Charles II Antique Silver Tankard


Stock: 10242

Date: 1680

Maker: John Ruslen

Country: England

A good early English silver lidded tankard with the flat top design of the period and a scroll handle with...

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A good early English silver lidded tankard with the flat top design of the period and a scroll handle with decorative thumb piece. Large size. To the front is a crisp hand engraved armorial capped by the crest of a lion holding a serpent and with a motto below – for the Leche family. There is an owl crest engraved to the lid. An excellent example of early hand beaten silver with lots of character.

Contains 1450 ml.
Weight 852 grams, 27.3 troy ounces.
Height 18 cm. Spread 21.3 cm.
London 1680.
Maker “IR” (see Jacksons page 130), probably John Ruslen (see David Mitchell’s “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”.
Sterling silver.
17th century.

Marks. The lid and body are stamped with matching English silver hallmarks, makers mark only to the handle.

Motto. “Per Crucem Ad Coronam” – “By the Cross, To the Crown”

Signed/Inscribed: Underneath there is an old presentation inscription in old fashioned script “ The gift of Sir John Leche of Carvarden and Stretton and his wife Helen Morris, to their son Andrew Nicholas as an heirloom to his family for ever”. Sir John Leche (1889-1960), K.C.M.G. O.B.E., formally British Ambassador to Chile, address Stretton Hall, Malpas, Cheshire

Literature: There are no precise records of silver makers’ marks prior to 1697. All records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in 1681 when the Assay Office and apartments of the Assayer and Clerk in the south west wing of the building were burned down. Sometimes the details of makers can be discovered from old records such as the inventories of noble houses and other institutions.

The first surviving record at Goldsmiths Hall is the 1682 copper plate made to start the recording process again. This has recently prompted a study by Dr David Mitchell, supported by Goldsmiths Hall, resulting in the publication of his 2017 “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”. This reference work identifies previously unknown makers marks and assigns marks struck on existing plate to individuals (attributions for 540 separate marks).


This rare antique silver tankard is in good condition with signs of use consistent with a tankard of this age. Good patina. The handle has two small dents either side of the top of the handle where the thumb piece has been touching for 340 years. Some signs of earlier repairs. The engravings are still crisp, probably not original.  

Maker Information

Maker: John Ruslen

John Ruslen, London silversmith, apprenticed to Thomas George 1656, free 1664. Livery 1682. Court 1693. Warden 1702, 1707-8. Prime warden 1722. 1st mark as largeworker undated, pre 1697.

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