Antique Spanish Silver Neff Sailing Ship

Date: Circa 1930


Stock Number: 8073

This is a superb solid silver galleon ship, known as a Nef, with 3 tall masts having multi section sails, manned crows nests, flags and rigging. Many parts of the ship are gilded. Each mast has a man climbing up a tall ladder. The captain is standing on the deck behind the rear mast. Around the edge of the deck there is a gallery with port holes.

The top section of the Neff can be removed from the hull and is held in position by 2 small clips. The hull of the ship is finely embossed with cherubs and scrolls and the interior is gilded. The ship has 8 cannons and stands on four decorative wheels.

Weight 1187 grams, 38.1 troy ounces. Height 38.5 cms. Spread 34.5 cms. Top of the hull measures 27.5 x 12 cms. The rudder is stamped with Spanish silver marks, the assay town and pentagram quality mark. The silver grade is "915". Circa 1930.

Literature: The neff (originally spelt nef) is an ornamental model ship made specially for the dinner table. They are usually quite elaborate with masts, sails, rigging and various figures on board. Early examples (13th-16th century) were drinking cups or receptacles for dining implements. Nefs originated from the continent and were used in France, Germany, Spain and Italy but most nefs found today were made in Germany at the end of the 19th century.

Traditionally the dining table nef was made in two sections and the top half was removable so that the hollow hull could be used to contain the spoon, knife, napkin, spices of the host. When the use of great dining halls waned, the hull was fashioned to hold wine, sweetmeats or a variety of special condiments.

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