paul storr

Three Famous Antique Silver Makers/Smith

Craftsmen specialize in a trade. They work for many years to perfect their skill and develop their own personal style. Throughout history some craftsmen or craftswomen stand out from the crowd and become famous. The most legendary of silver smiths are Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, and Paul de Lamerie. They had set themselves apart; commissioned to create pieces for some of the wealthiest in history. As a result, their works are still some of the most highly sought after for antique silver buyers and collectors. If you have one of their sterling silver pieces, you have a high value item rooted in a rich history.

Who Was Paul Storr?

Paul Storr was a protégé. He began his apprenticeship at age 14. Most apprentices are bound to their masters for years, often until the age of 21. At that time, Storr entered a partnership, but quickly began marking with his own personal stamp using his own initials when he was just 21 years old. He was best known for his commemorative pieces and they were always embellished lavishly.

paul storr

During the late 18th Century until his death in 1844, Paul Storr was an accomplished English silversmith who was commissioned by many of the aristocratic society, even King George III. There are around 500 known works of his still around today and each one of them highly prized. To give you a good idea of what his works are actually worth, an unaltered tureen, which is a pot used for serving soup, can go for $70,000 at auction.

Who Was Hester Bateman?

Hester Bateman was also an English silver smith. Her career was from 1761 to 1790. She inherited the precious metal working business from her deceased gold smith husband, but she had great talent herself. And she successfully kept the family company going strong with the help of her sons, grandsons, and even great-grandsons! Unlike most men who would learn their trade through apprenticeship, Bateman learned by watching her husband. Her skill allowed her to be commissioned by many of the large firms in the area, but given that she was a woman and her reputation was spreading fast, they often stamped over her maker’s mark for many of her early years.

Hester Bateman

The last 10 years of her 30 year career proved her identity as a Master Silver Smith and that no one could keep her simply elegant style covered up. There are an estimated 11,000 pieces that were crafted during her career. Most of them she designed and priced with the middle class in mind, something not many silversmiths were doing during that time.

Who Was Paul de Lamerie?

Another one of the English silversmith greats, de Lamerie had an earlier start. Some say he is the “greatest silversmith of the 18th Century”. He came from the Huguenot family, precious metal workers from France who fled to London where Paul got his start. In 1712, he established his own shop. He is known for his exquisitely lavish attention to detail and a personal, intricate version of the French Rococo style.

Paul de Lamerie

His maker’s mark is probably the most highly sought after in antique silver markings. One of his tureens is priced retail right now at $335,000.

If you have a silver piece, you need to know its value. An antique silver dealer will be able to evaluate your item and most importantly tell you if it is antique silver 925. They are able to provide you with the rich history of your piece(s) and conduct appraisals. Even if your item does not carry one of these three silversmith marks, you may still have a very valuable item.

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