Toasting the Delight of the Master Craftsmen’s Cup
Antique Silver Goblets
It is easy to see why antique silver goblets are one of the most widely collected items from The London Silver Vaults. Firstly, they make a wonderful addition to extravagant dinner parties. Guests receive their own individual drinking vessels, each gorgeously chased and engraved, hammered with its own unique history, and all delightful to look at.
Secondly, antique silver goblets are expertly crafted items that hark back to an era of exemplary British craftsmanship. These gems of the silversmith’s art intoxicate collectors. Goblets were often crafted by the most celebrated metalworkers of their generation. In fact, amassing a collection of six or eight gives the owner the opportunity of displaying a silversmith’s hall of fame on his dinner table: a Hester Bateman (1809-1794) can rub shoulders with a Paul Storr (1771-1844); an Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) can sit alongside a Robert Welch (1929-2000)
Another irresistible attraction, of course, is the childlike glee that attends drinking from vessels that resemble the contents of Captain Jack Sparrow’s treasure chest.
Further to satisfying one’s own palette with a suitable array of antique silver goblets, these elegant, functional and beautiful items make superb birthday gifts and Christmas presents. Matching a hallmark to a birthday or special occasion gives the new owner of the silver an immediate sense of ownership and affection.
Most of the antique goblets that change hands in The London Silver Vaults are 18th and 19th century pieces, bought for use. Earlier examples are significantly scarcer, can be up to 10 times more expensive, and tend to be snapped up by various collectors and museums. Goblets from 18th century onwards are relatively plentiful, a pair of plain silver goblets, hallmarked London 1772, by the renowned lady silversmith Hester Bateman, will set you back £3,875. While a Paul Storr goblet, marked London 1817 could start from around £2000. Of course, you pay more for those famous makers’ marks, a typical 1796 goblet by a more obscure maker can be bought for less than £1000.
So what does the future hold for today’s goblet hunter? Many feel that postwar silver is the exciting emerging market. People are going for goblets made by prolific makers such as Stuart Devlin and Gerald Benney, and the lesser-known names are also proving very popular, because they are by great craftsmen but not as expensive – yet!
However, it is not purely about investment, many collectors of silver goblets enjoy them as small works of art and to quote one recent admirer, “They hold an amazing amount of wine. When we got our first few, we had friends round to test drive them, and the capacity is just astonishing. They must hold a quarter of a bottle each. Everyone who drinks from them is happy.”