Q I have a small oval shaped metal decanter with a beautiful design on back, front, and lid. It’s about 4 inches tall and about 3 inches wide. The mark on the bottom has the initials J K with a picture of a swan between the letters. Can you tell me the age and of the decanter? Is it silver or silver plate? The only thing I have been able to find about the mark is that it’s possibly a French mark.

A It seems too small to be a decanter. This is not the swan mark used in France on silver sold in France. It used the swan mark on silver watch cases from 1893 to 1970 to indicate they met the legal fineness standard. The swan on your decanter is not a quality mark. This mark was used by J. Kurz & Co. of Hanau, Germany, a company founded in 1848. It was in business until at least 1961. The company made sterling silver, not plated wares, so the price is partially based on the meltdown weight of your decanter.

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