890, and bears two French
marks, one a Minerva head, as well as “800” on the bottom of the left front hoof.
This lovely English sterling creamer, bearing the London lion passant and Victoria lion head, was
hallmarked in 1899. I’m by no means sure, but believe the maker was Ernest Drew, son of Samuel
Summers Drew who founded the firm (better known for leather goods) in 1844. They first entered a
silver mark in 1887 and were located at 33 Piccadilly Circus and 156 Leadenhall Street in London. I
am hoping for advice on this one, please.
On the left is a Dutch creamer from @1880. The seller, on Portobello Road, said that the previous
owner was a UK doctor who thought it was French, and had taken it to Australia (and back to London)
with him. A well-traveled cow. The smaller creamer in the middle bears the marks “Sterling,
Germany, 925”, and what looks like a “1”. On the right is a fully chased cow with a round mouth and
a buckled belt for a collar, Dutch from @1890. The lids on these are interesting – the two on the
left have a pommel or knob on the front to help with opening, and the one on the right has a tiny fly
which serves the same purpose.
Here’s a creamer that’s very similar to the one in the middle above, to better show the pommel on
the lid. It’s also marked “Sterling, Germany, 925”, but in addition has a mark that looks like a
dagger on its tail. It is considerably lighter than the one it closely resembles.
This is a modern Dutch .833 silver creamer, with exceedingly clear marks. It was made by Zaanlandse
Zilversmederij, E. Schoorl/G. Schoorl-Peetoom, Amsterdam, who operated from 1920 – 1990. It was
assayed in Amsterdam in 1927
This cow is also modern Dutch, and although there is no maker’s mark, the rest of the hallmarks
are sufficiently clear that it’s a good example of Dutch hallmarking. The lion passant with the
‘2’ (which became a Roman II after 1953) is the symbol for .833 purity. The Medusa head with an
impressed letter indicates the assay office – A for Amsterdam in this case – and the letter in the
circle is the date, in this case a slant M for 1947. The sword mark on the tail – this style sword
was used from 1906-1953 – is a standard or purity mark used on pieces added to the base figure, or
too small for the lion. There also is one on the inside of this creamer’s lid. All this
information (and much more) comes from the very helpful On-line Encyclopedia of Silver Marks,
Hallmarks & Maker’s Marks, www.925-1000.com
These two, which while acquired separately seem to be to be a pair, are also nearly identical to the
one above. They are however, from my reading of the marks, much older. The smaller of them bears
the lion passant an older Minerva head, and the “I” in a circle which the best I can tell is for
1843. The maker’s mark is partially obscured, but I’s guess it to be “HB”. The larger cow has only
the “835” and an illegible maker’s mark. It’s continental for sure, but whether Dutch, German of
whatever I really don’t know. It is so similar to the one above and the smaller here however that
I’d guess Dutch, and again likely 19c.
Here’s a quite different style – more realistic -- albeit retaining the traditional fly. The modern
(1998) creamer on the left bears the “RHL” hallmark of Richard Hugh Lawton (plus lion rampant and
London assay). The one on the right, with the pommel on the lid, has a tube sticking out of its
mouth to serve as a spout. It bears the marks “Sterling 925 Germany 4”; it came from Freigericht
Neuses, via eBay.
These two bear a resemblance to the modern Lawton creamer, but are considerably older. They also
have their tongues sticking slightly out of the middle of their mouths, as well as prominent rib
marks and long pointy teats. The one on the left is hallmarked for Maurice Freeman, London, 1909.
The one on the right with the red glass eyes and neck wrinkles is Dutch from 1890, and bears the
maker’s mark “MC”.
When I bid on this creamer I thought I might be getting a near duplicate, but it turns out that it’s
apparently a smaller version of the Dutch creamer above, shown again with the smaller one here for
comparison. It appears to have the MC maker’s mark, and certainly the aft-facing simple fly, face,
teats, garnet eyes, and body markings are remarkably similar. It also has a very clear lion passant
with key (meaning .833 silver, made for export) and there seems to be (I need a better magnifying
glass!) a tiny mark under the lid that I believe to be an M, which would date this little fellow to
This is another realistic Dutch creamer, marked for Dortrecht, and probably
from around 1890. It also bears a couple of fancy, pseudo-hallmarks that I
haven't been able to identify.
A knowledgeable seller kindly informed me that although I thought this was Dutch, it
is most likely from "Hanau, Germany, by B.Neresheimer & Sohne...Hanau makers used elaborate marks
(pseudo marks) to stamp their silver. "
This is a good place to insert a few words about Hanau and Hanau Silver – derived largely from an
extensive write-up on the excellent web site of the Association of Small Collectors of Antique
Silver, ASCAS, at http://www.ascasonline.org/articolo13.html.
Hanau is in Hesse, Germany, about 25 km east of Frankfurt am Main. It addition to being the home
town of the Brothers Grimm and Franciscus Sylvius, from near the end of the 16c it became a center of
precious metal working when the local Count attracted Protestant Walloon refugees from France and the
Netherlands who brought their knowledge of jewelry and similar luxury goods with them. According to
the ASCAS article, however, the Hanau work in ‘antique silver’ for which it is noted today –
masterful copies as well as original pieces, at least for the next several decades – didn’t really
begin until the 1860s when the silversmith August Schleissner relocated there after spells in Paris,
Germany and the US, then returned to Hanau and with his brother took over the Schleissner company and
started a line of antique reproduction silver that because extremely popular with royalty and the
rich. The other leading firm for this type of silverware was Neresheimer, founded in 1890 (and the
maker of this and several of my other Hanau creamers). Like Schleissner, Neresheimer’s workshop
produced extremely high quality goods, both reproductions and original pieces. Much of his work
bears the import names or marks for his London agent Berthold Mueller, or Bucholz & Zelt
(B&Z) and Tiffany & Co. in the US. The success of such high quality firms led to a rapid
growth in the number of antique silver producers in Hanau starting in the very late 19c, and the
resulting frenzied competition led to a decrease in the quality of workmanship and the introduction
of mass produced items , which – together with the Hanau practice of using ‘fantasy’ or spurious
marks often made to look like the guild marks from pieces that they copied – earned the later Hanau
silver a quite dubious reputation. This cow and the next one down are from Neresheimer and, at least
to my eye, are representative of the early very high quality work of that firm.
This is another Neresheimer cow, a lovely small example. This firm was noted for the quality of its
reproductions. It’s readily identifiable as theirs by the script ‘n’, and the chevron pseudomark;
chevrons were part of the Hanau crest as well as the older Hanau city mark. I don’t have any idea
about the third mark – the one that looks like a sideways capital “D” – it could be a date mark, but
then there were a variety of those in different countries, and I’ve not heard that Neresheimer had
its own set.
This is another Hanau cow, stamped German 800 silver, also bearing both the German
moon and crown, and the pseudo marks of Johann S. Kurz & Co., active 1870-1960s.
The seller states it dates to late 19c or early 20c.
This cow is very realistic and beautifullky crafted. The seller thought it might be Dutch, but to me the marks look much more like Hanau pseudo-marks. No moon and crown, which if German places it before 1886. It's quite heavy thus I believe likely 925 silver. One interesting feature is that there is only a small bump in place of an udder (and no other 'equipment'). I couldn't find exact examples of the marks, especially the complex one on the right, but Neuresheimer has used both the capital N and the animal with extended paw; and it's sufficiently well done that it may well have come from that workshop. As always I would greatly appreciate comments and corrrections.
These three were sold to me as a ‘set’, by a chap who had inherited them from his grandfather who
had acquired them on a trip to Germany, presumably in the early 1900s (before WWI). The pseudo-marks
again identify them as from Hanau, although in this case I haven’t been able to identify the maker.
For those with further interest, I can suggest three sources. The first is the Online Encyclopedia of
Silver marks, hallmarks, and makers marks, www.925-1000.com,
which has a special page devoted to Hauau pseudo marks. The second is articles by Dorothes Bustyn on
“The Antique Silver Industry of Hanau”, which can be found on the web site of the Association of
Small Collectors of Antique Silver, www.ascasonline.org.
The third is the section on Hanau hallmarks on the related site, www.silvercollection.it.
Quoting briefly from there, “Mark stamping as practiced in Hanau would have been completely illegal
in France or England, or for that matter in any other German city where a guild supervised the
marking. But Hanau had a long tradition as a free-trade city. With the production of "antique
silver", Hanau found a market niche, which brought its silver manufacturers enormous prosperity
and worldwide reputation. The 'father' of this industry was August Schleissner. The other leading
firm of Hanau was Neresheimer, founded in 1890 as a partnership of August and Ludwig Neresheimer with
This rather fierce looking cow is unmarked, but said by the seller from Luzern Switzerland to be
cast German 800 silver from ~1890-1900. It comes with the story that it came from the household of
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena; 24 October 1887 – 15 April 1969) who (per
Wikkipedia) “was Queen
of Spain from 1906 to 1931 as the wife of King Alfonso XIII. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the first cousin of King George V of the United Kingdom, Queen Maud of Norway, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Sophia of Greece.” The seller stated that though he has no
written confirmation to back this story up, he believes it to be true beause he acquired it “through
a friend who recently cleared the house of the Queen's housekeeper…her relative said that she (the
housekeeper) was allowed to select a few items to keep when the Queen died in Lausanne, Switzerland
in 1969, and that this was one of those items.” He didn’t advertise the cow this way, but passed
this on when I inquired about its provenance – so I believe it too, because I had already bought it
and he had no reason to feed me –so to speak – a line of bull. Gee, perhaps I now have a royal cow!
It addition to the story, I particularly likethis creamer because of its very unusual shape, and
the fact that its lid (with the tip of its tail) lifts off rather than being hinged. True story or
not, the cow is indeed unique and quite lovely..
This cow creamer is for sure Spanish, with a mark for "Madrid", although neither I nor the seller can identify the maker's mark. I was told that it came from a family of bankers in Zaragoza. It's nice and heavy, fairly modern - must be a steer since there's no "equipment' of any sort between the hind legs. Of most interest, there is a large engraved cross over a conjoined BR on the left rump. The seller checked and indicated that it didn't match any known brands, nor did the bankers have any relationship to cattle, so presumably it is related to a family name The engraving is nicely and simply done and adds to the cow's beauty as well as the mystery. It is certainly a well made cow creamer and different from all my others.
Switching countries, here is a 925 silver cow stamped on its tail for Italy, with
"Cartier" in script.
Here’s another Italian creamer, 800 silver, marked for “Coppini & C.” of Florence. I can’t
locate any information on this company, except that there was a firm of Fratelli Coppini in Florence
from 1740 on. What’s most interesting about this one is that instead of a fly, its lid bears an
open-work butterfly studded with small gems.
This very heavy and extremely ornate creamer with the very large and detailed fly was made by
Garrard & Co. of London in 1997; it bears their “G&Co.Ltd” hallmark and the lion rampant and
leopard-head London assay, as well as the Garrard stamp. This company was founded by silversmith
George Wickes (1698-1761) in London in 1735 and underwent several name and partnership changes before
becoming Garrard & Co @1802. Queen Victoria bestowed the honor of Crown Jeweler on Garrard in
1843, a responsibility they retained until 2007. They amalgamated with the Goldsmiths and
Silversmiths Co. Ltd in 1952, which was taken over in turn by Mappin & Webb (established in 1797)
in 1959. www.antiquesilverspoons.co.uk
notes that in the early 60’s Mappin & Webb combined with Walker and Hall and Elkington & Co.
and are still active today as retailers under the auspices of British Silverware Ltd.”
Interestingly, Wikipedia has a somewhat different version of their recent history, noting that
Garrard demerged in 2002, then was acquired by the US private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. in 2006 (which
may explain why they are no longer the crown jewelers…). Can someone correct or verify all this??
Oh, the tangled webs of recent M&As!. Whatever, it’s a lovely cow creamer, albeit a bitch to
polish with all those protrusions!
These are extremely large, heavy, and exquisitely crafted German 925 creamers. I believe they are
late 19c, but they certainly date from after 1868 when the Germans standardized the national hallmark
to be a crescent moon and crown (Halbmond und Krone). They bear these and the 925 mark on the tail,
as well as a standing lion. One of them is also stamped for “Germany”, presumably meaning it was
made for export (I got the one without that stamp directly from Germany – so some of these apparently
stayed home). I’ve searched diligently through the main (and excellent) web sources on German
hallmarks -- the “Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks and Maker’s Marks”,www.925-1000.com, and “A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of
vertu”, www.silvercollection.it, but
can’t find anything that looks like the makers mark on these. Perhaps some expert can help me.
This is another quite large and heavy German creamer with 925 and the Halbmond und Krone, but no
makers mark that I can find. It came straight from Germany so most likely was not made for export.
This is an unmarked sterling creamer, said by the seller to most likely be German from around 1890.
This cow is also unmarked except for “800” next to a small illegible circle. I’d guess it’s also
likely German, late 19th or early 20c. It has an interesting fly, with quite large and distinct
legs. It also sports relatively large horns and a good sized udder, along with striations on its
Here is a finely done, modern chased cow creamer. It bears a London import mark
and 1961 date mark, both “sterling” and .925, and a very nice maker’s mark for “J R &
Co Ld” in a four-leaf clover shape. The seller indicated that he thought that might be
for John Round, but that’s very unlikely given the date. I have however been unable to
identify the maker. Help would be greatly appreciated.
This well shaped (but with a couple small dents) creamer with a large standing bee
bears some interesting marks – they appear to include, in addition to the ‘800’, an
Egyptian assay mark, the national ‘cat’ symbol, and an indecipherable date mark. The
seller thought he also could find a crescent moon (blurry) as well as the large but
unidentified maker’s mark, and thus suggested that it was made in Hanau and imported into
Egypt. I will try to do some more searching to see if I can substantiate or change his
This well molded and chased cow with a fairly full udder and a rather flat aft
facing bee is another puzzler – the only marks are on her tail, and although they are
quite clear I have no idea what they may signify.
Apparently some bulls give cream if treated properly. This hefty, hairy, short horned, well endowed
chap is 925 German silver, and hales from Freigericht via eBay. Then there’s this elegant pair, she
and he, bearing marks that include an Old English “m” as well as “STERLING, handmade”. The bull has
an open back, but does indeed have a mouth hole so qualifies even if he’s intended to carry sugar.
His lady friend has a lid with a simple aft-facing fly and indented floral decorations.
These two – which I acquired in an on-line auction from Heritage Galleries, are marked on the tail
“B&Z, 800, GERMANY”, and an unidentifiable maker’s mark. B&Z stands for Bucholz & Zelt,
US importers located at 22 W 48th St, New York (an Otto Bucholz & Co of 1170 Broadway traded as
early as 1904, and was still around – advertising in the Jeweler’s Circular – in 1920; I haven’t yet
found out when the name changed, or rather when Mr Zelt became a partner and the B&Z firm was
established, and whether it was Otto or some other Bucholz that joined with him. B&Z imported a
lot of Hanau silver, much from J.D. Schleissner & Sohne, but the maker’s mark on these, as well
as the other one I have from B&Z, is badly blurred [& Schleissner used a whole flock of
different ones]. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 required the name of the country of origin to be
stamped on imports…and in 1914 this was amended to include the words “Made In”. My best guess
therefore is that these are Hanau silver, certainly imported prior to WWI
Here’s another little 800 German silver bull with the
post-1866 crescent moon and crown mark, but
interestingly no maker’s mark that I can find. He’s a nice little bull, so I’m not sure
why the maker didn’t want to identify his work.
Then there’s this elegant pair, she and he. The bull has an open back, but does indeed
have a mouth hole so he qualifies as a creamer even if he’s intended to carry sugar. His lady
friend has a lid with a simple aft-facing fly and indented floral decorations. Both of these lovely
creamers bear “STERLING, handmade”as well as an Old English “m”, which is the mark of William B.
Meyers (1887-1958). I learned a bit about him from a November 2011 article in Antiques and Auction
News which discussed the forthcoming sale of his personal collection of his work, including dollhouse
miniatures. That article notes that he “was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the first of five
children born to a German father and Polish mother, and moved to New York City with his family when
he was ten. He exhibited artistic ability as a child, and with the encouragement of his art teacher,
he initially considered a career as a designer for a wallpaper company until it was discovered he was
color-blind. He also had ambition to be an actor and after graduating in 1907 from City College of
New York, he toured the deep South with a dramatic company and developed a vaudeville act. He
returned to New York after impassioned entreaties from his family, and upon his return, he began a
four-year apprenticeship with a German silversmith in lower Manhattan.” He became interested in sales
as well as design while working for the Wilcox-Roth Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1913 he bought
the company and changed its name the William B. Meyers Company. It remained in business for over 50
years. He started making miniatures for his own pleasure in the late 1920s, and continued doing so
till his wife died in 1947 at which time he focused on religious sterling hollowware. I have no idea
of the date of this pair of his creamers other than they must be from before 1947, but they are
extremely well done.
A Herd of Little Silver Creamers
I’m particularly fond of the small ‘single serving’ (or maybe two servings) creamers, that I assume
one would set out at each place at a fancy dinner party. Here’s an overview of my herd of them…all
about 3” tall or less, and in these herd shots accompanied by the little doll house Schuppe model
from Peter Acquisto that was described above and in the Miniatures page. Following are some pictures
and descriptions of the ones not already depicted, and their marks.
This cute little (3" tall) gal is significantly different from all of the others. She's Italian -
cast 925 sterling from the firm of Giuseppe Belfiore of Florence, which was founded in the late
1940s. She is chased, has polled horns, and a very fancy lid with a forward-facing fly and the
hinge on the front end. I obtained her from New Orleans Silversmiths' Paul Leaman, who stays in
touch with Giuseppe's son and daughter who now run the firm.
This stately small steer was sold as French, but I’m not sure. The markings are very unusual in
that they’re spread out… what is most likely the maker’s mark – JR ? – on the tail; what looks to me
to be a lion with one paw out in front (back parts blurred) on the belly; and a sort of fuzzy blob
that the seller thought might be a Minerva’s head under the lid. No fly – so for sure it’s not
English, and it must live in a very clean pasture. I could certainly use some help with this one.
This is the first little silver one I bought – in 1997, from I. Franks in the London
Silver Vaults, the same store where I got the Schuppe’s. Mr. Franks said it was ‘European’ from
around 1890. These marks are also interesting – one appears to be a bunch of grapes, and I don’t
quite know how to describe the other. You may also notice that I’m reflected along with my camera on
the cow’s side…the same problem occurs on many of the others. The next few cows are quite similar to
this one albeit each is a bit different – it seems to be a rather popular style.
This cow also came from the Silver vaults – the shop of Stephen Kalms (dangerous place, the silver
vaults…). He claimed it was German. It’s clearly 800 silver, and the other mark appears to be a
different version of the bunch of grapes.
I got this one from a company named Britannia of Chesterfield, Ohio,
through eBay in 2000. Its markings are a lot of fun…In one direction there’s a “KS” surrounded by
three dots for Karl Schatz of Hanau who was active in the 1st
quarter of the 20th century (info courtesy of the Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks…), and 930
silver. The German crown and crescent mark are absent although they were supposed to be compulsory
after 1888, presumably because it was made expressly for a British importer. The marks in the other
direction show that it was imported into the UK (the ‘u’ in the circle is the British import mark
used since 1906) in 1912 (that’s the “r”) by “R.L” (which is right in the middle of the camera
reflection), whom I can’t identify, and it is considered sterling by the Brits (925). Someone has
also scratched “O8W” – or more likely “M&O” into the bottom. No idea what that is…
Just after I bought the Britannia cow on eBay my wife and I went to the Baltimore Antique fair, and
lo and behold they had a booth there, where I bought this creamer. It’s clearly another German 925 sterling silver export, but this time to the US. I don’t know what
the ‘5’ represents, and there’s no maker’s mark that I can find.
Here’s another German export creamer – this time with Sterling and 925 impressed on the tail, along
with another mark that may be the German half-moon and crown. It and 925 are repeated under the lid.
Here are two close cousins, also destined to leave their native land – very similar head and body
shape but with different horns and lids. Again the Sterling, 925, and an indistinguishable mark are
impressed on the tails. The one with the horns facing forward also has “Germany” meaning it was
probably headed to America, presumably prior to WWI.
This little lady arrived well after the herd picture, but she bears the family resemblance to those
creamers directly above and below. She’s extremely well fashioned, nicely chased, with a necklace and
a wide lid. The mark is under the lid, “Germany, 800” and what appears to be a blurry crown and
crescent moon. There’s also a mark that looks a bit like a question mark – if that is what it is,
then this cow may well have come from the Hanau shop of J.D.Schleissner Sohne, which as noted above
in the blurb about Hanau was renowned for the quality of its work. No way to be sure…but I’d like to
think that’s where it came from.
For the last of this set of somewhat similar small cows, here’s a German 800 silver one imported by
Bucholz & Zelt, thus the “B&Z”. It would also appear to bear the half-moon & crown, but
that’s a bit hard to distinguish and it could easily be Hanau pseudo mark A couple more imported by
B&Z follow…apparently small silver cow creamers were popular in New York City in the early
This ‘longhorn’ isn’t B&Z, but like them is marked on the tail, “925, Germany, Sterling”.
It’s from a fairly common mold. It’s actually a somewhat curious mix – the body shape of a bull,
but with an udder and teats.
Here are the other two B&Z creamers – similar, but one with big red eyes and the other with them
either missing, or done differently…smaller in any event, but what it lacks in eyes it more than
makes up for with teats. Both tails are marked “Germany” and 800, and have an indistinguishable
blob which I’m guessing should be the crescent moon and crown.
This is an interesting very small cast sterling creamer that the seller, in Germany, indicated was
probably from the 1930s. It has the crown but no moon…and again the word ‘sterling’ implying it was
made for US import. I’d guess there was a bell on the loop in the front of the big collar at one
This creamer came from the same German collection, but several years later. It is marked in an
unusual place, inside the right rear leg. In addition to the ‘925’ it bears a maker’s
mark of a J, a swan, and a k in an oval, for Johan S. Kurz & Co. of Hanau. The
Encyclopedia of Silver marks says they were active from c1870-1960s, and “worked in the antique
style”, whatever that means.
This very tiny but delightful little guy is a bit of a cheat for the collection since instead of
having two holes, his head is on a hinge. He’s so cute however that I couldn’t resist. I’d guess he
was probably a snuff box. His marks are interesting since they’re both outside on the neck and on
the inside rim. Outside, the F is the British import mark used from 1867-1904. The lion passant
stands for sterling, and the T=1894. These are repeated and the English Leopard head added inside,
and on the other side is the mark of the importer, DB for David Bridge, General Manager of John
George Smith & Co., Manufacturers, who imported a lot of silver items, many from Germany although
there is no definite indication of origin here.
My wife bought this lovely hammered silver pitcher for me during a visit to Dublin in 1997. The
marks show a London assay, 1979. The maker’s mark is HM which, thanks to a reader of my site, I have
learned is for Hector Miller (born 1945), an eminent London silversmith who trained at Stuart
Devlin's workshop.. I learned from a similar pitcher that recently came up for sale on eBay that
these were made for the Centenary of the Jersey Cow Society of the UK, which was founded in 1878.
Their web page notes that “Jersey cattle originate from Jersey, the largest Island in the Channel
Islands and just some 14 miles away from the French coast. There are fewer than 6000 Jerseys on the
Island in total with nearly 4000 of these being adult milking cows. The purity of the breed on the
Island is maintained by a strict ban on imports. This ban has been in place for some 150 years. There
are no other breeds of the cattle on the Island. The Jersey shares a common ancestry with not only
the Guernsey breed but also those cattle found on the Normandy and Brittany coasts. This type of
cattle is believed to have originally travelled up across Europe from the Middle East. Jerseys are
known to exist in the UK mainland since 1741 and probably well before. At that time they were known
as Alderney's .” The folks that live on the island are rightly proud of their breed and Jersey cow
creamers, appropriately labeled but of many styles, are (or at least were) popular souvenirs. You’ll
find a small herd of them on the Advertising and Souvenirs page.
I almost hate to put this lovely creamer on a stand so far down the page, but it issignificantly
different than the others because it’s silver plated rather than solid silver. It’swell marked for the
maker, George Richmond Collis, who in 1835 took over the firm ofSir Edward Thomason at 28 Church
Street, Birmingham, moving in 1868 to CambridgeStreet. In 1854 Collis opened a branch at 130 Regent
Street, London. The firm wasabsorbed by S.W. Smith & Co in 1888. This creamer is clearly marked
for the Londonaddress, and I need to do more homework to interpret the rest of the marks and gain more
information. I’ve shown it next to an electroplated nickel silver one by PT&;Co (no further info)
since it bears a family resemblance although with clear differences.
Here is a second George Richmond Collis silver-plated cow, differing from the one above only by
slightly different horns and fly. One thing that makes it interesting is that on the right flank it
bears an engraved crown over “GR”. Of course I’d like to believe that that stands for George Rex, or
King George, but then again there are no numbers so even if so it’d be hard to say which one.
||Here is another silver-plated creamer, quite heavy, and chased to resemble hair except forthe lid. It
has thin Schuppe-like legs, and the teats appear to be simply little pieces of wire. It has no markings
and thus I have no real information on when and where it was made. However it came to me from Buenos
Aires, Argentina (shortly after my wife and I had visited there) and the seller could only say that he
acquired it from the estate of a wealthy collector and that he estimated it to date from the 1920’s or