Banff - An extremely rare Charles II silver tumbler cup, by Wm Scott (elder), circa 1680, two marks: VS, ABC, of circular form with slightly turned rim, the side decorated with bright cut foliate engraving around a cartouche with two pairs of initials below the letter 'M', 4ozt 6 x 8 x 8cm (2 x 3 x 3in) Provenance: Purchased by Miss Janet Low OBE circa 1940, thence by decent. Other Notes: A matching pair of silver communion cups with the same hallmarks as this example were offered for sale by Sotheby's, London, May 2009, lot 394, with an estimate of £50,000 - £70,000. In the catalogue note Sotheby's mentions that: 'William Scott is the first recorded silversmith working in Banff (Jackson's p.591). (There appear to have been only 24 recorded silversmiths at Banff.) The Scott family came to Banff from Aberdeen and the father and son, both William, are therefore designated elder and younger in the records. Burns notes that "William Scott (elder) was also a goldsmith in Aberdeen, where he was admitted a burgess in 1666; filled the office of deacon of hammermen in 1673, 1678, and 1685." (p.577) He also mentions on the following page that "Both William Scott (elder) and William Scott (younger) also carried on business in Elgin, as well as in Aberdeen and Banff." The hallmarks are VS ABC. The mark ABC is considered to be a town mark by both Burns and Finlay.' A small silver quaich with the same hallmarks and engraved floral designs to match this example sold at Bonham's, Edinburgh, 18 August 2004, lot 126, for £17,000 (plus buyer's premium). In the catalogue note Henry S. Fothringham suggests that: 'The hallmark ABC derives from Scott misinterpreting the principle of date letter punches for each year and ordering a single punch incorporating the first three letters of the alphabet instead'. The initials below the single letter 'M' are 'AK' and 'BB'. There is evidence of a marriage between Alexander Ker and Bessie Burnet dated 17/9/1668 in the county of Aberdeen. Given that Scott came from Aberdeen, that he was a silversmith at that time, dating the marks on the cup cannot be totally accurate as there is no definitive date letter, wedding records were notoriously inaccurate in those days and in the hundred years between 1650 and 1750 there was only one marriage in Aberdeenshire between a couple with initials AK and BB, there is more than a possibility that this cup was connected with their marriage in some way, either as a gift or maybe a type of loving cup, the contents being shared by bride and groom. Silver items marked in Banff are extremely rare and seldom appear for auction. There does not appear to have been any other Banff marked silver other than flatware offered at auction in the last 10 years. The town’s recent revival of silversmithing has sparked a major resurgence of interest in Banff silver. This is truly an exceptional piece, nearly 340 years old and in remarkable condition for its age. Literature: Thomas Burns, Old Scottish Communion Plate, R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh, 1892, p.103 Ian Finlay, Scottish Gold and Silver Work, revised by Henry Fothringham, The Strong Oak Press, Stevenage, 1991 Sir Charles Jackson, Silver & Gold Marks of England, Scotland & Ireland, Antiques Collectors Club, 3rd Edition, 1994, p.591 Sotheby's - Fine English & Continental Furniture, Including Silver, Ceramics & Clocks - 28 May 2009 catalogue, lot 394. Bonham's - The Scottish Sale - 18 August 2004 catalogue, lot 126. Two minor cracks together with a number of very, very small cracks to the rim. A shallow dent to the side, on the opposite side to the engraving. Some very small denting, probably the original hammer marks, to the lower half. Some minor cracks to the body on the opposite side of the engraving, possible evidence of an old repair.