+44 (0) 1477 410 893

A GUIDE TO SILVER VINAIGRETTES & THEIR VALUE

Silver Vinaigrettes

History of Silver Vinaigrettes

Vinaigrettes were popular during the late 1800s into the mid-1900s. They held a sponge soaked in aromatic liquid. A perforated cover or grill allowed the scented vapours to escape. Vinaigrettes were most commonly crafted of sterling silver.

Before vinaigrettes came into vogue, pomanders were used for the same purpose. The use of pomanders dates back to the Middle Ages. The wealthy class used pomanders crafted of gold or silver to hold their fragrances. Pomanders were often decorated with jewels and shaped like fruits. They were worn on a chain as decorative jewellery. The pomanders contained substances revered for their powers against diseases like the plague. Orange rinds were wrapped up in sponges soaked in vinegar, then placed inside the pomander.

King Henry VIII favoured the pounce box, which was a flat sphere made of gold or silver. It had a pierced lid and hung from a cord or chain around the waist. The use of the pouncet box was elevated during Elizabeth I’s reign, when the fragrance was inhaled from the box as a ritual of social manners.

A-silver-pomander

As aromatics became more concentrated in the 1770s, a smaller sized container became more common, and vinaigrettes took the stage.

Both men and women used vinaigrettes beginning in the 1780s. By 1820 women were the primary users. Vinaigrettes were carried in pockets or worn on a chain around the waist. Women were prone to swooning from the tight laces on their corsets, and the strong aromatics inside the vinaigrette could be used to revive the senses. Vinaigrettes had hinged lids that could be flicked open for quick inhalation.

Silversmiths in Birmingham produced most of the vinaigrettes. They gilded the insides to inhibit discoloration from the vinegar. Most vinaigrettes were simply designed on the outside in oval or rectangular shapes. Some have engraved or embossed decoration on the lid. Monograms were popular, featuring the initials of the giver, recipient, or both. Prominent houses and churches were featured on vinaigrettes in the 1830s. The grills often feature elaborate filigree or scrollwork.

What affects the value of silver vinaigrettes?

novelty silver vinaigrette

Novelty vinaigrettes 

Probably the most sought-after silver vinaigrettes are novelty in shape.  This example here in the form of a house would be worth upto £1000 if it came to market.  As there are so many common rectangular silver vinaigrettes on the market, collectors seek any unusual shapes.

Macallan Whisky Worth

Castle top vinaigrettes

One of the most sought after group of vinaigrettes are castle top vinaigrettes.  These have a view of a famous landmark die stamped onto the top and were made as souvenirs.  We can learn more about castle top silver here

silver vinaigrette worth

Combination vinaigrettes

Combination vinaigrettes will combine the vinaigrette compartment with another function.  The silver vinaigrette pictured above combines a sovereign holder AND a compass along with the vinaigrette.  As such it will be highly sought after by collectors. 

silver vinaigrette with micromosaic

Micromosaic & hardstone mounts

Some very exclusive silver vinaigrettes will be mounted with a micromosaic panel or set with a hardstone cover.  These would have been very expensive when they were made, especially micromosaic vinaigrettes.  The market is VERY good for such vinaigrettes and can make tens of thousands.

Macallan Whisky Worth

Deeply cast borders

The depth of the casting and chasing of the mounts on a snuff box can have a big impact on the value of a silver vinaigrette.  Those with shallow or average borders will not be too popular to collectors.  However, if your silver vinaigrette has a very deep border then it will be very sought after. 

silver vinaigrette guide history

Condition of the grille

The grille is what keeps the sponge in place and allows the aroma to come through.  If the grille is damaged or missing it will often not be economically viable to have the grille replaced.  However, if it is a rare silver vinaigrette it may be worth getting the grille fixed as it will still be very desirable. 

Silver Vinaigrettes

History of Silver Vinaigrettes

Vinaigrettes were popular during the late 1800s into the mid-1900s. They held a sponge soaked in aromatic liquid. A perforated cover or grill allowed the scented vapours to escape. Vinaigrettes were most commonly crafted of sterling silver.

Before vinaigrettes came into vogue, pomanders were used for the same purpose. The use of pomanders dates back to the Middle Ages. The wealthy class used pomanders crafted of gold or silver to hold their fragrances. Pomanders were often decorated with jewels and shaped like fruits. They were worn on a chain as decorative jewellery. The pomanders contained substances revered for their powers against diseases like the plague. Orange rinds were wrapped up in sponges soaked in vinegar, then placed inside the pomander.

King Henry VIII favoured the pounce box, which was a flat sphere made of gold or silver. It had a pierced lid and hung from a cord or chain around the waist. The use of the pouncet box was elevated during Elizabeth I’s reign, when the fragrance was inhaled from the box as a ritual of social manners.

A-silver-pomander

As aromatics became more concentrated in the 1770s, a smaller sized container became more common, and vinaigrettes took the stage.

Both men and women used vinaigrettes beginning in the 1780s. By 1820 women were the primary users. Vinaigrettes were carried in pockets or worn on a chain around the waist. Women were prone to swooning from the tight laces on their corsets, and the strong aromatics inside the vinaigrette could be used to revive the senses. Vinaigrettes had hinged lids that could be flicked open for quick inhalation.

Silversmiths in Birmingham produced most of the vinaigrettes. They gilded the insides to inhibit discoloration from the vinegar. Most vinaigrettes were simply designed on the outside in oval or rectangular shapes. Some have engraved or embossed decoration on the lid. Monograms were popular, featuring the initials of the giver, recipient, or both. Prominent houses and churches were featured on vinaigrettes in the 1830s. The grills often feature elaborate filigree or scrollwork.

What affects the value of silver vinaigrettes?

novelty silver vinaigrette

Novelty vinaigrettes 

Probably the most sought-after silver vinaigrettes are novelty in shape.  This example here in the form of a house would be worth upto £1000 if it came to market.  As there are so many common rectangular silver vinaigrettes on the market, collectors seek any unusual shapes.

Macallan Whisky Worth

Castle top vinaigrettes

One of the most sought after group of vinaigrettes are castle top vinaigrettes.  These have a view of a famous landmark die stamped onto the top and were made as souvenirs.  We can learn more about castle top silver here

silver vinaigrette worth

Combination vinaigrettes

Combination vinaigrettes will combine the vinaigrette compartment with another function.  The silver vinaigrette pictured above combines a sovereign holder AND a compass along with the vinaigrette.  As such it will be highly sought after by collectors. 

silver vinaigrette with micromosaic

Micromosaic & hardstone mounts

Some very exclusive silver vinaigrettes will be mounted with a micromosaic panel or set with a hardstone cover.  These would have been very expensive when they were made, especially micromosaic vinaigrettes.  The market is VERY good for such vinaigrettes and can make tens of thousands.

Macallan Whisky Worth

Deeply cast borders

The depth of the casting and chasing of the mounts on a snuff box can have a big impact on the value of a silver vinaigrette.  Those with shallow or average borders will not be too popular to collectors.  However, if your silver vinaigrette has a very deep border then it will be very sought after. 

silver vinaigrette guide history

Condition of the grille

The grille is what keeps the sponge in place and allows the aroma to come through.  If the grille is damaged or missing it will often not be economically viable to have the grille replaced.  However, if it is a rare silver vinaigrette it may be worth getting the grille fixed as it will still be very desirable. 

FREE SILVER VINAIGRETTE VALUATIONS

If you would like a free, no obligation valuation of your silver vinaigrette please use the form below.

You can also email details about your vinaigrette to [email protected] or call us on 01477 410893

Free Silver Valuation Form

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

We have helped sell hundreds of items for our clients.  You can read their reviews by searching Google, Yell or Facebook for Mark Littler.  Here is just a selection.

Helpful, knowledgeable, professional and got me a good deal with the minimum of effort.Great communication and an easy trustworthy person to deal with.I would definitely recommend Mark and have no hesitation in dealing with him again.Many thanks from Mel Cross.
Mel Cross
Mel Cross
17:04 26 Jun 17
I had some old coins to sell, and had no real idea how to get the best price for them. Mark found a buyer who paid a fair price, better than I would have got at either auction or to a 'cash for gold' type company. Whole process was fast, professional and of all, lucrative!
martin corlett-moss
martin corlett-moss
08:13 18 May 17
Great service from Mark Littler. Very nice and extremely helpful. Always kept in contact and made the process an easy one. Would definitely recommend to anyone selling any bottle.
Emily Foulds
Emily Foulds
08:06 26 Jun 17
Mark has been a great help and has offered a service that I haven't come across before. He presents different options and explains procedures very clearly. He has been patient and encouraging with my questions. I love his enthusiasm and his obvious expertise and knowledge. The icing on the cake! He comes to my house, takes away things (that have some value) I don't want anymore and sells them for me. He makes it so easy.
Christine Chevalier
Christine Chevalier
17:50 05 Mar 17
Mark was honest, straight forward and very knowledgable. He gave excellent advice on which he followed through. Outstanding, Thank you.
george Coventry
george Coventry
08:57 27 Jun 17
Mark delivered a superb service from start to finish. I was unsure about many things at the beginning of the process, and he helped me come to the right decision without rushing me or making me feel under 'sales' pressure. His knowledge is outstanding. Highly recommended.
carolyne osner
carolyne osner
07:41 21 Jul 17
Mark took the time to listen and understand what I wanted to do re the sale of my furniture and was proactive in finding me a good buyer. Sale went through quickly and with no hitches. A very good service overall.
Steve Carr
Steve Carr
10:50 30 Jul 17
Mark was very helpful and professional. He knows a lot about his antiques and was very honest about our deal. He was very organised and prompt when we met and everything went through smoothly. Great service, would be happy to deal with him again anytime.Thankyou MarkDavid
David Brickell
David Brickell
09:25 31 Jul 17
Mark sold a cask of whisky which I had inherited and did not know what to do with. The offer I got through Mark was much higher than the distillery had offered me and the whole process was simple and best of all, profitable! He explained all of the steps I needed to take in a straightforward manner and no question was too small for him to answer. Well recommended.
James Harwood
James Harwood
10:34 01 Aug 17
Mark has been brilliant since the very first email through to payment. I had contacted a few people about some whiskey and port I had for sale and he was by far the most professional. He achieved a price three times the amount I had been offered by someone in London. I would highly recommend speaking to Mark before you commit to selling anywhere else!
Vanessa Sweeney
Vanessa Sweeney
09:14 07 Sep 17
Mark is likeable, professional, reliable and his fee basis is 'transparent' and fair. He came up with a buyer for our art print without delay. He offers sound advice on various routes to market. Recommended!
G Green
G Green
15:43 24 Sep 17
An exemplary service. Mark demonstrated he has superb knowledge combined with excellent industry contacts. First class communications, trustworthy and a thoroughly professional approach from start to finish. Mark obtained a fantastic result for a piece of rare silver for me and offered additional advice and guidance to help further my hobby. I will definitely be using his services again and recommend that you do the same.
Andrew Wilkin
Andrew Wilkin
14:18 11 Oct 17
Mark was very helpful and knew just where to place our items for sale. Cutlery went very quickly, silver goblets went to auction and sold for more than we expected. We would certainly use Mark again and we would happily recommend him to others.
John Ayling
John Ayling
12:47 25 Oct 17
Mark is most professional whilst being friendly and helpful - a rare combination. My experience involved a Lowry print which he advised on and helped me with in a way that put me totally at ease. He advises without any pressure and his charging system is totally clear and very fair. Go to Mark and you can be assured that he will help you by securing the best outcome for you. I have been more than impressed!
Chris Eyre
Chris Eyre
09:23 17 Nov 17
For some time I have had a bottle of whisky which I thought might be valuable. I contacted Mark Littler and within a few days he had found a buyer and had arranged a very good price for me. Everything about the operation was professional and Mark himself was friendly and most knowledgeable. In a deal like this you have to have an honest and reliable agent and Mark most certainly is. I would recommend his services to anyone.
Peter Fergus
Peter Fergus
16:58 04 Dec 17
I have just sold a large cask of Arran whisky I purchased in 1996 after finding Mark's website and comparing his service to other brokers.I could not be happier with the sale price, it was substantial and approx two thousand more than the next best offer. Mark is very helpful and has excellent communication skills. The sale went very smoothly and promptly.I would not hesitate to use his services again and recommend him to any other sellers of high value casks.
Ivan Anton
Ivan Anton
11:01 11 Jan 18
Mark was very helpful and professional from initial valuation to finished sale. He sold an item on my behalf to a third party with the minimum of effort on my part. Good communication at all stages and has proven to be an easy and trustworthy person to deal with. I would very much recommend Mark to anyone else with valuable items to sell.
David Wilson
David Wilson
19:41 14 Feb 18
Mark is extremely trustworthy, friendly, patient and honest and demonstrated a superb knowledge and enthusiasm for all the items he sold for us. He has great industry contacts and gave excellent advice and communication throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend Mark and would certainly use his services again!
Jennifer Angus
Jennifer Angus
13:35 01 Mar 18
Mark was highly knowledgeable, extremely pleasant and totally efficient. The service was professional and fast and Mark kept us informed as to exactly what would happen and when....great result for all concerned. Very pleased to have the opportunity to write this review and would have no hesitation recommending Mark to anyone.
Brian Booth
Brian Booth
07:37 13 Mar 18
Mark has been an enormous help to me in selling two bottles of whisky which I bought many years ago but are now too valuable just to drink! He obtained an offer for them which, at first, I could not believe. However, the money is now in my bank account waiting for me to decide what to spend it on. I would highly recommend Mark's professional and very friendly approach as well as his prompt attention to any email or text enquiries. I would not hesitate to use his services again.
Margaret Ross
Margaret Ross
14:26 28 Mar 18
From my initial contact with Mark the whole experience of selling my cask of 1989 Macallan Whisky has been a breeze. Mark was very helpful, exceedingly dedicated and totally professional at all times.It was an excellent service provided at a very reasonable cost. Mark obtained a fantastic six-figure sum for my cask which I am completely over the moon with.I would not hesitate to recommend his services to others.
Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson
10:42 24 Apr 18
A seamless experience from start to finish with Mark and an absolute pleasure to deal with. Nothing was too much trouble and a very fast response time. Incredibly professional, organised and customer service was outstanding - a rare find these days. Will continue to sell other items through Mark and wouldn't hesitate to recommend his services.
Jane Kenyon
Jane Kenyon
08:48 27 Apr 18
From the initial engagement through to sale and after service, Mark provided a reliable and professional service. He was very knowledgeable and kept us fully informed through every step of the sale. He has a good network of contacts and was able to arrange the sale of our Whiskey quickly and obtained a fantastic result. Would be happy to do business with him again and would recommend his services.
Neil George
Neil George
08:58 03 May 18
I had a signed limited edition print to sell and although I had an idea of its approximate value I had no idea how best to achieve that figure. I contacted Mark and he advised me on the possible options and made some suggestions that I agreed with. He was professional, knowledgeable and friendly throughout the process and I was very pleased to receive just short of the figure we had originally discussed. I would recommend Mark to anyone.
Darell Hitchen
Darell Hitchen
18:09 29 May 18
I have sold one of my whiskey through Mark. Easy communication, fast replies. Mark gave me better price than auctions and anyone else. Very happy with the price and transaction. Will use it again very soon. Highly recommended.
Miloslav Petrik
Miloslav Petrik
10:36 01 Jun 18
Such a wonderfully easy to use service, Mark has been knowledgeable and so helpful throughout, a pleasure to deal with. From initially just sending a quick email to a completely unknown person online asking about the value of a bottle of whisky I'd been keeping hold of I have now had a great offer on it, a simple. quick and easy courier service to send it out and have quickly been paid, with very acceptable fees for Mark's service. Very very highly recommended!
Andy Buncall
Andy Buncall
11:10 13 Jul 18
Mark has sold a bottle of whiskey for me (I bought it in 1987, but never got round to drinking) realising a 4000% profit - very much above my expectations.From my initial email the whole experience has been unbelievably smooth and stress free.His service is very professional with the whole transaction from signing the contract to the money being in my account taking less than a week.He must have good contacts who pay him promptly - a good sign that he knows the market.He kept me well informed about progress and was very knowledgeable about my item.This is a more reliable sales route than auctions and the commission is half of what an auction house would charge.I would not hesitate to recommend Mark to anybody wanting to sell a valuable whiskey item and based on my experience would imagine he would offer a brilliant service for other antique items.
Terry Payne
Terry Payne
12:46 26 Jul 18
An extremely helpful & professional service. Mark was always ready with advice on procedures, most of which were a totally new experience for meMy whiskey cask sale was effectively prossessed and I had every confidence that matters were dealt with efficiently. Selling my cask was a completely new experience and without Mark’s help I do not think I could have managed such a satisfying outcome. If I ever have to repeat the process I would happily engage his services again
Roger Martin
Roger Martin
14:03 08 Aug 18
I approached Mark with some trepidation about the sale of a cask of whisky having no idea how to sell it. Mark is eminently knowledgeable about the resale process and before long had secured a very good offer. I was very impressed with the way Mark communicated during the process, he kept me up to date with regular calls and dealt with all the legal aspects of the sale. Well worth a five star rating and I would not hesitate to use Mark's services again.
Christopher Hine
Christopher Hine
11:12 10 Aug 18
We recently decided to sell several casks of whisky that were left as an inheritance. Looking around online for alternatives we contacted Mark to see if a better price could be obtained than was offered by the distillery. Mark obtained a far better deal with a third party and very patiently and professionally guided us through the sales process, answering all our queries and concerns. Highly recommended.
Angus Macrae
Angus Macrae
10:40 18 Aug 18
I just recently worked with Mark from the USA. I sent him a print that I was interested in selling and, he made the experience seem so effortless. Not only did he find a top price for my print, he was also incredibly courteous, professional and attentive to my needs as a seller. I would highly recommend his services. Thank you, Mark!
Francesca Pardini
Francesca Pardini
22:30 29 Aug 18
Mark arranged for the sale of a bottle of whisky which I had. The whole process was made extremely easy down to him sending the packaging for me to send the bottle to him. A good price was achieved and the money paid directly into my account. The whole process took just over a week.
David Hampshire
David Hampshire
22:20 09 Sep 18
Fantastic service. 100% trustworthy. I had a rare bottle of whiskey given to me by a relative. You could say a forgotten bottle of whiskey! Mark found me buyer and a great price.Use him, he is great.
Stuart Bennet
Stuart Bennet
07:27 19 Sep 18
Having been disappointed with the offer made by the distillery for my Cask of Whisky I contacted Mark Littler. I was immediately impressed by his knowledge of the market and his enthusiastic approach. I wasn’t to be disappointed as the sale of the Cask from start to finish was impeccably handled by Mark and an excellent price was obtained, far in excess of that offered by the distillery. Mark Littler gives a very reliable and personal service that is hard to find these days and I have no hesitation in highly recommending him.
Anthony Harris
Anthony Harris
14:40 06 Oct 18
Fabulous experience. Mark provided a professional and incredibly knowledgeable service. He obtained a much better price for a bottle of whisky i wanted to sell than I could have got anywhere else. I highly recommend Mark, just could not be better. Thank you Mark.
John McCaig
John McCaig
10:20 01 Nov 18
I recently engaged with Mark in order to sell a bottle of 1968, 18 year old Macallan, whiskey. Mark's advice, patience and speedy completion were flawless. I would not hesitate to use him again.
John Townsley
John Townsley
15:49 15 Nov 18
Mark was extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with. I would recommend him for his trustworthiness, knowledge and patience and advice on sale goods as well as non sale goods. I endorse all the previous comments.
Karen Irving
Karen Irving
20:48 28 Nov 18
I had several bottles of unwanted whisky which Mark turned into a decent amount of cash in a remarkable 20 days from my first e-mail. Great service from a good bloke who knows his stuff and also how to deal with people. I would not hesitate use his services again.
Kenny Mitchell
Kenny Mitchell
23:17 30 Nov 18
After inheriting a bottle of Whiskey I inadvertently realised it might be worth a bit more than the run of the mill Whiskey so started my search. Prices on line vary widely and I'd no idea of how to go about selling such an item. I was lucky enough to find Mark Littler through a google search - and took confidence in the many positive reviews.a few messages later and Mark managed to get me a fair and good price for the Whiskey. Good communication and ease of the transaction were important to me and I wasn't disappointed at any time. Thank you Mark!
Peter Boys
Peter Boys
08:15 04 Dec 18
We contacted Mark for a price on a specific item. He rapidly came up with an offer that we accepted. He proposed an agreement that, after a few questions we signed. Within a few days he had visited us and collected the item. After a further six working days he had completed the sale and the cash was in our bank account. We were very pleased with the service.
Peter Aspinall
Peter Aspinall
21:43 17 Dec 18
I found Mark's details online after looking to sell a collectable bottle of whiskey. I was going to use a well know auction site but Mark secured an offer higher than the highest estimation from any auction house, within days, even after the 10% commission was deducted. Communication was perfect; punctual, to the point and polite. Collection and delivery were taken care of by Mark and instruction was clear and easy to follow. Payment was received to my bank within days of posting the bottle. I can't recommend Mark enough, he runs a tight ship gets top end offers from his clients and delivers quickly. Perfect. Many thanks.
Rod Fountain
Rod Fountain
17:15 18 Jan 19
Mark helped us to sell our limited edition, signed L S Lowry print. On receipt of photos of the print he very quickly contacted likely buyers to initiate offers and we were very satisfied with the price agreed which was as good as a London auctioneer's estimate. We then arranged a rendezvous near my home for the handover and Mark was kind enough to give me some very good advice about other pictures in our collection and the market generally. Overall, Mark provides an excellent service.
John Lister
John Lister
16:05 25 Jan 19
Mark has been very helpful in helping me sell a bottle of whisky which was given to my father many years ago. He was very professional, and was always quick to reply to any of my questions. Not knowing anything about whisky, Mark was there to offer some good advice and I believe he is very knowledgeable about his work. The sale was done very quick, and the money was in my bank account the next day. I would highly recommend his services.
Kim Hendrickx
Kim Hendrickx
16:56 01 Feb 19
I had some Robert Thompson ‘mouseman’ furniture to sell and contacted Mark for help and advice. He is very approachable, gave good realistic advice and quickly arranged a sale for me including collection. I was very pleased with the ease of the arrangements and would not hesitate to recommend him.
Helen Wilson
Helen Wilson
12:53 07 Feb 19