Fr. Z with a fishy question for the readership

I am betting that there are experts on silver flatware out there among the readership. It seems as if every time I post a question needing some expertise, some of you chime in with helpful information.

Years ago I inherited a Christofle silver 24-piece fish set. That is, it should be 24-piece. I am missing a single knife. I would like to complete the set.

First, I don’t know if this is plate or not.  I don’t think it is, but I am not sure.

My problem is that I cannot identify the pattern.

It is not Albi.

There is no decoration around the edges.  The handles are slightly concave.






The back of the knife.


Who can help?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. FranzJosf says:

    If no one here has an answer for you, I suggest that you consult with Replacements Ltd. in North Carolina ( I’ve been doing business with them for years, mostly over the phone. I’m sure that you could talk with someone there (toll free number at the site) whom you could send the photos and that they can find the answer for you or tell you where to find it. Best of luck.

  2. HoyaGirl says:

    Have you tried Replacements Ltd.? Here’s a link to their Christofle (France) listings:
    Some of the patterns have images which you may be able to match up.
    Good luck!

  3. Yes, I tried Replacements. I repeat: I can’t identify the pattern.

    However, feel free to keep looking through Replacements and let me know what you find!

  4. Giuseppe says:

    If you emailed those pictures to Replacements, and they could not identify it, then you need to pray to St. Catherine of Alexandria (Nov 25), patroness of knife sharpeners.

    But I’d bet my money on St. Anthony of Padua, who can not only help with a lost object, but he also preached to the fishes:

    And Gustav Mahler’s great take on St. Anthony and the Fishes.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Giuseppe says:

    Another version of St. Anthony Preaching to the Fishes, sung with a superb toupee, and nice close ups of the orchestra.

  6. PAT says:

    You might try contacting Christofle and sending them the pictures of the flatware to see if they can identify the pattern and perhaps provide a replacement. The main US Web site is They have email and phone number (New York) for customer service at bottom left.

  7. APX says:

    I second the person who referred you to Replacemets. I bought a pretty comprehensive bone china dinnerware and tea set off of Kijiji for a price I couldn’t refuse. When I got all the pieces out I discovered a vintage set of crystal brandy snifters I had no clue about aside from the brand because they came in their old retro original box. Replacements helped me to identify the pattern and the value of them as well as my china set.

  8. Papabile says:

    Is this a fish knife? It certainly looks like one to me. Perhaps 1930’s.

  9. ncstevem says:

    FYI about Replacements.

    I had done business with them by phone one time and then stopped by their showroom which is relatively close to where I live in NC. In the middle of their showroom is a large display of photos of the sodomite owner and his “husband” as well as the two children they adopted which I had not seen until after I placed my order. Many other photos included well known state and national Democrat politicians who the owner financially supports with substantial contributions.

    I told the saleswoman after my order was delivered from the warehouse to the checkout area that I was no longer interested in purchasing my order and I told her the reason why. I suggest that all serious Catholics think twice before doing business with Replacements.

  10. jameeka says:

    Looks like this pattern, but no name for it

    [Could be.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  11. wiFoodie says:

    I too have Christolfe flatware. My set Includes fish knives and forks.
    Yours is not plated. You can tell because the plate versions have seams at the knife handles.
    Try George Watts in Milwaukee, or the new Christolfe flagship store in NYC.

    [If the pattern hasn’t be discontinued. Also, I am not sure about it not being plate. I think the little stamp with the knight chess figure between O and C indicates plate. HERE]

  12. GAK says:

    Not an easy one to track down.

    It’s got the 1935-1983 mark on it:

    Looks a lot like the Gallia item here, but there is only one photo of this fork, so hard to tell:

    Searched on christofle + poisson and christofle + pesce and still the above is all I found.

    [Good job! So the pattern may be Gallia? Or is Gallia a sub-mark of Christofle?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. Hank Igitur says:

    the silversmith marks on the back of the piece suggest it is not plate

  14. anna 6 says:

    Good thing that you are back in the US, because I heard that Pope Francis is going to be doing an inspection of curial cleric’s cutlery drawers…and the new rule is stainless only! : )

    FYI: Sterling often has a “925” mark on it.

    [I actually thought about this. Of course the symbolism would be deeper were there 30 pieces. As it is the 23 has a masonic overtone I’d really like to get rid of.]

  15. GAK says:

    Father, no, not a pattern, from what I’ve seen Gallia was a line, or a collection. I haven’t been able to track a pattern down yet. I’ll let you know if I do. (This is also assuming that the Ebay escargo fork is correctly identified/listed by the seller as Gallia. I’d ping that seller if I were you.)

    Someone wrote Christofle about Gallia and here was the response (though your set doesn’t have the specific marking discussed here, the Col. Gallia:

    I received a reply to my inquiry to Christofle:
    Dear Mr Ballinger,

    The mark “Coll Gallia” is used by Christofle from 1968 to 1974, normally with the name Cristofle and makers mark.

    Gallia was first registered by Christofle in 1898 and designed an alloy of pewter used under plating. From 1900 to 1937, the silverplated items made in Gallia were sold as a separate mark by Christofle and then included in the Christofle catalog.

    In any case it’s always silverplated pieces.

    Yours sincerely

  16. GAK says:

    Still no luck tracking down a pattern, or tracking down that single knife you are looking for to complete your set.

    It seems to me these look similar to your large serving fork & serving knife, though it’s hard to tell without seeing a photo of the backs of yours:

    The O-C mark stands for “Orfèvrerie Christofle.”

    If any of this helps, you can thank Sts. Anthony, Therese, & Teresa!

  17. GAK: Yes, those pieces look rather like, don’t they? I suspect that this set was not rare, in France. I received it from a French woman.

  18. ALL: Take a look at this one HERE.

    I think it looks similar.

    I was inspired by the comments above to look at the FRENCH Ebay site.

  19. I sent a note to the seller of one of the Ebay lots.

  20. GAK says:

    Yes, Fr. Z, that does look similar.

    I’ve now checked Ebay UK, France, Italy, and Germany. I’ll post 2 from Germany below (the German one mentions the “horsehead” mark which is consistent with Gallia & silver plated items–I should add I know nothing about silver or flatware! I’m just pretty good at finding stuff on the internet–I’ve even considered being a P.I. :).

    I do think you seem to have an excellent set. I watch Antiques Roadshow and the fact that you have the box, and are missing a sole piece, is really good news.

    I would take some really clear photos of the box from several angles (with the items in it, and then the empty box from each angle). I’d then take very good closeups of the backs of each piece (small fork, serving fork, small knife, serving knife, etc.). Then I’d ping all the sellers at the links above and see if any are willing to help you. You’ve got a far better set than any of them so your further info (especially photos of the box) might help them further identify their own pieces and yours.

    Also note that we are not crazy! NO ONE seems to know what the pattern is!!

    Good luck! With prayers.

    German Ebay:

    Christofle response on the horse head mark:

    So, so far, our best guess is that these things apply: 1935-1983 mark, horse head mark, silver plated, Gallia line.

    Last, but not least, because this is the best sundae spoon EVER:

  21. GAK says:

    Regarding your comments in red, Fr. Z, at “wiFoodie says: 12 July 2013 at 10:26 pm” and the photo you posted of the mark:

    Excellent! That is the horse head mark, mentioned on 2 items at the German Ebay listings.

  22. GAK says:

    I thought I was done searching. Yet, the bloodhound in my could not rest.
    Thanks to Ebay Spain, I stumbled upon what could be the pattern, Dax.
    A number of items come up under a search for “Christofle Dax.”
    But this set has what appear to be the closest markings to your markings.

    [It seems to me that there may be a slight raised edge.]

  23. Random Friar says:

    The US ebay site likewise has a few entries for Cristofle fish knife (34), and over 300 just for Cristofle, including some replacement pieces. I would try both for price checks.

  24. jameeka says:

    Looks a lot like this set: still no pattern name.

    [That is my set. I am pretty sure. It doesn’t seem to give the pattern name.]

  25. Random Friar says:

    @GAK: “Cristofle Dax.” Sounds like an iteration of Jadzia Dax, from Deep Space 9!

  26. pseudomodo says:

    Christofle Origine.

    [I doubt it. But thanks!]

  27. Charivari Rob says:

    But Father! But Father!

    How extravagant of you to inherit something like this! What do you need utensils for, anyway? As a priest, aren’t you supposed to eat only locusts, wild honey and bitter herbs? Using toothpicks, naturally. Toothpicks you make yourself, of course – whittled from driftwood and storm-felled branches?

  28. You might find some additional aids in identifying the pattern at Copper Lamp or at the Christofle section of the Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Halmarks & Makers’ Marks, if you haven’t already found that site.

    Keith Töpfer

  29. GAK says:

    Fr. Z, good eye, the Dax pattern may not be the one.

    Did you get any helpful info from the Ebay seller?

  30. GAK: Not very helpful at all.

Comments are closed.