A pair of early English cast silver candlesticks of rare hexagonal form. Britannia standard silver*. Plain style and desirable shape. Small size. Good gauge silver. Britannia mark stamped on the capitals (worn). Owners initials engraved to the base. Weight 441 grams, 14.1 troy ounces. Height 15 cm. Base 9.7 cm. London 1708. Maker Joseph Bird.
Literature: *Britannia Standard silver. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent pure. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.
Joseph Bird, London silversmith, of the Brewers Company. Largeworker. 2 undated marks probably entered in April 1697 on commencement of the register. 3rd mark no date or address attributed. 4th (sterling) 1724. His mark is usually found on candlesticks.