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tline3open  99 cent Hanoverian Spoon, 18th cy American

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Author Topic:   99 cent Hanoverian Spoon, 18th cy American
OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1489]

I recently purchased a Hanoverian teaspoon on a popular internet auction site for 99 cents. (yes really). I took a flier on a murky out of focus photograph based on the form alone, and it turned out to be genuine.

While I'm sure to many of you this is old-hat, to me it is exciting in the extreme. The spoon is beautiful, but comes with a little mystery as well.

The form has teaspoon dimensions (maybe 5 inches long). It features a very prominent topside midrib, and a very deeply fan-decorated drop. (looks applied rather than swaged to me, but I have little experience with spoons of this age).

I have seen a fair number of Hanoverian spoons, but generally larger spoons, and none of them flared as late on the shaft as this one does.

The spoon is in truly outstanding condition, except of course (as luck would have it) for the maker's mark, and the inscription.

Both are very obviously there, but well-rubbed. The maker's mark is "IC" in what looks like a punch with rounded corners (almost a round punch) rather than rectangular (sorry about the weak photos)

The inscription is in block roman, but the only discernible character is a "K".

The cast of 18th century characters using an "IC" maker's mark is relatively extensive according to my references. I am trying to narrow the field with a little deductive reasoning... this brings me to my questions.

1) Is there anything about the form itself (the relatively high flare on the shaft in particular) which would narrow the date range?

2) Is this particular form of drop decoration particular to any maker, or to any geographical area?

3) Does the inscription (not much to go on but the "K") help date the piece by the style of the letter?

4) Does the bowl shape or the drop have anything to tell me?

I know these are quite a few questions, but I'm eager to learn more about 18th century American silver. I have collected 19th century Southern (and particularly Baltimore) coin for awhile, but the more of these early pieces I touch, the more they get their hooks in me.

I'm getting the bug.. (bad)

In any case, thanks in advance for any insight you might provide.


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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The lettering looks similar to that on a Hanoverian spoon that I bought in Belfast. Search the British forum for the post. The forum identified it as a wedding spoon from Dublin (1774) by the pattern of the letters. The family name is in block Roman and beneath it are the initials of the couple (D + C) with a plus sign between. Given that the "K" on your spoon is so close to the edge, I suspect you may have a similar type of spoon. By the way, why have you ruled out British and Irish in favor of American colonial?

Tom

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OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom,

I made the early assumption that the spoon was American based on the fact that the spoon was purchased with other American coin (albeit of slightly later vintage) I purchased 5 spoons for my 99 cents.


The American attribution remains an assumption, but I feel it a likely one.

Irish? Possibly.

British? Probably not, unless it is Channel Islands. (there is absolutely no indication of any other mark on the spoon).

I'll certainly check out the post in the British forum.

Thanks

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is no reason to doubt that this spoon is American. By style (shell and full ridge) it is neither too early nor too late - probably 1750's or 1760's. As stated, there are a multitude of IC marks, and this one is rather too worn or blurry to judge from the photograph. Can you get a larger and sharper image, perhaps with different lighting?

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 08-29-2007).]

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OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swarter,

I'll try to get a better picture, but I don't think it will be TOO much better.

Given where the spoon was purchased, the character of the "C", and the relatively round nature to the punch, I have my own suspicions as to the maker (James Chalmers, Annapolis)...

The period is right, as is the geography.

Never seen an example of Chalmers' work though. (don't know if the drop decoration fits).

I was wondering more generally, is there any good reference available that shows a goodly number of spoon forms, and corresponding dates?

I put this one between 1740 and 1750, but that was pure guesswork based on gut feel. It would be nice to see a reference work that was devoted to forms.

In any case, I'll try to get a better picture sometime soon. (I'm working on a fixed focus magnifying stage to photograph marks on flatware. Just drop in the spoon and shoot).

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok,is it likely to be a wedding spoon?

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whatever it's origin it is a darn good buy for under a dollar. I'll give you 5 bucks!

Fred

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argentum1

Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 08-29-2007 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The I (actually a J) appears to be barred. Try John Cluett if you have access to actual photos of makers marks. He fits the time frame. Maybe/maybe not.

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OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-30-2007 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks argentum,

I need to pick up book on Albany anyway.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-30-2007 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Johannes Frederick Cluett

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OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-30-2007 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks wev,

Have to admit that looks pretty close. I wonder where I could find examples of Cluett's work so I could determine if the style matches?

I guess that's my greater interest here.. You folks have years of experience with styles, forms, and characteristics that I'm trying to catch up on. I am purchasing reference works at a pretty good pace, but most of them focus on marks rather than styles and forms.

Maybe I'll make it a project to compile a style/form reference.

Thanks again

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-30-2007 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
$0.99? Such a deal! Unfortunately, early spoons are often tough to attribute with certainty. Jan Cluett is too poorly known to attribute anything different from what little is already thought to be known for him; the one published Hanoverian tablespoon in Rice's Albany Silver is of an entirely diffenent style, and I am not certain the mark is the same (it is probably smaller). Ensko shows a barred IC mark for Jonathan Clarke of Providence RI - if indeed this mark has a barred I, he might be a better candidate. As for a Maryland attribution, the shell drop is not typical of those used in the Mid-Atlantic area, which tend to follow Philadelphia styles. I really think it is premature to attempt an identification without a better photograph (and perhaps not even then).

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OWK

Posts: 69
Registered: Apr 2005

iconnumber posted 08-30-2007 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I built my photo stage last night, and unfortunately I don't think I'm going to get a significantly better photo without more work.

I can get a sharper image of the rub, but a rub it remains.

I'm playing with fiber-optic side-lighting now (I'm an optical engineer by trade) to see if I can improve the contrast and shadow to tease out a little more..

I'll let you know if I get an improved image.

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