Sterling silver thimbles  
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Thimbles from makers around the world, including James Fenton, Henry Griffith, Charles Horner and Simons

Learn more about marks on British silver thimbles


THERE ARE THREE PAGES OF SILVER THIMBLES
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Click on a photo (or a link within the text) to see an bigger picture



Have you found a sterling silver thimble yet with your birth year? There may be one waiting here for you to purchase
Most of these thimbles are hallmarked, so when there is a description of an assay office plus a date, the date is guaranteed
Thimbles for sale are arranged in the hallmark date order, where applicable

Please remember that only thimbles with a hallmark before 1908 are antiques - ie over 100 years old
Silver thimbles were melted down during WWI, so the number is a diminishing resource

With the sheer volume of thimbles for sale, I have not always been able to show any damage in the photos
I concentrate on showing the hallmarks, so please ask for further photos of any damage you would like to inspect, before placing an order

The "out of round" description means the thimble is now finger-shaped

This listing includes steel-cored sterling silver thimbles


CHARLES HORNER including DORCAS   |   CHARLES MAY   |   D & LIONEL SPIERS   |   GABLER   |   HAAKON JACOBSEN   |   HENRY FOWLER   |   HENRY GRIFFITH & SONS   |   HENRY WILLIAMSON LTD   |   HERITAGE COLLECTION / ALtd   |   JAMES COOK   |   JAMES FENTON   |   JAMES SWANN & SON   |   NORTHERN GOLDSMITHS & SILVERSMITHS Co   |   OLNEY AMSDEN   |   SIMONS  |   S J ROSE   |   STERN BROS  |   WAITE, THRESHER, CO  |   WALKER & HALL   |   YAACOV YEMINI

Charles Horner [CH]
HALIFAX, ENGLAND

DORCAS THIMBLES
Steel-cored sterling silver

Charles Horner patented his steel-cored sterling silver thimbles in 1884. Silver thimbles with use, go to holes & his patent provided for a lining of steel between two layers of silver. Initially these thimbles had no marking other than "PAT." short for Patent & [tho there are examples of the word Patent written out in full]; a size number. These early Dorcas thimbles often included the Registered design [RD] number as well & Horner promoted his thimbles with specifically named patterns but these names do not feauture ever on his thimbles. Having a core of steel, all Dorcas thimbles will attract a magnet. In 1905 Horner introduced his "Improved Dorcas", where the steel & silver were fused together & from this date the apexes of all his steel-cored thimbles are flatter. It is not possible to date Dorcas thimbles any closer than this, as they are not only made of sterling silver & thus cannot be hallmarked.
Horner ceased to make Dorcas thimbles after 1947.
Horner's Dorcas size numbers are 0 for the largest down to the smallest at size 14. The sizes at either end of this spectrum, are extremely rare. I have only had those from size 3-12 for sale in over 200 examples, which bears this out. Note that Dorcas thimbles don't have the rolled rim of his sterling silver thimbles.
I have arranged these Dorcas thimbles for sale, by pattern name & then by size from the largest to smallest sizes.

There are differences in the way the maker's mark "CH" & the size number are stamped onto the band - the normal marking is to have his initials & the size number in an oval [Type I]. I have noted when the thimbles for sale are differently stamped from this. The Type III is the least commonly found.

For further information about this prolific English silversmith, see Tom Lawson's Charles Horner of Halifax: a celebration of his life & work (2002)
Diane Pelham Burn's Identifying steel-cored thimbles (1993)

Learn more about
Dorcas Boxes


Type I

Type II

Type III


a300 = $35
size 5
Pat.
Daisy
domed apex
16.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- out of round -

1560 = $30
size 6
Dorcas
Daisy
domed apex
16.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- worn to steel for a large part of apex -

1550 = $49
size 6
Pat.
Daisy
domed apex
15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- out of round -
- daisies worn to steel in places on apex -

1565 = $28
size 6
Pat.
Daisy
domed apex
15.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- steel showing around 2 rows of daisies -
- in some daisy centres as well as on apex -

a295 = $28
size 6
Dorcas
Daisy
domed apex
16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- small part of silver missing off rim -

a289 = $23
size 9
Pat.
Daisy
domed apex
15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- holed in apex -

1038 = $27
size 6
Pat. RD73626
Diamond
domed apex
16.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- out of round tho rest in very good condition -

8/824 = $22
size 6
Pat. RD73626
Diamond
domed apex
16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- worn to steel in some of diamonds -
- out of round -

777 = $55
size 8
Pat.
Flora
domed apex
15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- holes in apex -
- otherwise in good condition -

uu1401 = $18
size 7
Dorcas
Louise
"CH" maker’s mark Type III
domed apex
16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- worn thru to steel over 2 rows -

1031 = $40
size 8
Dorcas
Louise
flat apex
15.5mm diameter
- excellent condition -

a173 = reduced to $14
size 6
Pat.
Plain
domed apex
15.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- silver lifting off steel on inner rim -
- leaving a rough edge -

10/64 = $29
size 7
Dorcas
Plain
flat apex
"CH" maker’s mark Type III
15.5mm diameter

1557 = $38
size 8
Pat.
Plain
domed apex
15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- out of round -
- steel showing on one patch on narrow band -

10/65 = $37
size 8
Pat.
Plain
domed apex
15.5mm diameter
over 100 years old
- out of shape -

a298 = $31
size 9
Pat.
Engraved acanthus scrolls
domed apex
blank cartouche
15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- apex has worn to steel -

1300 = $108
size 6
Little Dorcas
15.5mm diameter
- very good condition -

8/778 = reduced to $18
size 8
Little Dorcas
16mm diameter
- most of lettering worn off -
- worn down to steel in a band around thimble
& around the apex -
- holed in side & out of shape -

HALLMARKED THIMBLES

Charles Horner of Halifax, registered his maker's marks "CH" in Chester in 1885 & he produced silver thimbles from then until 1947, tho they closed their Hakifax works in 1952. The hallmarked thimbles for sale below are arranged in date order of the hallmark.
With all the sterling Horner's that have passed thru my hands, I've observed that size 4 [18mm] is the largest, with size 15 [child's] the smallest.
Check your Size 6 CH silver thimbles. I have noticed that it is only this size - but not all of them - that has the sizing marked .6.. All the other sizes just have the sizing numeral.
The earliest hallmarked Horner sterling thimble to have passed thru my hands is for 1893, the latest 1927. Do you know of any dates outside this period?


1293 = $60
Sterling silver
Chester, 1900
size 8

Flora
15mm diameter
over 110 years old

1308 = $39
Sterling silver
Chester, 1909
size 7

Princess May
16mm diameter
over 100 years old

- very slightly out of shape -
- some daisies worn on sides -
- signs of mending of holed daisy centres on apex -

a279 = $42
Sterling silver
Chester, 1909
size .6.

RD429537
registered 25.3.1904
Hardwood design
16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- has been mended in apex -
- out of shape -

uu1359 = $28
Sterling silver
Chester, 1910
size 7

16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- mended by re-silvering the inside -

238 = $18
Sterling silver
Chester, 1911
size 7

16mm diameter
over 100 years old
- many holes at centres of many of daisies -
- out of shape -

1553 = $34
Sterling silver
Chester, 1917
size 8

Louise
16mm diameter
- one row is worn thru use -
- large hole in apex -

1304 = $40
Sterling silver
Chester, 1927
size 8

Ottoman
15mm diameter
- out of round -
- dent near apex [by tooth?] -

1296 = $25
Sterling silver
Chester
size 8

Princess May
15mm diameter
hallmark date unclear
- out of shape -
- 2 holes in apex -
- sides’ patterning in excellent condition -

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Charles May [CM]
ENGLAND

Learn more about
Charles May thimbles

D & Lionel Spiers [DLS]
ENGLAND

bm49 = reduced to $13
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1892

16.5mm diameter
over 120 years old
- hole in apex has been mended -
- very out of shape -

495 = $44
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1886

band of abstract feathery design
over 125 years old
- holed in sides -
- many little dents & out of shape -
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Gabler Bros/Gebruder
GERMANY

Gabler thimbles have an 8-point star on the apex, unless there is a stone set into the apex
Most of the Gabler thimbles with stone tops are backed ie the stone is set in, over the silver apex

Haakon Jacobsen [HK]
NORWAY

bm227 = reduced to $13
Sterling silver
13mm diameter
raised Greek Key/Walls of Troy
blank cartouche
- one hole in side -
- out of shape -

1041 = $55
Sterling silver
size 6

pretty etched stylised flower
smooth sided
backed red stone apex
16mm diameter
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Henry Fowler [H][F]
ENGLAND


uu1356 = $20
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1896

15mm diameter
over 115 years old
- worn & mended on sides -

uu1346 = $20
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1900

17.5mm diameter
over 110 years old
feathery band
- very out of round -
- holed in side -

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Henry Griffith & Sons [HG&S]
ENGLAND

Learn more about
British Silver Placename thimbles

Learn more about
Silver Advertising thimbles

Henry Griffith is another of England's great thimble makers during the Victorian era.
He registered his maker's mark in Birmingham in October 1856 & the company ceased making thimbles in 1955.
From 1873 his thimbles are marked "HG&S", but the earliest hallmarked Griffith thimble that has passed thru my hands, is dated 1875 and the latest is for 1953, the coronation thimble.
As Charles Horner's Dorcas thimbles had been such a commercial success, Griffith introduced his own equivalent - the Dreema thimbles.
Griffith is the maker of most English placename thimbles from 1929-1931 & The Spa & Royal Spa thimbles. He is one of the few silversmiths who marked some of his thimbles only with 'Sterling Silver' instead of having them hallmarked.
His thimble sizing ranges from 9-20 [smallest to largest] - the sizing is in millimetres; the only Victorian English silversmith to do so. Some of his thimbles are only marked "Made in England" without his maker's mark, but when the accompanying size mark is within the Griffith's thimble size range, they can only be HG&S thimbles.
He is often erroneously referred to as Henry Griffiths

Norma Spicer's book Henry Griffith & Sons of Birmingham & Leamington Spa is a must for collectors of HG&S thimbles


507 = $40
Sterling silver
Chester, 1895
size 15

abstract feathery band
faceted rim
good weight
15mm diameter
over 115 years old
- large hole in apex -

1563 = $39
Sterling silver
Chester, 1896
size 15

band of 1 row of daisies
inscribed Pearl on rim
good weight
15mm diameter
over 115 years old
- apex with worn daisies -
- holes in sides & apex -
- very out of round -

uu1381 = $18
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1924
size 17

The Spa
17mm diameter
- several holes in sides with a dent -
- out of round -

1554 = $36
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1931
size 17

The Spa
band of 2 rows of Louise daisies
good weight
17mm diameter
- holed along join -
- very out of round -

493 = $67
Steel-lined sterling silver
size 14

Dreema
Plain
14mm diameter
- very good condition -

508 = $38
Sterling silver
not assayed
size 16

The Spa
lightly pressed sunburst daisies
15.5mm diameter

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Henry Williamson Ltd [H W Ltd]
ENGLAND


bm105 = $25
Sterling silver
Chester, 1904
size 6

16mm diameter
110 years old
- several holes in apex -
- out of shape -

uu1348 = $12
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1912
size 9

15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- large dents near apex -
- out of shape -

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Heritage Collection/ALtd [Ammonite Ltd]
ENGLAND
James Cook [JC]
ENGLAND

779= $65
Gilt sterling silver
Birmingham, 1981

commemorating
Charles & Diana 29th July 1981
bells St Pauls & CD all round
boxed

Learn more about
British royalty on thimbles


bm40 = reduced to $15
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1893

16.5mm diameter
over 120 years old
- holed in sides -
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James Fenton [JF]
ENGLAND

James Fenton of Birmingham was one of England's top silver thimble makers during the Victorian era
His maker's marks "JF" were first registered in 1852 at the Birmingham Assay Office until 1911 & he ceased making thimbles in 1922, tho I have had thimbles with his mark assayed as late as 1925. He began to place the size marks on his thimbles from as early as 1892, tho not all made this early, bear size marks [I have seen one sized, with an 1888 assay date. The earliest JF thimble I have encountered has an 1886 assay mark].
The higher the size number, the larger the thimble size for James Fenton thimbles.
The smallest-sized Fenton thimble I have had for sale is size 6 [about 13mm], with the largest being size 14 [17mm]. Do you have a larger or smaller one? There are however several smaller unsized thimbles - made by Fenton for use by children or "dolls", with the smallest diameter being 9mm.
James Fenton has a huge range of designs & this makes him an interesting silversmith to collect.

Norma Spicer's book James Fenton: silversmith & thimble maker etc is a must for collectors of Fenton thimbles


bm398 = $26
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1898
size 11

15mm diameter
Flora
over 115 years old
- out of round -
- mended -

1028 = $28
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1899
size 9

115 years old
- many holes in sides -
- slightly out of round -

housed in non-thimble Fairfax & Roberts Sydney box


1029 = $35
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1899
size 10

wide band of diamond patterning
15mm diameter
115 years old
- 1 large hole in apex -
- rest of pattern in very good condition
- out of shape -

1568 = $65
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1900
size 10

multi-patterned
15mm diameter
over 110 years old
- apex holed -
- rest in very good condition -

1569 = $65
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1901
size 10

alternating vertical panels of diamond pattern & daisies
good weight.
14mm diameter
over 110 years old
- signs of wear on apex -
- holes have been repaired -

bm379 = $24
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1901
size 8

multi-patterned
15mm diameter
over 110 years old
- very out of shape -

1025 = $30
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1902
size 14

interesting & unusual pattern
18mm diameter
over 110 years old
- size partly obliterated but it’s a big size -
- big holes in apex which has also been badly mended -
- out of shape -

10/74 = $41
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1902
size 8

14.5mm diameter
over 110 years old
- out of round -

a188 = reduced to $16
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1902
size 12

multi-patterned
16mm diameter
over 110 years old
- signs of wear on apex -
- not holed–has been mended -

bm47 = reduced to $9
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1903
size 8

15mm diameter
over 110 years old
- several dents -
- very out of round -

bm308 = $24
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1904

? size
15mm diameter
110 years old
- hole in apex -
- very out of shape -

bm381 = reduced to $15
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1904
size 11

15mm diameter
faceted rim
110 years old
- one dent at apex -
- hole in apex -

uu1371 = $22
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1904
size 9

14mm diameter
striated bands with rolled rim
110 years old
- out of round -
- finely holed in a circle on apex -

a263 = $28
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1909
size 12

16mm diameter
105 years old

uu1377 = $31
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1909
size 12

16mm diameter
faceted rim
105 years old
- very good condition -

uu1378 = $26
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1911
size 11

15mm diameter
over 100 years old
- dent at apex rim -
- out of round -

bm141 = reduced to $13
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1916
size 10

14.5mm diameter
- out of shape -
- hole in apex & several in sides -

uu1361 = $31
Sterling silver

no assay marks
size 13
16mm diameter

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James Swann & Son [JS / JS&S]
ENGLAND

James Swann became James Swann & Son in 1922
James Swann & Son, most recently owned by Ray Coggle, closed in April 2005
there will be no more new silver thimbles made by JS&S
many of the later thimbles [& not only the enamelled ones] have the hallmarks struck up in the apex and therefore very difficult to read

Norma Spicer's book James Swann (& Son) makers of gold & silver thimbles 1887-present is a must for collectors of Swann thimbles


bm181 = reduced to $12
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1889

16mm diameter
125 years old
- out of round -
- one large hole in apex -

uu1290 = $30
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1916
size 6

15.5mm diameter
faceted rim

bm41 = reduced to $15
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1917
size 7

15mm diameter
faceted rim
- one large hole in side -
- lightweight -

uu1235 = $28
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1922
size 6

16mm diameter
- crisp daisies -
- holed in apex -

a281 = $28
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1948
size 7

15.5mm diameter

1039 = $40
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1975

16mm diameter
- all hallmarks poorly struck -
- mint condition -

1292 = $40
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1975

wide band of “rickrack” patterning on smooth band
The Coventry design
faceted rim
15.5mm diameter
- mint condition -

1291 = $44
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1976
size 7

wide band of diamond outlines on smooth band
faceted rim
15mm diameter
- mint condition -

a426 = $65
Sterling silver & enamel
Birmingham, 1977

commemorating
Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II 1977
boxed

Learn more about
British Royalty on thimbles


a428 = $64
Sterling silver & enamel
Birmingham, 1981

commemorating
marriage of Charles & Diana 1981
Prince of Wales feathers on verso
not handpainted
boxed

Learn more about
British Royalty on thimbles


509 = $58
Sterling silver & enamel
Birmingham, 1985

commemorating
Ted Hughes the Poet Laureate 19th December 1984
open book affixedwith T H lettered
blue enamelled circle flat on apex
The Thimble Society of London 1985
15.5mm diameter

uu1283 = $44
Sterling silver & enamel
Birmingham, 1988

Yorkshire Terrier

1298 = $40
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1992
size 5

very narrow band of rings
15.5mm diameter
- mint condition -

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Northern Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co [NGCo]
ENGLAND


1555 = $15
Sterling silver
not assayed
size 15

band of 2 rows of Louise daisies
- very, very out of shape -
- rim separating -
- 2 holes in apex -

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Olney, Amsden & Son [OA / OA&S]
ENGLAND

See also his Steel thimbles


bm117 = reduced to $13
Sterling silver
Birmingham, 1892

14mm diameter
faceted rim
over 120 years old
- out of round -
- holes in apex & tiny dents on band -

bm33 = reduced to $19
Sterling silver
Chester, 1904

15.5mm diameter
Olney, Amsden & Son
110 years old
- holed in a row on apex -
- out of round -
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Simons
PHILADELPHIA, USA
See also their SBC nickel silver thimbles

Simons are one of the few major silver thimble manufacturers still in operation anywhere in the world
any pattern names are taken from American silver thimbles by Gay Ann Rogers


1306 = $22
Sterling silver
size 12

narrow band of squared flowers
17mm diameter
- out of round -

1567 = $50
Sterling silver
size 8

Pat. May 31 ‘98’
their Priscilla design
14mm diameter

8/1274 = $27
Sterling silver
size 9

15mm diameter

housed in
English, worn cardboard box
with J.M. Wendt Jeweller Adelaide on outer lid
- upper lid has been mended with cellotape on 4 sides -


uu1340 = $29
Sterling silver
commemorating
Columbus quincentenary jubilee 1492-1992
15mm diameter
- mint condition -

1037 = $35
Sterling silver
commemorating convention of
TCI Des Moines Iowa 1986
state flower & the TCI logo
patterned rim
16mm diameter

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S J Rose [SJR]
ENGLAND


503 = $45
Sterling silver
size 4

finely stippled all over with 2 narrow faceted bands
not assayed
15.5mm diameter

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Stern Bros
USA


768 = $55
Sterling silver
size 12

anchor mark in apex - 1890s to 1900s
fret pattern band
large blank cartouche
18mm
- very good condition -

uu1379 = $25
Sterling silver
size 11

dot in scroll very narrow band
maker’s marks are those for 1908-1912
17mm diameter

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Walker & Hall [W&H]
ENGLAND

These thimbles are similar in composition to Dorcas thimbles


bm113 = $48
Steel lined-sterling silve
size 6

Dura Pat G
Louise
15mm diameter
- with use, the silver has worn off the apex leaving a jagged surface -

housed in coquilla nut thimble holder basket
- split on one side -


a292 = $56
Steel lined-sterling silve
size 7

Dura Pat 4
Plain
16mm diameter
- silver has worn on sides -

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Waite, Thresher, Co
USA
thimble-in-star mark
Yaacov Yemini
ISRAEL

1551 = $44
Sterling silver
size 10

ivy leaf & scroll pattern
light monogram for FC
15.5mm diameter

1040 = $70
Sterling silver
praying hands in relief on smooth sides
applied galleried band
15mm diameter
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Learn more about Marks on English silver thimbles

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  Last updated 7 March 2014  
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