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Author Topic:   Hello! & Whiting Ivory
Bethiepoo

Posts: 5
Registered: Oct 2008

iconnumber posted 10-16-2008 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bethiepoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1735]

HI everyone.

I am a brand new member here, having just discovered this forum yesterday. I have already spent a great amount of time here, and I am so grateful that this forum exists. It's good to be able to read the background information and feel the passion that so many of the responders have for silver.

I am far from being a dealer or even a collector, though I do possess what I consider to be a fair amount of silver. I inherited a small chest full of flatware that I grew up with. One day when I was having a bad day, I decided to open it and handle some of the items that I recall from special dinners during my childhood. This one serving spoon that I never particularly cared for but was quite ornate. I decided to research it, to see "what" it was. It was pretty easy to find and I was delighted to find some examples online of various pieces in the pattern. It turned out to be Whiting's "Ivory" pattern. I was even more delighted to see that most of them were selling online for more than $[xxx]! Though I didn't intend to sell it, it's always nice to know you own something of value. BTW, I remember it always being around, at least since I was a very little girl, and I was born in 1971. I have no idea where it came from before that, however.

Here are the pics:








Well, something didn't seem 'right'. There were actually two major things. One was that the descriptions always included 'ivory handle'; my handle doesn't seem like ivory. It feels more like plastic, and more specifically, melamine. The other issue is that this is supposed to be a high-quality piece, along the lines of Tiffany, especially since the designer of the piece, Charles Osborne, had worked for Tiffany as well. It doesn't have the 'feel' of high-quality, in that the edges of the spon, as well as the edges on the underside scrolling are rough. As I looked closer, it appears that the piece came from a mold. Another thing that disturbs me is that there is a definite line on the back collar, where the two ends meet. I would think that it shouldn't, or would at least have been touched up to make it look smoother. Another thing that I have noticed is that the mark is quite crisp. It is clearly marked with the Whiting Lion, Sterling, and 2888, but it doesn't seem to go as 'deep' as the other photos I have seen. I weighed it and my scale said it weighs 1.9 ounces.

But then, I tend to be a bit paranoid and hypercritical at times. rolleyes
Does anyone know if this piece could be an original? Or if copies were made? (I know anyone with the proper technology can make a copy, but I wonder if it was something widespread?) I am also curious: if it was a copy, how did it get stamped with Whiting's maker's mark? confused

To be clear on the 'why I am asking' requirement: curiosity about the item, and fascination with the fact that I might own a forged item! I know that sounds weird, but I guess I have a little Nancy Drew in me.

Thanks!!!

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 10-16-2008 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for the introduction. That is an interesting looking piece. As you have already determined, there are many contributors to these forums, several of whom should be able to provide an answer to yout query.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 10-16-2008).]

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-16-2008 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your piece looks very authentic. It is not surprizing that there is a seam where the bowl and the collar that mounts to the handle. They would have been made separately and then soldered. There is no doubt a seam along the length of the collar. The "Ivory" looks good and I am not certain if a celuloid was not originally used instead of real ivory.

A very nice piec and welcome to the forum.

Best,
Fred

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 10-16-2008 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the forum. Patent number D20636 looks like the design of your spoon. If you're not familiar with google patents, the easiest thing to do is "google" patents. The patent number alone beginning with the "D," once you get into their site, is all you'll need.

Patent number: D20636
Filing date: Dec 26, 1890
Issue date: Nov 1891


I vote for some kind of an early celluloid for the handle, but that's just a guess.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 10-17-2008).]

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Richard Kurtzman
Moderator

Posts: 759
Registered: Aug 2000

iconnumber posted 10-17-2008 12:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bethiepoo, There is nothing wrong or unoriginal with your preserve spoon. The handle is ivory.

For further information contact Silver Magazine for the Jan/Feb 2001 and Jan/Feb 2006 issues which contain detailed articles on Whiting Ivory.

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-17-2008 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whiting made many nice patterns and good quality silver, but in my personal opinion I would not rank them with the work of Tiffany in terms of their manufacturing. It was not uncommon for designers of commercial products to move around from one company to another. For example, the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright did some designing in his spare time for a company that made glass tiles for skylights in stores. Designers moving around was also the case in china manufacturing companies and other home products companies. Your preserve spoon is an example to explain my opinion of Whiting being a good but not top of the line manufacturer - where the edges and ferrule are not as refined as you might expect to see in a manufacturing company such as Tiffany. Still, the overall design is very pleasing.

As for values, we do not discuss them on the forum. A word of caution, though, is that 'values' are very slippery, hard to determine in a real world situation, and typically are lower than what some people may hope for. The more important aspect of 'value' in such a spoon is its personal importance to you as a memory of your childhood that you can always have. That is priceless. I would encourage you to go into your silver chest and take some things out, clean them up and use them often. That way you can start imbuing them with even more memories for yourself and those around you.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 10-17-2008).]

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 10-17-2008 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well phrased, Kimo.

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Bethiepoo

Posts: 5
Registered: Oct 2008

iconnumber posted 10-17-2008 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bethiepoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello again, everyone. I'm sorry that I originally posted a $ amount. redface I didn't realize I couldn't reference a value--thought I just couldn't solicit one.

Thank you for all the wonderful responses! All of you are so knowledgeable and so kind!

I guess I am a bit paranoid. wink It's delightful to learn that my piece is genuine. I appreciate what Kimo said about Whiting, and I appreciate the point about the designer working at another company. I guess the designer affects the design but the manufacturer determines quality. It makes me appreciate my few Tiffany pieces all the more!

Many, many thanks again for your knowledgeable responses and the time that you took to compose them.

I look forward to "seeing" all of you more!

Beth

[This message has been edited by Bethiepoo (edited 10-17-2008).]

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Bethiepoo

Posts: 5
Registered: Oct 2008

iconnumber posted 10-18-2008 02:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bethiepoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bascall:
Patent number D20636 looks like the design of your spoon. If you're not familiar with google patents, the easiest thing to do is "google" patents. The patent number alone beginning with the "D," once you get into their site, is all you'll need.



Oh my goodness! I just looked it up and that is one of the neatest things I have ever seen! Thank you for that. Isn't Google the coolest!

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 10-18-2008 04:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Google has done wonders to make the USPTO site somewhat navigable for an everyday person like myself. Glad you enjoyed it!

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Bethiepoo

Posts: 5
Registered: Oct 2008

iconnumber posted 10-18-2008 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bethiepoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Scott Martin, for editing my post to show the patent. I never could have made that happen.

I love this forum!

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