This is an early and rare asparagus server. The curved handles have a reeded edge and are engraved at the elbow with an 'ALF' monogram below the coronet of a German or Italian noble. A rectangular clasp at the base of the handle stabilizes their use. The long blades have wonderful engraving of interlocking diamond shapes with central circular reserves.
The interior of the the blades are formed as large ripples to easily hold food in its place.
This wonderful server is hallmarked on the side of one of the handles and on one of the blades. Marks include the standard mark with '84' and the assayers initials for Mikhail Churmazov along with the makers mark for Pavel Sazikov and an Imperial Court stamp, meaning Sazikov was a silversmith to the Russian Imperial family. The '84' designation is the silver standard for 875/1000 silver. The server or tongs measures 11 inches long, weigh 9.55 troy ounces and are in very good antique condition with monograms having been removed from the reserves on both sides of the blades.
Provenance: From the collection of Dale E. Bennett
Literature: Dale E. Bennett, "Russian Silver Flatware Servers" in Silver Magazine, January/February, 2015, pp. 16-17.