A Collection of Antique Australiana Silverware
Among The Collection of a Distinguished Lady is a beautiful selection of antique Australiana silverware – a style of silver production that emerged locally in the late 19th century with the arrival of immigrant silversmiths and jewellers. These artisans brought traditional skills from Britain and Europe, and began crafting innovative designs that featured motifs of Australian flora and fauna.
A History of Antique Australiana Silver
In the late 19th century, immigrants were flocking to Australia, many bringing with them specialist artisan skills. Among the arrivals were hundreds of silversmiths and jewellers, who opened stores across Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
Traditionally trained in Europe and Britain, these creatives found fresh inspiration in their adopted land. It led to a new style of silverware, beautifully crafted and featuring unique motifs including Australian flora and fauna.
It also made quality silverware much more accessible, as Casi Prischl, Theodore Bruce Jewellery, Silver & Timepieces Specialist Specialist explains:
“There were now hundreds of jewellers and silversmiths across the main cities. With wider production, quality silverware became more affordable, and demand soared. Of particular appeal were these new designs that blended English and European tradition with a touch of Australiana.”
Pictured: An Australian Silver Plate Centrepiece, Fern Leaves above a Kangaroo, Emu & Aboriginal
Distinguishing Australian Silverware
Early Australian Colonial silverware spans pieces from the early 1800’s up until the 1850’s. It was generally limited to flatware, and makers included Alexander Dick, Robert Broad and Felix Lynn.
From the 1860’s, silver production expanded significantly, with local silversmiths now producing items such as napkin rings, cups, trophies and decorative objects. Silver production flourished, and it was during this time that silversmiths began to incorporate Australian motifs.
As with the system of antique silver hallmarks in Britain, local silversmiths stamped their wares with unique markings, which today help specialists identify the maker and time period. Silversmiths of the late 19th and early 20th century in Australia included Evan Jones, William Kerr, William Edwards, JM Wendt, Henry Steiner, Stokes & Sons and Christian Quist.
Pictured: Four Silver Plate Australian Napkin Rings & Knife Rest, Kangaroo & Emu Motifs, Stokes & Sons, Melbourne, c.1910
Australiana Silverware at Auction
As with all antique silverware, the price of Australiana silver at auction can vary depending on the quality, the object, and very often, the maker.
“The type of object, the maker, and the number of pieces manufactured, all hugely affect demand,” says Casi. “While a vintage piece such as a cup or spoon – or this Silver Plate Teapot with Kookaburra Motif – can be very affordable, rarer items such as those produced by Adelaide silversmith, JM Wendt, can command high prices at auction.”
Please browse our catalogue for The Collection of a Distinguished Lady, which features antiques, furniture and jewellery – and to keep up to date on future auctions, join our mailing list below.
A Sterling Silver Australian Boomerang with Possum Motif, Fairfax & Roberts, c.1943
An Australian Pair Of Marble and Cast Metal Emu Egg Book Ends
A Stewart Dawson Silver Plate Three Branch Epergne with Kangaroo Motif
Silver Plate Australian Napkin Rings & Knife Rest, Kangaroo & Emu Motifs, Stokes & Sons, Melbourne, c.1910