An Austro-Hungarian silver pipe of 1813
(by Felix van Tienhoven and Natascha Mehler)
The bowl, of silver and partially gilded, measures 9cm in height, inclusive of the cover. It has a ceramic lining and has been well smoked. The stem is made of ivory.
Siver-gilt pipe, Vienna 1813. [Photo: Felix van Tienhoven]
The interesting aspect of this pipe is that it is well hallmarked. These marks show that the pipe comes from Vienna, where the purity of its silver was approved in 1813 as having met the standard of 13-lötige/löthige (= .812 ½ purity). Furthermore the makers' mark CR is clear in several places on the bowl. Unfortunately the Austrian Hallmarks of the period 1737-1866 are not (yet) available.
At the Imperial Court in Vienna two silver-smiths are known who could have used a CR mark, both of whom were born in Germany and both of whom were called Christoph von Radt. The first was born in Lindau, and died in Vienna in 1710, while the second was born in Augsburg and died in Vienna in 1730. Presumably these are father and son, both of whom were "Hofsilberhändler und Hofjuweliere" (court silver traders and court-jewellers).
We assume that their successors continued to use the prestigious CR makers' mark. Furthermore, we think that this exquisite and expensive pipe could only have been made for a member of a family in, or close to, the ruling class, which strengthens the credibility that the specimen hails from the Imperial workshops in Vienna.
If our assumptions prove to be correct we have an extraordinary object of Austro-Hungarian cultural heritage.
Detail of the hallmarks. [Photo: Felix van Tienhoven]
Can any reader provide further information regarding the CR makers' mark? If you can, or if you have any further comments you would like to make about this pipe, please contact us at email@example.com