These sugar tongs are a complete enigma. On the face of it, they are
by George Smith II, but, according to the dates they cannot be.
So whose are they?
The tongs are very clearly hall-marked -
London 1797/98. They have the clipped duty mark, dating them to between 6th
July 1797 amd 28th
May 1798. They are a plain pair of tongs with a simple thread edge.
If we look at the various George Smiths
George Smith I entered his first mark in 1732 and he is recorded as
working up to 1751 - these tongs are over 40 years later so he is ruled
George Smith II entered his first mark some time before 1758 and entered
a mark in partnership with Thomas Hayter on 7th January 1792, so on the
face of it he was working with Thomas Hayter when these tongs were made;
George Smith III entered his first mark on 1st February 1774 and went into
partnership with William Fearn on 3rd November 1786, so again he was in
partnership at the time these tongs were made;
George Smith IV did not enter his first mark until 1799, so he is ruled out.
In fact the only theory that seems to
make sense is that the tongs were made by George
Smith II, (George Smith III maker's mark is a script mark), and not
hallmarked until 2 years later.
Click on any picture to enlarge