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Title Pair of silver shoe buckles by William Eley
Nationality British
Period c 1786-96
Price £300.00

This is a classic pair of Artois-style buckles from the end of the American Wars, but probably pre-dating the French Revolution of 1789. Eley (worked from 1770, died in 1824) of Clerkenwell Green, London, a silversmith, was the king of 18th-century bucklemakers and the inventor of the patent spring clip mechanism.

Each buckle (just over 7 cm long x 6.5 cm wide) is marked with the London leopard mark and the king's head duty stamp. The form of king's head used indicates a construction date between 1786 and 1796. The maker mark used (WE) was entered as a small worker's mark at Goldsmith's Hall on 3 November 1778.

This pair are evidence of a new method of construction in 18th-century shoe buckles, introduced in 1769 where mechanically stamped units were soldered together. This is a superb example of this type, with very little wear apparent. They must have been in a box for most of their life. Even the iron chapes have a considerable amount of their original blue finish. In Buckles 1250-1800 by Ross Whitehead, there is an almost identical pair (number 768), also by William Eley.

There has been some rust, which has been carefully cleaned, leaving the odd patch of dark corrosion extant on the chape work.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Ephemera : Shoe buckles : British : 18th Century]


Hi Chris, just to let you know my sword knot arrived first thing this morning and I am very happy with it and the fast service.

P C, UK, 22.12.2006

I should have written sooner, but I did want to let you know that the photos arrived safely and are absolutely fabulous. I could not be happier with them.

Thanks for the excellent service and great photos. I hope we have occasion to do business together again.

J B, USA, 18.08.2005