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Impressive collection of hallmarked silver antique baby rattles coming up for auction at Cuttlestones

The old saying ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouth’ was coined to describe those born into fortunate circumstances.

However, during the 18th and 19th centuries, children born into upper and middle class families would genuinely have been welcomed into the world with a gift of silverware; among the most popular being ornate silver baby rattles adorned with whistles, bells and coral teethers. Attractive and easy to date thanks to their silver hallmarks, it’s little wonder that these rattles have become popular collectors’ items.

With this in mind, a private collection of 24 antique silver baby rattles - set to come under the hammer at Staffordshire auction house Cuttlestones’ 19th November sale - is likely to generate considerable interest. With all of the rattles in good to excellent condition, the majority date from the Victorian period and a number are by the prolific Birmingham silversmith George Unite. Among the collection are several lots that really stand out.

Two are particularly interesting due to their early date, being Georgian as opposed to Victorian. The earliest of these, dating from 1801, bears the makers mark ‘SP’ for Samuel Pemberton and is a superb example of a large Georgian silver gilt baby’s rattle; bearing an intricate bright cut design, eight bells in two rows a whistle and a mother-of-pearl teether it carries an estimate of between £300-400. The second Georgian baby’s rattle in the collection has an octagonal whistle, bright cut design, two rows of bells and a coral teether. Hallmarked for 1804, this example is expected to achieve between £200-400.

Also of note is a collector’s lot of three rattles; the first a large example, probably Birmingham 1900, bearing the maker's mark 'ESB' for 'E.S. Barnsley & Co. Ltd.'; the second Birmingham 1871 and the third, smaller, circa 1850. This lot of three rattles carries an estimate of £200-400.

The final highlight of this collection stands out as due to its rarity. A highly unusual silver baby’s rattle, hallmarked for Birmingham 1903 with repousse detailed body, six hanging bells (one missing) and a most unusual ‘antler’ shaped piece of white coral as a teether, believed to reflect the coral’s naturalistic form, carries an estimate of £300-500.

The rattles are part of a strong silver section within the catalogue for Cuttlestones’ Friday, 19th November Fine Art Sale, for which the catalogue will be available online at www.cuttlestones.co.uk from Friday, 12th November. Viewing will take place on Thursday, 18th November from 10:00am to 7:00pm. For those unable to attend the sale telephone and commission bids will be accepted alongside live online bidding via www.the-saleroom.com, visit www.cuttlestones.co.uk or call 01785 714905.


Charlotte at Squash PR & Marketing

E: charlotte@squash-pr.co.uk

T: 07504 340 934