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If you need to know the relative rarity on a prospective antique item or collectable, what better way than to scan the most comprehensive chronologically-organized catalog of the known pieces for comparison. That is precisely what the Compendium of Scottish Silver II offers for antique silver enthusiasts with the inclusion of more than 6,000 listings of Scottish gold and silver produced between the 14th-21st centuries.
Compared to English silver or even just London-made silver, Scottish silver is relatively rare. But among this comparatively rare category of decorative arts antiques, there are important distinctions in what was routine, innovative, unusual and yes...extremely rare. Yet, these questions can be answered with the information presented in our new book:
Compendium of Scottish Silver II.
The original Compendium of Scottish Silver was launched as a Cornell University Digital Library project (open access publishing) and was based on two-plus decades of research accumulating Scottish silver records from auction houses, antique shops, museums and private collections. It provided the foundation for our new widely-distributed book.
Our new 2007 Compendium II is a print version expansion of the original work that has grown to include more than 6,000 silver and gold listings. Descriptions of pieces with sources are organized chronologically under each category of item (e.g. baskets, beakers, bowls). With the additional listings, an emphasis was placed on adding new information on Scottish provincial and 19th century silver. Photos (54) introduce each major category. Because identification of Scottish hallmarks is often problematic, Janice and I have included an illustrated section to aid the reader in deciphering various Scottish vs. other hallmarks. There is also a time line indicating the earliest known pieces of Scottish silver reflecting particular forms and/or style elements (e.g. the earliest teapot, thisle mug, cake basket, etc.).
Originally, the database was designed with scholarly interest and for personal use. But as it grew over the years with numerous generous antique dealers, collectors and museum curators contributing information on pieces, it became an novel resource of antiques.
So if you want to know what forms are the rarest among Scottish silver, which towns drove style designs or whether you might have a treasure from Scotland's past, we invite you to check out our book.