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George Sharp Antique Sterling Silver Fish Servers, Philadelphia, PA, 1866-73

We've never seen this variation on George Sharp's classic "Ball" pattern.  While the end features the ball, the handle shaft is twisted with an alternating pattern of beading and plain decoration.  Both the functional ends are beautifully pierced and hand-engraved with bright-cut decoration.  Neither has ever been monogrammed.

One of the more exciting technical advances in flatware made during this period is the application of flexible manufacturing, where different parts could be exchanged with others to create different combinations and patterns.  In this case, the very rare twisted and beaded shaft is combined with more typical parts.  It is only through the improved machining and finishing techniques of the mid-19th century that this sort of fabrication was possible and its application gave rise to some wonderfully creative pieces - such as these servers.  There is no real comparable in European flatware; this is an American style of flatware.

Provenance: Collection of Dale E. Bennett

These exceptionally rare servers measure 11 (fork) and 12.125 (slice) inches long.  Each is marked with George Sharp's trademark and "PATENT 1866" (Ball pattern patent date).  Weighing a hefty 8.4 troy ounces, they are in very good antique condition with some scratching and nicking to the balls from age.