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Author Topic:   Need info on silver spoon
Tom in IL

Posts: 5
Registered: Dec 99

iconnumber posted 12-20-1999 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom in IL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This is a picture of a small silver spoon I found while metal detecting. The spoon is 4 1/2" long. The area where I found it goes back to the early 1700s. I inserted the marks for better viewing. Any information on this would be appreciated. Hope the picture shows. I found this site while searching for identification of silver marks. Thank you for any help. Tom

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-20-1999 10:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First off, congratulations! This is indeed a silver teaspoon from the mid 1700's. Teaspoons of this period are much smaller than what we think of as a teaspoon today. As it is, 4 1/2 inches is just about right for the period.

It is tempting to jump right out and say that this is American, but it might not be. It might also be English. Very small silver articles were exempt from the assay in England, so some pieces only have the maker's mark. That said, I have a feeling yours is American. The beautiful webbed shell decoration on the back of the bowl is something you see in Massachusetts-area spoons of this period.

The maker of this spoon almost certainly has the initials JH, an I being substituted for the letter J in most writing of this time. An IH cannot be ruled out, however, as there were some Isaacs, Ichabods, etc.. Spoons were generally marked with the bowl to the left, so I think it does read IH, rather than HI. I will try to put together a list of possible makers, if it is American.

As for the engraving, the triangular form usually indicates a married couple. D would be the last initial of the couple, E would be the husband's initial, and M the wife's. Once again, this style of enrgraving is what you would expect at this time.

All in all, this a nice, authentic spoon from the 1700's, whether or not it was made in colonial America. Where on earth did you dig this up? If it was in Illinois, then it it must have had a fascinating journey to get there. It must have belonged to an early trader or a very early settler. Please let us know where it came from.

Brent

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Tom in IL

Posts: 5
Registered: Dec 99

iconnumber posted 12-21-1999 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom in IL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for the information you provided. I appreciate your thoughts and knowledge you stated in your responce as well as your interest.
As for where I dug this, it was at a construction site that was once an early French settlement in southwestern Illinois.
I can get access to some of the names of the people that lived there and try to match the initials to those on the spoon. This could help greatly. Thank you so much for your expertise on this.
I do have other silver items that I have found metal detecting at other places. I could post pictures of some of them for identification if you would like. Thanks again, Tom

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-21-1999 10:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad I could be of help. Please feel free to post whatever you have found, and we will try to help you out further!

Even though you found the spoon at the site of an early French settlement, I do think the spoon is American or English in origin. How it got there is anyone's guess. The initials may not match those of anyone that lived there at the time, though it is worth following up. The spoon could have been lost by later settlers also.

A couple of other thoughts: I am amazed at the condition of the spoon, having been buried for so long. What was it like when you found it, and how did you clean it?

Second, the pointed bowl is unusual for the time period; most spoon bowls at that time were oval in shape.

Let me know what else you can find out. If it is a relic from the original settlement, it has great historic value and interest.

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Tom in IL

Posts: 5
Registered: Dec 99

iconnumber posted 12-22-1999 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom in IL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent, I do know that the settlement changed from French to English to colonial American but the exact time periods escape me right now.
The condition of the spoon when found was pretty much the same as it looks now. I only cleaned it with soft toothbrush and warm soapy water. I'm surprised that it wasn't severly damaged when the area was being excavated. The dirt that I found it in was hauled to a different location in piles that were later leveled out. I found it in one of those piles before it was leveled. Thanks again, Tom

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