A George II / George III silver ‘duty dodger’ sauceboat, London circa 1760 by William Skeen (reg. 4th Dec 1755)
Of oval bellied form with gadrooned edge, raised on three paw feet with lion mask junctions. The double C scroll handles with a shaped shell junction. Marked underneath with makes mark only four times.
Length – 19.4 cm / 7.75 inches
Weight – 402 grams / 12.93 ozt
The term ‘duty dodgers’ is applied to pieces that were not sent for assay during the period 1720-58 whereby a steep tax was placed on silverware. The present example whereby the makers mark is struck four times over in various directions to simulate the four marks required for assay at the time is the most innocuous of the methods deployed by duty dodgers and is found on multiple pieces by Paul de Lamerie who was known as a regular participant in tax dodging. Silversmiths had other, more nefarious, methods of escaping this tax which may involve transposing marks from small articles to large or by overstriking on marks cut out of much older pieces.
Estimated at £300 - £500