The Apollo's head mark has traditionally been described as the 1st standard guarantee mark used between 1793 and 1797 (Tardy, p. 170 and Faith Dennis, Three Centuries of French Domestic Silver, New York, 1960, vol II, p. 21). However, research by Charles Truman has shown that this mark, which also appears with a P to the left of the neck, was used as late as the 1820s, thereby suggesting that it is a mark used by the Paris association of goldsmiths for some years after 1793 and that it is not a guarantee mark. Certainly neither of these marks appears in contemporary documents. It has been suggested that the version which appears on the present lot is that used pre-1797, while the similar mark which includes a P was used after this date. The presence of the supposed pre-1797 mark on pieces also struck with 1798-1809 guarantee marks, such as the present lot as well as a pair of salt cellars in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (M. 96, 96a-1916), would appear to confirm Faith Dennis's statement that all silver made during the years immediately preceding the decree of 19 Brumaire an VI (November 9, 1797), which re-introduced regular hallmarking, had to be struck with the new marks before it could be offered for sale (op. cit., see also Lightbown et al., Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogues: French Silver, London, 1978, p. 101).