??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
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??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:31 am

The only candidate I could find is Joel Sayres but he worked in New York and Connecticut?

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:38 am

Englarge Sesame

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby dragonflywink » Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:12 am

Not where I can check any references at the moment, but you might consider looking at 'Ayres' as a surname...

~Cheryl

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby WesternPA » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:50 pm

There was a John Ayers working in Pittsburgh circa 1811-15, first in partnership with Benjamin Kendrick as Kendrick and Ayers circa 1811, and then alone. The spelling of Ayers would have been potentially variable then, and the spoon would belong to that period. Ayers was listed as a silverplater, as was the partnership, but he (or they) could have made and/or sold a limited amount of solid silver flatware. No other candidates on my lists for Pittsburgh, but perhaps someone else has a better thought. Great piece - I haven't seen that eagle head mark before!

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:06 am

It could conceivably be "JOHNAYRES (eagle stamp) PITTSBURGH" because it looks like before the word AYRES there is room for 3 or 4 letters.
I'm trying to upload a pic of the bowl, but it is unlike any fruit spoon I have ever seen. Usually there are immediately recognizable fruits like pineapples and grape clusters and apples. What is strange here is, I can't identify this fruit. It might just be a crude representation of a generalization of a fruit.

There are tiny bright-cut enhancements done to the unknown fruit images inside the bowl.

This is one of the few American Coin Silver Berry Spoons that I have seen, and perhaps it will help with the history of Pennsylvanian Silversmiths in some way it could be a piece of the puzzle.

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:57 am

Berry Enlargement

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:32 am

John Ayres has a Pittsburgh address in 1815 and his occupation is listed as a Silver Plater.
According to my research, John Ayres moved to New York City and partnered with Stacy Pancoast around 1819 and started a silver plating business.
The historical chronicle insists on the spelling "AYRES" as no other variation was associated with the first name "JOHN".

According to the Museum of the City of New York, no works by Ayres & Pancoast have been recorded and perhaps no example has survived.

I suppose the question is, when John Ayres was listed in the Pittsburgh census as a "Silver Plater," were they using the old British term of "Silver Plate" as a person who works in high-grade sterling or coin-silver? I get the feeling that it was all coin silver until he went to New York City and began the method of fusing copper and silver that we know as "Silver Plate." But maybe I am wrong and he was actually producing silver-copper combinations in Pittsburgh. This would be a rare example of his coin silver work. I haven't tested its purity, but it just screams "coin-silver-or-higher."

Anyway, it is an interesting spoon, it is quirky and inventive and the letters on the hallmark are in a very individualistic style.

Is that an eagle in-between the words?

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:49 am

I just read more history and it is actually what we know as "Silver Plating," the process of coating copper and metal with a tiny layer of silver.
In 1815, it looks like Kendrick was silver plating and John Ayres was silver plating, and from the way the sentence reads in the book from 1815 I read about navigating the Allegheny river, it looks like they had gone their separate ways by 1815 and were the two sources for silver-plated items in this region.

It seems as if we can give a date for this spoon in a very narrow range, most likely 1815-1818 because John Ayres was in New York City by 1819.

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:50 am

The date gets even narrower, 1815 to 1817 because from 1817 to 1819 John Ayres (surname spelled Ayers in the history books) was a silversmith in Philadelphia with the firm Ayers & Warden, and it seems that this is the same John Ayres that worked prior in Pittsburgh and later in New York City.

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby dragonflywink » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:23 pm

Personally, not sure I'd want to firmly attribute the mark, especially being partially obscured, without quite a bit of research, and consultation with those familiar with Pennsylvania silversmiths...

The decoration looks like perhaps figs and currants, with maybe some cherries at the top. Have seen quite a few coin fruit spoons over the years, and a few later pieces may have been original, but most, as this one almost certainly was, were altered or 'berried' well after their original manufacture, and were unlikely to have been done by that maker.

~Cheryl

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Aguest » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:25 am

Yes, I have been researching all the AYERS and AYRES, and I have not reached a conclusion yet until more experts give their opinions.
There is no way to know what is before the surname, it is completely obliterated. We will never know for certain.

I've not yet found a piece of "Kendrick and Ayres" from the partnership of 1810-1814, but perhaps if a piece were found this could be a reference point of some sort.

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Re: ??AYRES PITTSBURGH Berry Spoon

Postby Traintime » Wed May 22, 2019 5:01 am

For reference, some information on the use of right facing (tufted?) eagle head bearing in mind late-Colonial New York source: viewtopic.php?f=38&t=27979&p=68375&hilit=eagle+colonial#p68375


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