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A rare American mid-18th century silver pepper caster, Philadelphia circa 1740-50 by Phillip Syng jr (1703-1789)

A rare American mid-18th century silver pepper caster, Philadelphia circa 1740-50 by Phillip Syng jr (1703-1789)

Of baluster form with a central girdle, upon a domed spreading circular foot. The domed pull off ‘bun top’ lid with drill pierced holes. Marked underneath with maker mark PS in a shield, also with scratch weight 3 oz : 3 : 3.

Height – 10 cm / 4 inches

Weight – 90 grams / 2.89 ozt

Apprenticed from about 1716 to 1725 to his father Philip Syng Snr (1676-1739) in Philadelphia, he was born on the 29th September of 1703 in Cork Ireland, he married Elizabeth Warner on 5th February 1730 in Philadelphia and died in the 8th May 1789 also in Philadelphia. In 1748 he advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia PA), "Engraving on Gold, Silver or Pewter done by Lawrence Herbert from London at Philip Syng's Goldsmith in Front-street”. Ian Quimby, American Silver at Winterthur, (1995) p. 450. Philip Syng jnr's mark is found upon the Declartion of Independce inkstand.

The present lot’s makers mark PS in a shield shape cartouche, one of the many variations ascribed to Syng, is found upon a spout cup twice near the rim, whereas the lid has PS in a rectangle, Syng’s more commonly ascribed mark, sold Sotheby’s New York, 24 Jan 2015, Lot 641 ($20,000 incl. premium)

Another pepper pot by Syng, of comparable form but with the lid surmounted by a finial, is illustrated Stephen Guernsey Cook Ensko, American Silversmiths and Their Marks IV, (1988), Boston: David R. Godine. p.465.

A salt of circa 1750 by Syng was sold Christie’s New York 15/16 Jan 2004, lot 192 ($3,585 incl. premium)

Sold for £2,000

Includes Buyer's Premium

Condition report

good state of preservation overall

there are various knocks/marks/abrasions over the surface from age and use of the item

very good impression of the mark

no repairs found but there is a separation crack on the lid between bezel and rim, this is near the vertical construction seam

piercing is good

rarity of item is strongly to be emphaised


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