I have been unable to find out much about this New Zealand Shipping Company goblet, other than the details given by the eBay vendor. I managed to purchase it for an incredibly low price (£3.20 plus delivery), and I like it very much, so really the actual age does not matter to me. It has the letters NZSC engraved on the side of the bowl, and on the bottom there are details which can clearly be read in the photograph shown below (click on it to enlarge).
Manufactured by Mappin & Webb, the item is described as Prince’s Plate (silver plate). It is 11.5cm from top to bottom, and the top is 9cm in diameter. The vendor stated that the initials G.S. on the bottom indicate a date of between 1890 and 1895, but according to my research online, it is very difficult to date Mappin & Webb items, in fact their method of dating is still unknown. I do know that Prince’s Plate was first advertised from about 1890, so that would be the earliest date. I have contacted the company to see if they could assist with a date of manufacture and hope to report back here later.*
It is a heavy item (252g), but rather uneven . . . I can imagine it having fallen from tables on several occasions in rough seas. If stood upside down now, it rocks slightly. I like to think of it as being in use on one of the oldest of the Company’s ships, perhaps being used by one of the old Ruahine’s 74 first class passengers, but I guess that more likely, and less romantically, it was simply sold as a souvenir.
I have made the rather wobbly video below to show off the goblet. If you can provide any further information, please comment in a reply to this blog entry.
*I have had a reply from Mappin & Webb, but unfortunately I am no wiser. If you can help with a dating method, please let me know. They did not realise my purchase price when I contacted them, but I don’t really want to spend more than I paid for the item to get a valuation!
Dear David, Thank you for your message. I advise that Aurum Holdings became the owners of Mappin & Webb in 2005. Regretfully we do not hold a product archive and are unable to assist you in identifying the date of manufacture. You may be able to get some clarity of its origin, year of manufacture from a auction house or assessor in your locality. Alternatively our showrooms offer a valuation service in which they would identify the year of manufacture and advise of the current replacement /resale value, currently the charge for this service is £60 and takes approximately three weeks to complete. I hope this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely, The Mappin & Webb Team