Duty Drawback Teaspoon 1784
Teaspoon - Old English Feather-edge pattern - London 1784/5 by Hester Bateman - 12.4cm long; 13g - AS/5478
The ultra rare duty drawback mark is symbolised by a standing figure of Britannia holding a spear and shield. This mark was first used at the same time as the duty mark on 1st December 1784, to represent the repayment of duty for exempt items that were being exported. It was discontinued on 24th July 1785 because of the damage caused to finished goods by its stamping, although drawback itself continued. The infrequency of use and short life of the mark means that few examples exist. This teaspoon bears a great example!
The teapoon itself is in the feather edged variant of the Old English Pattern and the engraved decoration down the handle is in crisp condition. The engraved initials to the terminal - "M:D.G" are a clue as to the destination of the spoon at the time of duty drawback. This style of engraving is typically of the Channel Islands where many surnames are pre-fixed by "de" and these islands would have been considered as an export. The addition of the engraved date is an extra bonus concurring with the hallmarked date letter and period of use for the drawback mark.
A further bonus is the presence of the famous "HB" maker's mark of Hester Bateman - "Queen of English Silversmiths". Hester Bateman appears to have been one of the biggest silver exporters during 1784/5 as her goods seem to be the most frequently encountered stamped with the drawback mark. The spoon is in excellent condition and the hallmarks are as good as you are likely to find.