This is a pair of Irish Georgian silver sugar tongs, particularly unusual as they are the only pair of tongs that I have ever seen with 2 makerís marks struck. Both marks are very clear Ė the first, (Michael Keating) having been struck with the hallmark and the second some time later. The Michael Keating mark looks to date from about 1793 and the BD mark, (Bartholomew Delandre?) presumably some time later. It is known that Michael Keating did some time in prison around that time for selling below standard silver. Was his, (bankrupt), stock sold off and re-marked by others? The likely answer to this little conundrum is that the second mark was struck by the retailer. Generally when this was done with other tongs, the retailer would over-strike the original makerís mark, so why were two separate marks struck on these? Is it that they are Irish and they chose to be different from the English? Whatever the situation, it is very rare to see.
Unfortunately these tongs have a split in the bow, which significantly reduces their value.
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