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Author Topic:   Hoof Spoon
FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-03-2002 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Show and Tell Time"
I hope someone might recognize the mark on this Dutch hoof spoon. I do not have a copy of the Citroen book on dutch hallmarks and hope that someone out there might, and that they can help me identify where it was made. My guess is that it is late 17th century. The construction is a fabricated bowl soldered onto a cast, chased and wriggled handle. It is identical to many of the Dutch style spoons made in early New York State. If someone is able to help me identify it as American I will gladly make them a smaller replica of this spoon as payment! I purchased it from a local dealer. It has brought me much pleasure to hold and study it. My guess from the initials that it may have been a gift to someone from an admirer. Anyone have any clues? smile...

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-03-2002 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Fred,

Neat spoon, certainly 17th century Dutch or Scandinavian in feel. I have to ask, though, how does the patina look on close inspection with a magnifier? Is it convincing? It may just be the lighting, but the spoon looks almost too good to be that old. The detail on the hoof is so crisp. Things like this were reproduced, so there is always the possibility that it is not what it seems. The patina will tell the story, though. Let us know:-)

Brent

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-03-2002 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The spoon has appropriate wear and has all the makings of a spoon of this age. I paid nowhere near what the spoon would be worth were it to be authentic and I would not be terribly surprised if it were to be discovered that it is a fake. The Roadshow had a look at it and believed it to be real but they did not have the equipment to test the silver or to look at it with great care. I am just thrilled to have it to admire and learn from. It has that fine lightly scratched surface over the entire piece. If it is a fake, it was well done. It is fabricated in the appropriate way and the engraving does appear to be actual engraving and not from a casting. If you are ever in Tucson, contact me and I would be glad to show it to you.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-07-2002 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Fred,

If you are convinced, I am too. The more I look at it, the better it looks. I would love to see it in person someday.

For comparison, here is a German reproduction spoon from the late 1800's. Sorry the pictures aren't the greatest, but I sold this quite a while ago. The piece appeared to be sand cast in two pieces and joined. The roughness from the sand mold, plus some crude burnishing, created a piece that really looked "old". It was convincing, and fooled me initially, but on close inspection the "wear" wasn't real. The spoon may well have been based on an authentic piece.

Those of you who have Rainwater's SPOONS OF THE WORLD can find illustrated a full set of these apostle spoons, albeit with different bowl shapes.

Brent

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-07-2002 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent,
Thank you for sharing your images of the spoon. As you probably know it is quite easy to forge these items and a bit harder to replicate the wear on them. There is always the possibility that my spoon is an old forgery and I know it has been fabricated using the traditional techniques.

Sand casting would have been the technique of choice for making the handle in the 17th century. Filing and chasing would have refined the casting and the "fur" of the leg would have been wriggled with a flat graver. The bowl would have been hammered from an ingot and sunk into a bowl shape with hammers in a stump and over a stake. The handle would have been then soldered onto the bowl and then finished and engraved for the patron.

I plan on making several of these in a smaller size and with my mark to give as gifts and to teach myself the skills required to make them. They will each bear my mark as well. I will share with the forum the results.

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 07-26-2004 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One always questions the authenticity of hoof spoons, as they are so old and so rare, no matter what their origin and material.

This one, of Roman style, is of base metal, not silver. It is of a nonferrous metal, grey in color, quite hard, and not especially heavy, so not a pewter/lead alloy, but may be a higher quality pewter without lead. It is not latten (brass) or bronze. It also bears encrustations over its surface, but shows no pitting.

I stumbled upon it in an antique mall a number of years ago, and purchased it as a style example for only a couple of dollars, thinking it a late copy or reproduction. It was not until I began to clean what I thought was corrosion from between the "toes" of the cloven hoof, did I realize that it was in fact a sandy dirt, indicating that the spoon had been buried or submerged in an anoxic environment, and might indeed be quite ancient. Old Roman spoons turn up with some frequency in "digs" in England and elsewhere in what had been the old Roman Empire, or have been recovered from salvaged sunken shipwrecks. This one looks much like a Pompeiian example illustrated in fig. 17 of Emery's European Spoons Before 1700, and is the same size (6 in, or 15 cm). How old it actually is, or how long it might have been buried, or if it is even Roman or Pompeiian, I have no idea.

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-20-2005 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
I plan on making several of these in a smaller size and with my mark to give as gifts and to teach myself the skilles required to make them. They will each bear my mark as well. I will share with the forum the results.
-- Fredz

Fred: Did you ever get around to making your apostle spoons?

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have made the model for the handle and now need to cast it and make the bowl. I will let you know when I have it finished. The spoon I am making will be similar to the hoof spoon I own and will be smaller in size.

(Not enough hours in the day for all my interests).....

Fred

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