My Little Corner of the Net

Monday, October 6, 2014

Incense Burner Mystery

This story is unfolding like a Hardy Boys/Nancy drew Mystery!

I came across this miniature incense burner at a local estate sale the other day.  I was intrigued, and I thought it looked like something at about 1" scale from a far away place. My mind raced as to which house or scene it might fit in.  I forked over $10 for it.

I asked the lady at the register if she knew anything about the piece.  She stated that it was silver, and had makers marks and that that stand had the logo from the company that the previous owner worked.  I asked if she happened to know the company.  She said yes, it was on several items around the house. The company was called Facet and manufactured filters.

Since I was on my lunch break, I had to wait until I got home to do some research.  I found out that Facet was now called PECOfacet because of a merger.  On the PECOfacet website, they have the history of the company including opening offices in Europe in 1982.

The base of the stand was also engraved with "Mayo 1982"  Mayo is big name in Tulsa, it was a family who made their fortune during the oil boom of the 1920's - 1930's.  One of the families legacy's is the Mayo Hotel built in 1925 which still occupies a prominent place in the Tulsa skyline.  I assume this was marking some event at the Mayo Hotel ?

I have to admit, I know very little about silver makers marks, but sure enough, there are some on the base of the object as well as the stand.  One of the marks is a star and the other kind of looks like a three-pronged bird footprint.
So as I was browsing the Internet, looking for clues, I came across an exact match to my item, although this one was nice and shiny.

 These pictures came from an auction site and stated that the item was from the late 1800's.  It made me wonder if the base was new and object antique ?

I posted the pictures to a silver makers marks website and got some responses that the star indicates that it was made in Spain.

Then I came across this item:

Slight differences to the stand and the chain seems more detailed on this piece.

This one was labeled: Silver Miniature Censer Incense Burner, Spain, Ca 1920. $300
It has the same makers marks as mine.

So I have put my profiling skills to work and come to the conclusion that the object I purchased is from Spain, and must have been some kind of award to an employee back in 1982 to mark the opening of the companies European expansion. The base may be new, the burner may be old.

Now I have to figure out how to polish mine so that it will shine like the ones on the auction websites.


  1. Hello Troy,
    Terrific find. it is a beautiful piece and will look great ina miniature setting.
    Big hug,

  2. Great buy, Troy! and thanks for sharing the research on your lovely new miniature.

  3. How beautiful! I hope you find just the right spot for it. It also seems like it was a great investment...$10 to $300!

  4. What a find! To me it seems to belong together and the company logo and engraving was added in 1982. Vandalism really. It happened a lot then. I have several beautiful engravings probably from the 19th century, that were printed on the back as Christmas cards in the 1970s. Not something you can do anything about. But a good restorer should be able to give your burner back it's former glory. I think someone has tried to use the burner to burn incense and that is why it it looks older.

    Perhaps Josje Veenebos ( is her blog) can tell you how to polish it as she built a room box for a miniature silver collector, or can point you to someone who knows.

    Even so, it is a great find and looks just right with the carpet, very oriental!

  5. Una pieza preciosa, en España siguen haciéndolo, es una réplica del butafumeiro de Santiago de Compostela, , el tuyo se ve que es antiguo .,