Silver novelties by Sampson Mordan & Co

If you’ve heard of Sampson Mordan, you’ll likely associate the name with the mechanical pencil for which the silversmith is best known. The popularity of Sampson Mordan & Co silver wares does however extend quite beyond the mechanical pencil, and two interesting pieces by the silversmith are due to go under the hammer at The Silver Auction this January.   

British silversmith Sampson Mordan (1790-1843) is indeed most well known as a co-inventor of the first patented mechanical pencil. Accordingly, as may be expected, mechanical pencils by Sampson Mordan always prove popular at auction. In fact, one such pencil – an especially nice novelty example - sold for £650 at the start of 2020. However, the silversmith had more than just writing instruments in his bag of tricks!   


The first of the two is a lovely Victorian silver dish by Sampson Mordan & Co (lot 408). Sure to catch the eye of any keen equestrians, this unusual dish is in the form of a horse shoe. This has an auction estimate of £80-120.



Another highlight of The Silver Auction, lot 432 comprises the second lot of the sale by Sampson Mordan, an especially unusual novelty piece. This charming item, formed as a barrel, is multi-function, operating as scent bottle, vinaigrette and snuff box. A truly incredible addition to any collection, this fantastic piece comes with an auction estimate of £250-350.  

The first Silver Auction of the year takes place on Thursday 21 January at McTear’s, commencing at 10:30am. Why not come along to view over 130 lots of silver in person? Viewing opens from 9am on 18 January.  


Click here to view full auction catalogue. >>

Hannah Murphy


Do you have silver you would like to sell at auction? Perhaps a Georgian piece, or something from the Victorian era? For a free no-obligation auction valuation, pop into McTear’s Monday-Friday this week, or email

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