You do find the craziest things when you have to run errands on terrible days…
In preparation for a family reunion, I’d been running myself ragged for two weeks, buying food and cooking ingredients and all other manner of things to prepare for the big day ahead. It didn’t help that the weather lately has been absolutely GHASTLY. Raining nonstop, blowing a hurricane and freezing cold almost incessantly.
I had to go to another suburb to pick up a fresh gas-cylinder for my home-carbonation kit, along with a whole heap of other things. The weather was patchy and rainy all day…Oh God…
To make the most of a bad situation, I stopped in at one of the several charity shops in the area (there’s three or four of them, all within a few blocks of each other) to look around.
In one of these shops was a very dark case inside a display-cabinet. Inside the case were something long and thin and shiny.
At once my interest was piqued.
I thought the items to be not worth much – items in charity shops rarely are. Anyway, I asked to have a look. They were removed from the cabinet and presented to me…
…inside the case was…
“Are they silver?”
“Maybe…I dunno. There’s no hallmarks on it”.
I had a look and sure enough…no hallmarks.
But there was a name. A manufacturer’s name. Hidden in amongst the forest of engraving.
“S. Mordan & Co”.
My heart went flitty-flutter…
I’d heard a friend of mine talk of this company, once or twice, a few years back. But I couldn’t quite remember why she found it so interesting. I suspected the set might be worth something…they thought it was junk. Cheap stuff not worth bothering about…but I decided to take a chance.
They were on sale, anyway, I noticed. There were two prices on the tag. And I got a bit confused, until the guy who showed me the set explained that the second price meant that they’d been reduced. I snapped up the set and carried it home. Today, I sent an email to my aforementioned friend and she sent a reply, dating the set to the 1880s or 1890s (which lines up with the research I did) and said that they were almost certainly sterling silver, since S. Mordan & Co didn’t start making silver-plate pens and pencils until the 1910s.
I think I need to sit down for a minute…
What’s the significance of S. Mordan & Co?
Well…S. Mordan is Sampson Mordan Snr. He lived from 1790 until 1843. He’s the man who invented the propelling pencil. The great-grandfather to every mechanical pnecil in existence today.
As a result, anything bearing his name in the writing world can carry a hefty value along with it…Wow!!