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Silver Nef Ship

Portuguese Silver Nef / Centrepiece - Vintage Circa 1990

An exceptional, fine and impressive vintage Portuguese silver nef / centrepiece; an addition to our ornamental silverware collection

SKU C7978


This exceptional, fine and impressive vintage Portuguese silver nef* has been realistically modelled in the form of a ship.

The surface of the vessel is ornamented with impressive embossed and chased decoration replicating the details of the ship's wood texture.

The anterior surface of the ship features details replicating a suspended anchor and bowsprit, all conjoined to the ship amongst rope twist designs.

This double masted ship retains the original hallmarked sails and jibs, conjoined with exceptional rope twist strands.

Each main sail is ornamented with exceptional engraved Order of Christ Cross/Portuguese Cross**.

The central mast is further embellished with circular crow's nests, each accented with pierced decoration.

The deck of the ship is accented with further details including smaller boats and rope coils.

This silver nef ship is supported by four impressive functional wheels ornamented with stylised antique dolphin/mystical fish decorated spokes.

The hallmarks struck to this exceptional vintage silver nef include:

Maker's mark: Untraced

Silver quality/purity mark: 835 (.835, 835/1000)

Domestic silver mark: eagle oriented to the right (Porto, 835 standard)***

NOTES: * A nef is a dining table ornament typically used within western Europe, modelled in the form of a ship; the word nef derives from the French word used in the late 17th century for an ocean sailing ship. Ancient examples were used for drinking vessels and evolved to hold dining implements in the hollow hull - including cutlery, napkins and spices; upon grander events the hull could be utilised to hold wine and special condiments. The functional wheels of the nef allow the piece to be passed around the table, enabling guests to be severed in a more elaborate manner. Through time the functional nef lost favour, becoming a more substantial and imposing centrepiece than a part of the dining experience.

** This cross style is a mix between a cross pattée and a cross potent. It is known as a Portuguese Cross due to its associations with Portuguese maritime exploration, and is a common cross style to be used within the culture's heraldry.

*** This variation of the domestic silver hallmark was used in Portugal between 1985-1998 upon the raise of the 1st and 2nd silver standards, determining the date of this piece as circa 1990.

Read a brief history of vintage silver centrepiece at AC Silver.

Maker: Unknown

This silver nef ship is an exceptional gauge of silver, exceptional quality and in exceptional condition.

Each component has been professionally polished and is in presentation condition.

The Portuguese hallmarks struck to the body of the vessel, in addition to part hallmarks to each component are all very clear.

Reflections in photographs may detract from the true representation of this example of vintage silverware.

Length 28.1cm/11.06"

Width 11.3cm/4.45"

Height 25.2cm/9.92"

21.1 troy ounces/656.7g

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International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations CINOA
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