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Howard & Co., NY, Solid Sterling Grape Shears with Foxes circa 1895

Howard & Co., NY, Solid Sterling Grape Shears with Foxes circa 1895
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This example of late Victorian 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." and "Sterling," which applies to the entire piece.

They measure 6 7/8" long and weigh an impressive 5.6 T. oz.

A second elevating factor is the provenance. 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.

Lastly, these have intricately detailed and skillfully executed, cast handles, that portray gnarly vines draped with grape leaves and clusters of fruit, and have the added feature of a stalking fox on each half.

They are in exceptionally fine estate condition. All detail remains clear and free of polishing wear. The riveted hinge is snug, with very slight play, and the finish is bright and even.

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