An antique sterling silver bullet shape teapot. Lovely plain shape with a straight spout and hand engraved decoration to the upper body and lid. Excellent quality and many fine features. The lid detail is particularly charming with the fan motifs blending into the little face masks on the upper body. The bullet shaped teapot is probably one of the best known types of the George II period and the lid of this one has a cleverly concealed flush hinge which is difficult to distinguish as the engraver has continued the decoration over this area. Contains 450 ml. Weight 384 grams, 12.3 troy ounces. Height 10.5 cms. Spread 20.25cms. Diameter of base 7 cms. Made in London (no date letter). Two marks for the maker Francis Spilsbury I (this is his first mark used 1729-1738). See condition report regarding the silver marks.
This pretty teapot is in very good condition with no damage or restoration. The engraving is original, excellent quality and is still crisp. The lid has no silver stamps. The silver marks underneath the pot, although clear and easy to read, are not assay marks. This type of marking is called a duty dodger* and was done by the maker, Francis Spilsbury, at the time of manufacture (see the note under Literature). The date of the pot will be consistent with the date of Spilsbury’s first mark 1729-1738. The silver is guaranteed to be of sterling silver grade.
Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.
*Duty dodgers were most frequently produced during the period 1719 and 1758, when the duty (at 6d per ounce) payable on a finished piece of silver would have been a great deal of money. The pot will have been made at the period it belongs to stylistically, but the marks may have been taken from another hallmarked piece instead of being stamped legitimately by an assay office. The tell tale signs are that the marks are three in a straight line with the makers mark in a separate place, instead of correctly being scattered around the centre point.
It is a personal matter of opinion whether to buy a “duty dodger” or not. A quality pot such as this can be a worthy edition to a collection as an “example” however it will never command the same value as a similar pot with legitimate marks.