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tline3open  Bird back mote spoon

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Author Topic:   Bird back mote spoon
Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After all the recent discussion about bird back and mote spoons, I thought somebody might be interested to see this item I came across on eBay today (2516108668). It's listed as an American coin mote spoon. Something about it didn't sit right with me.

The description is:

quote:
A very rare silver mote spoon, probably American, makers mark I.S. There are 3 possible makers for this spoon.
John Stuart - Providence, RI, about 1720
Joseph Smith - Boston, Mass. about 1765, and
John Syng - Philadelphia, about 1734.
Joseph Smith is the closest to the mark on the spoon.
Look at the back of the bowl - it has a bird (maybe a dove) perched on a leafy branch in relief.

The spoon is 5�" long - 1�" bowl, and 4" handle. There is no damage, and no restoration.



The seller provided 5 pretty good pictures:

Has anybody seen a bird back mote spoon before? Are there any other opinions about this spoon?

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like a very ambitious and accomplished fake to me. The bird is reasonably well styled, but it stands out in much higher relief than any bird-back spoon I have seen. The piercings look too fresh to me as well. The patina and wear are "enhanced", if not faked outright, although this may have been a modification of a genuine early spoon.

The style and size are about right for the period, so obviously the faker knew what he was trying to create. This may be a 20's era fake, rather than a brand new one. If it is new, we will probably see a number of these on the market before long. Please let us know if you see any more.

Brent

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now, if it was only engraved Prop: T. Jefferson or some such. . .

The cutouts strike me as crude in technique. And I have never seen a drop like that, but I can imagine someone, without much understanding, making a die from a picture and copying what was, in fact, the edge line of a real drop as a line.

Bah.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The same seller has another mote spoon, purporting to be English c 1700 -- ebay 2516108647

Hmmmmm

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hadn't seen that other one, wev. Very suspicious. Some of the piercing on that English "mote spoon" is downright horrendous. My guess would be the seller got these from the estate of somebody who was swindled back in the '20s or so. I don't think the seller intended to deceive.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like the remarkably intact gilding. I think you and Brent are right, vintage fakes. Did you notice that both pieces are exactly the same size -- bowl, stem, and overall?

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 08:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the record both auctions have closed:
Purported American @ $380
Purported English @ $250

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-21-2003 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Note the piercing on the the sides of the bowl of the second spoon, near the tip. On one side the two holes are small circles while the corresponding holes on the other side are comma-shaped. A rather amateurish job of fakery, I thought. (Not to mention that botched rosette in the center of the bowl.)

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