I’d appreciate some help in identifying some marks on a little gold
medallion and a small gold pin. I believe they are both from
England, end of the 19th century. The pin is stamped with “14 K,” and
just ahead of that is “B. B & B.” The medallion is stamped with “10
C’t” on one edge, and on the opposite edge is “BB.” Google was not
helpful for this. I assume that the pin is 14-karat gold and the
medallion is 10-karat gold, but the meaning of the “Bs” escapes me.
The medallion belonged to my great-grandfather, who emigrated from
northern England to the USA near the end of the 19th century. When I
read the inscription on it, I knew that at last I had found my
roots! On one side, it says, “WON BY Mr. JOHN HOWELL.” On the other,
it says, “BLAYDON Manure Compy 2nd Prize FOR TURNIPS GROWN /with
their Manure/ Dec. 1877” It is very nicely engraved, front and back.
Judy- With out seeing them, those stamps sound American to me.
British goods tend to be stamped with lots more marks. Makers mark,
year mark, and assy mark. Can you post pics of the piece and the
marks as well?
Blaydon Manure and Alkali Company is a manufacturer in
Blaydon-on-Tyne, a town in the Northeast of England, on the Tyne just
upriver from Newcastle. A quick Google search reveals this view of
the factory as it was in 1923.
The pin is American. “B B & B” is for Bailey, Banks & Biddle. From
the late 19th century until its acquisition by Zales in 1962 Bailey,
Banks & Biddle was one of the premier jewelers in America, on a par
with Tiffany & Co.
Here is the brief Wikipedia entry
Bailey & Kitchen, as it was originally known, was founded in
Philadelphia in 1832. It become Bailey & Co. in 1841, and Bailey
Banks & Biddle in 1878.
At the turn of the century, Bailey Banks & Biddle was
commissioned by the U. S. Government to update the Great Seal of
the United States; its design today remains the official version
of the seal. The company also designed and made many of the
military medals that are still used today, including the Medal of
Honor, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
In 1962, Bailey Banks & Biddle became a part of the Zale
Corporation. Zale opened many Bailey Banks & Biddle stores in
numerous cities. In 2007, Zale Corporation sold the 65-store
jewelry chain to Finlay Enterprises. Finlay Enterprises filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2009, and Bailey Banks & Biddle
was acquired by the current owners in the spring of 2010.
items marked 14k or 10ct wouldnt have originated in the UK but could
be marked thus as imports Standard UK fineness for gold is and was
9ct (.375), 14ct (.585) 18ct (.750(and 22ct (.916) however, you do
find marked pieces of 10ct, 15ct and 23ct as well.
Are there any other marks on the items? the standard assay office
marks on gold would be the fineness(the figure 9 or.375 or both), an
assay mark (crown for London, Anchor for Birmingham) the year mark
which is a letter in a shaped surround which tells us what series it
is and the makers or sponsors mark, which is usually a couple of
initials. B&B could be Bacon and Biggs or Banks and Barnsley, both
Birmingam companies making things around the 1900’s but they have
different shaped punch marks.
re the “10 ct” piece. if the B’s are in block letters with a period
between them and your grandfather immigrated from the UK after the
mid 19th c., I would venture to say the piece was made by Benjamin
Bull, who first registered in Birmingham in January of 1856 (an
anchor may be found somewhere on the piece, that would indicate that
office - as opposed to a lion’s head or a castle or a shield
surrounded by laurel branches which refer to London, Edinburgh, or
Sheffield offices respectively). But’ that’s only one maker Benjamin
Barlow had a B B, however in his mark the “period” was placed at the
halfway mark of the typeface. Wish I had a photo to help you
As for the 14K piece, sounds like Bailey, Banks & Biddle, the 3rd
incarnation of a jewellery firm that began in Philadelphia in the US
about 1830-32 known as Bailey & Kitchen, then took their mark as
Bailey & Co. around 1840 or so, then Bailey, Banks & Biddle by 1878.
Almost a century later became one of the many family owned businesses
that became part of /owned by the Zales Corp. who ultimately scooped
up about 100 locations and kept the name to seem like consumers were
getting the same quality and services an independent store -with a
big reputation- could offer. so to date B. B.&B is operational and
their mark easily verified.
Again- wish I had a photo to be sure but the dates match for the 10
piece to be made by Mr. Benjamin Bull and through the assay office
probably in Birmingham…
contact me off list if you’d like more assistance. rer
The piece you are talking about is a vintage American made item, the
B. B. & B. stands for Bailey, Banks & Biddle fine jewelers from
Philadelphia, PA, they were established in 1832 and were one of the
premier names in the ‘Carriage Trade’ jewelry business for more than
150 years. Their name and prestige was diluted sometime in the 1970’s
when they were purchased by the Zales Corporation. I worked for them
for a time in 1976-77, they produced a great number of pieces under
there trademarked name, from other manufacturers, but they were known
and stood for quality for a more than a hundred years. When Zales
reorganized several years back they and a few other Fine Jewelry
’Names’ were sold off. I believe they are only a shadow of what they
once were. Hope this helps