Antique Silver Miniature Candle Snuffers
Date: Circa 1685 - 1720
Maker: George Manjoy
A delightful little collector’s piece. A rare antique silver wick trimmer miniature, also called a candle douter. Britannia standard silver*....
A delightful little collector’s piece. A rare antique silver wick trimmer miniature, also called a candle douter. Britannia standard silver*.
Weight 6 grams, 0.19 troy ounces.
Length 4.8 cm. Width 2.2 cm.
Maker George Manjoy (c.1685-c.1720), specialist toy maker (see Jackson’s Silver & Gold Marks of England, Scotland & Ireland p.141).
Candle douters were used to extinguish the flame of a candle. The extinguisher which was a small cone on the end of a long handle and the snuffer which was a dual purpose scissor like tool which could extinguish the candle flame and also cut the wick of the candle for reuse. There were few snuffers made prior to 1700.
* Britannia Standard silver is 95.8% pure. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent pure. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.
Literature. Silver toys originated in Europe during the 17th century and were made initially for the children of kings and queens. At that time England was still suffering under Puritanism and it wasn’t until the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 that silver toys were made available in this country. The earliest English silver toys date from 1665 and were made in London; it was uncommon for toys to be made in the provinces. The Dutch were the leading manufacturers of silver toys, their most prolific period being 1725-1750, and by then wealthy royalty, landowners and business men were buying toys for their own pleasure as well as that of their children’s.
The little candle snuffer is in very good condition. Stamped on each handle with the lions head erased and maker’s mark (1 makers mark is indistinct).
Maker: George Manjoy
George Manjoy (also Marjoy or Margoy), London silversmith. Working c.1685-c.1720. Specialist miniature toy maker.
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