I have had this pin for so long, I no longer recall where I found it, but my best guess would be Ebay. It is only marked sterling on the reverse – no maker’s mark. It is solid silver with a now fading gold wash, set with clear and ruby rhinestones. I love the sense of movement and well, fun, this little guy exudes. Even his hands and feet (dare I say jazz hands??) have a sense of motion. He makes me smile just to look at him. My guess is that this is American and was made in the 1940s, when silver was used a lot as base metals were commandeered for the war effort.
Pieces like this, beautifully crafted, well designed, but “nameless,” engender a lot of discussion in the vintage costume jewellery collecting world. Signed pieces, that is, the ones with a maker’s name on the reverse, only became the norm in costume jewellery design into the 1960s and later (and sometimes, not even then.) Some marked earlier, and even those didn’t always sign (paper tags and branded boxes were also used in lieu of applied plates or engraved names.) While many companies often (but not always) “signed” their work, there are many unsung heroes like this one that tend to sell for less simply because they can’t be attributed to a maker, even a very common one whose work wouldn’t normally command a high price.
So if any costume jewellery aficionados are reading this and would like to take a crack at assigning a maker, please weigh in. Not because I think it will make this fellow worth more – he’s already worth a ton to me in sentimental value. But if anyone has seen a similar piece with a maker’s mark, I’d love to know. Are there others out there? I have always thought it seemed closest to Mazer or Jomaz’s work … but what are your thoughts?