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tline3open  How old are souvenir spoons?

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Author Topic:   How old are souvenir spoons?

Posts: 1507
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-19-1999 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently obtained an unusual spoon that poses an interesting question. Basically it is a late 18th-century teaspoon, with pointed bowl and downturned tip, and the patina you would expect on a spoon of the period. The handle is engraved "Madeira", as in the islands, and the bowl has an engraving of a cow-drawn sled and the caption "Bulloock (sic)-Car". There are two marks on the back. One has been deliberately obliterated; the other is the Portuguese mark for Lisbon, 1886-1888.

What I am trying to decide is this; could this be an 18th century souvenir spoon with an old mark cancelled and a new mark added, or was an old spoon engraved and re-marked for sale as a souvenir in the 1880s? My examination of the engraving is inconclusive. The engraving is worn from use, but not too worn. On the other hand the style of the engraving is very neo-classical, and makes me think 18th century.

Any ideas on this item? How long ago did people start to produce spoons as souvenirs? Certainly Madeira was a frequent port-of-call for European and American sailors, as it was a great source of water and wine for an Atlantic crossing. If a place might have souvenirs at that time, Madeira would be a likely spot.

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Paul Lemieux

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Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 12-06-2000 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect that a number of old, perhaps common, silver spoons--probably tea or coffee sized--were converted to souvenir spoons when it came into fashion during the Victorian era. I saw an example (and bought it because I thought it was interesting, and it was 75 cents) at a flea market which, although I know little about French silver, probably began as an approximately 4" long 18th century French spoon. I couldn't say what the original pattern was because the top 1/2" had been cut down to a point--rather clumsily too, as saw marks are still visible, and as the cutting on the left side dips lower than that on the right. Then a more modern crest reading "Bayeux" was applied to the point. "Bayeux" was also engraved in the bowl. Its shoulders were also removed, as more saw marks are visible. I would say the engraving and added crest are 20th century. So probably when places started to get all touristy, especially more isolated areas where it would be hard to obtain specially-made souvenir spoons, entrepreneurs accumulated unwanted silver from the area and made it much more salable by turning it into souvenirs, sadly to the ruination of many old pieces.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 12-06-2000).]

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Posts: 1507
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-07-2000 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect you are right, that a lot of old silver spoons were "transformed" into souvenirs. I believe that is what I have, too. I guess they are interesting from the standpoint of a souvenir spoon collector.

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Posts: 1507
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-23-2001 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Here are somre pictures of the spoon in question. The spoon itself is definitely 18th or early 19th century, but i suspect that the engraving is later. What do you think? Could the engraving be of the period, or am I fooling myself?

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