Philo Gilbert Engraved Scene Coin Silver Cake Saw
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The pattern (dubbed "Queen of the Sea" by one source) on this 9 1/2" long, substantial weight, 2.4 T. oz., cake saw engenders a lot of discussion among those who follow such matters.
There is a weak consensus that it originated with New York's Philo Gilbert, and indeed his four part pseudo hallmark (lion, leopard, S, bust) appears on this piece, although many other makers placed their names on this pattern, as well, and therein lies the mystery as to definite attribution. "Gorham" and "Gorham and Thurber" examples, for instance, frequently show up, enough so to indicate that at one time this was a standard design in that company's stable.
Given all this, it has to date from at least the 1850s.
It is relatively elaborate for an early die struck design. It has a leafy border that is rather wavy, perhaps in the manner of seaweed, with a shell end. The pattern appears on both sides of the flat handle, which has a feathered script "McF" monogram.
The blade is solid silver with a sawtooth upper edge. The surface is engine turned and engraved. There is a scene in the central reserve area that portrays a castle-like structure set on an island in the midst of a body of water. This is all intricately wrought, and paired with a floral design on the backside of the blade.
The condition is mint. There is essentially no polishing wear, with all aspects of the design and the engraving remaining crisp. The blade is even, straight, and without burrs or nicks. The finish is appealingly patinated.