Howard & Co., NY, Solid Sterling Grape Shears, Exceptional
click for more pictures for item 2610f
This example of Victorian period grape shears or, as period catalogues identify them, scissors, are of a quality that set the bar for such pieces. They excel in terms of design, manufacture, and material.
The first factor that stands out is that they are made of solid sterling silver. Grape shears typically have steel cutters, while these are clearly marked on the backside of the lower blade "Howard & Co.," the date "1892," "New York," and "Sterling." To be sure, they do have darkened surfaces on inner, flat surfaces of the cutters, so may have a hardened coating in that area.
They measure 7" long and are very heavy at 4.1 T. oz.
The second elevating factor is the manufacturer. A high end jeweler, Howard & Co. was a major 19th century presence in New York City, located on 5th Avenue, with branches in Newport and London.
Thirdly, these have intricately detailed and skillfully executed, cast handles, that portray gnarly vines draped with grape leaves and clusters of fruit.
Lastly they are in exceptionally fine estate condition. There is no evident wear. They close snugly (a leaf on the right handle actually overlays a leaf on the left handle, creating a locking mechanism after a fashion), have a bright finish, and are without bends, nicks, or burrs.