Myer Myers?

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Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:33 pm

There are 2 stamps with "MM" and the general construction of the spoon drop seems similar to other drops I have seen by Myer Myers ::
The bowl is heavily worn, and the overall character of the wear seems honest to my eyes ::
I was wondering if there is any way to cross-reference the initials on the spoon with the research by Darquist who wrote a fantastic book on Myer Myers :

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:37 pm

the Three initials on the top of the spoon are "M" at the top and "R" and "G" on the bottom, those are very difficult to read due to wear. :::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:09 pm

The length is very close to 7 inches, which I believe would make this a dessert spoon, and I have not yet seen this form come up for auction, but given that there are only 380 known examples of Myer Myers silver, that might make sense given the low population :::::

Any helpful information from the Darquist book would be appreciated (such as: Does Darquist mention other dessert spoons? Does Darquist mention this particular monogram on another piece of silver?)

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:13 pm

Apologies to "David L. Barquist" - I truly apologize for misspelling the name :::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:26 pm

I ordered the Barquist book. ::

There are "Barquist Numbers" assigned to each variant of Myer Myers' hallmarks, so I will see if the heavily-worn hallmarks match up to one of the "Barquist Numbers" - there seem to be around 10 of these "Barquist Numbers" - I believe this is an earlier spoon (circa 1750) but I hope that guidance from Barquist will help to figure this out. ::

Another question is, how are the letters in the monogram arranged? Is the top letter "M" a last name, the left letter "R" a first name, and the right letter "G" a middle initial?

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby wev » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:49 pm

I have gone through the Myers book and found no matching initials. From known owners, the initial order appears two ways:
M(ary) over R(obert) • L(ivngston) -- given/given/surname
and
M(oses) over I(saac) • R(eyna) -- surname/given/given

Here is my example, also with untraced initials. It measures 8 1/8"

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:05 pm

Thank you, I was trying for the "Reyna Moses" connection, the only way I could make to wonder what would the initials look like if this spoon was made for Issac Moses' mother?

Issac Moses Mother = Richa (Rischa) Levy who was married to a man named "Moses Of Glessen" because he was originally from Gleessen. ::

So, the children of "Moses Of Glessen" all took the surname "Moses" as their last names ::

However, if this spoon was made for Richa (Rischa) Levy, she may have taken the middle initial of "Glessen" because her husband was "Moses of Glessen" :

So we arrive at "RICHA GLESSEN MOSES" which would account for the "M" on the top and the "R" on the left and the "G" on the right. ::

That might be incorrect, however, we all know by now how I go on these "flights of fancy" and error expeditions, so I am most likely incorrect.

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:50 pm

The drop on this spoon is very large, measuring a full 1 inch in length, this is one detail which leads me to believe it is an early spoon for Myer Myers. ::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:11 pm

Who was "Rachel Gratz" signed on the will of Issac Moses as "Rachel G. Moses" ? There is a record of the Sotheby's auction of the will and it is legible ::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:40 pm

This is a rabbit-hole, and I promise everyone I will stop, but the "G" may have something to do with the "Gratz Family" which had many connections to Myer Myers, therefore the last letter "G" is the surname, but I promise I will stop now. :::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:53 pm

This spoon appears to have the most uncommon of all the Barquist marks, Barquist mark number seven, which would make this spoon most likely to have been made during Myer Myers return to New York from 1783-1795. Very few items have been found from his Connecticut exile period from 1776-1783, so it is less likely that this spoon was from that period of time. The style of the end of the handle speaks to the period (1780-1790) which can be compared to a single toddy spoon in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art.

There is a theory I developed while researching the monogram. There are records of a wedding between Margaret Buchanan and Richard Ratsey Goelet which took place in New York in 1796. That would have been one year after Myer Myers death. In Colonial America, there were engagements before marriage called "Spousal De Futuro" so in theory this spoon could have been made in 1794 or 1795 in honor of the engagement between Margaret Buchanan and Richard Ratsey Goelet. The Goelet family were known patrons of Myer Myers and their family crest was that of a swan. The fact that the woman's first name is on the top of the monogram is a custom from New York as described in the Barquist book when explaining a certain monogram. So we have the monogram (M) / (R) (G) for "Margaret / Richard Goelet" in theory at least. So in probability theory, the chances of this occurring in another spoon from the New England/New York area during 1780-1790 are [(1/26) x (1/26) x (1/26)] which equals ONE OVER SEVENTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE. The probability that two spoons would share this monogram is extremely low.

There is another detail of the spoon which leads me to believe it was from the very last years of Myer Myers' life. The drop is just massive. It is far and away the largest drop I have ever seen on a Myer Myers spoon. The construction of the drop is similar to other spoons by Myer Myers. However, in terms of its size, It is completely out of proportion with the size of the bowl of the spoon. It's just too large. This is why initially I thought it was a very old spoon from 1750, the drop was almost trying to be a rat-tail. I wonder if this has something to do with Myer Myers' eyesight failing during the end of his life. Perhaps he just couldn't see as well, so he didn't have an exact method of determining the size of the drop? He seems to have executed the monogram in a very similar fashion to other monograms I have seen by him, so that skill seems unaffected by his advanced age.

So, if you accept these theories about the monogram and the incredibly large drop, what we have here is one of the last (if not THE last) silver objects ever made by Myer Myers. Perhaps he was recalling his younger days when he made rat-tail spoons when he was fashioning the drop and that's why it is so large. The end of the handle represents the most modern style of spoon handles ever made by Myer Myers (a single additional example of which is the toddy spoon in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art). It was made for a new generation of Goelet family members in 1794 or even 1795, the last year of the great mechanic's life.

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby samtron76df » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:32 am

maybe it's just me... but I can't make out the markers mark on your spoon. how did you arrive at MM ? Can you see it up close? Tks

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:22 am

You need the spoon in-hand and the Barquist book to compare details of the first “M” with other known Mayer Myers hallmarks, and also you can compare the monogram styles with other known examples in the book, and also the overall shape of the drop, this spoon is a pattern similar to the “old English” style called “Turn’d back” in London during the 1760s where it became extremely popular, and we have surviving teaspoons (collection of Ruth J. Nutt) which are in this pattern and are similar to my spoon, but those teaspoons (set of five) are gadrooned, you can see images of these five in an archived Sotheby’s auction and the 1954 book by Jeanette Rosenbaum (I would like to have this book) ::

One other intriguing possibility is a theft which occurred in 1779. :: The ROYAL GAZETTE newspaper describes the theft as “ten silver tea spoons, some of them plain, the rest gadrooned, all made by Myers, late of New York, and marked as well with his mark.” :: When you actually find the newspaper article, it mentions a “swan” family crest which was the family crest of the Goelet family. :: On my spoon, the last name most certainly begins with “G” but I could find no Goelet which these initials could correspond to who was living in New York around 1770-1780 :: So maybe I have barked up the wrong tree, but could this be one of those stolen spoons? :: it is certainly possible. ::

I really feel comfortable attributing this spoon to Myer Myers, but it has the most wear of any Myer Myers hallmark I have yet seen due to extensive use over the many decades of use it has surely seen. :: Only Barquist could save the day, as he has catalogued the most silver by Myer Myers and has seen spoons that are in private collections which were not allowed to be photographed, but if Barquist did not respond to WEV, I can only assume that he would not respond to me. ::

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:21 am

Final note: In Barquist’s book, plate 101 shows a tablespoon, a spoon from the Harvard Art Museum which is one of three in their archives, and this spoon is dated 1788-1795, it is in the “old English” style with a more “pointed end on the handle” and this spoon is 6-7/8ths inches long and weighs 30 grams.

My spoon is in the “old English” style with a more “pointed end on the handle” and is 6-7/8ths inches long and weighs 31 grams.

I could actually take this spoon to the Harvard Art Museum and compare it to the other three spoons. :::

That is all :

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:28 am

(The 3 spoons at Harvard have the Livingston family crest and are actually listed as “dessert spoons” which is what I originally believed this spoon to be because the dessert spoons from England seem to be approximately 7 inches in length, somewhere in between teaspoons and tablespoons)

END :

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:52 am

MYER MYERS DESSERT SPOON: A MORE LIKELY HYPOTHESIS:

(M)/(R)(G)

Matthias and his first cousin Rachel Gomez were married in 1765. Matthias was one of 9 men who founded a Religious Institution in New York City called Shearith Israel. Two 18th century minutes books have survived, and one has a signature of the 9 trustees signed in 1774. The first person to sign was Matthias Gomez, a wealthy mercantile family who had roots in Spain and the West Indies before arriving in New York City. Myer Myers (along with his younger brother Asher Myers) served on this board alongside Matthias Gomez.

Myers activities as a silversmith and entrepreneur came to an abrupt halt during the summer of 1776, when New York became a battleground. In 1775 both Myer Myers and his brother Asher Myers attended the last meeting of their Religious Institution Shearith Israel to be recorded before war broke out. On April 13th, 1776, George Washington arrived in New York, making the city his headquarters. As the British advanced, Myers family made plans to flee and moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, by April 26th, 1776.

The first appearance of Barquist Mark 7 (which the MM hallmark appears to be) is dated by Barquist to CIRCA 1776, so this spoon could have been made in that period of time when both Myer Myers and Matthias Gomez were serving in the Religious Institution Shearith Israel (circa 1774-1776). Most of the Barquist Mark 7 hallmarks are attributed to Myers' exile in Norwalk, Connecticut, and his return to New York city, anytime in-between CIRCA 1776-1795.

However, if the marriage is that of Matthias and Rachel Gomez, as is our hypothesis, we must take into account that Rachel Gomez died in 1776. This gives us additional evidence that this spoon was made circa 1774-1776. Consequently, it follows that we have found one of the earliest examples of Barquist Mark 7 which was actually used just before the summer of 1776 while both Myer Myers and Matthias Gomez were still in New York City. Many members of the 9 men were actually related and had very close relationships with each other, so it makes sense that Myer Myers could have made a set of dessert spoons for the wealthy merchant Matthias Gomez and his wife (and first cousin) Rachel Gomez.

Myers is known to have made silver for other wealthy Jewish families, most notably the Gratz family, but none has been linked to the Gomez family. Apparently much of the Gomez family married and re-located to the West Indies, and given that this spoon was bought from an estate in Florida, perhaps a will can be located which shows the distribution of the property of Matthias Gomez upon his death in May 5th 1786 in Philadelphia.

The "Old English" style of this spoon seems consistent with a manufacture date of 1774-1776. The "Old English" style had been seen for decades already in England. In the 1750s, when the upturned Hanoverian serving spoons were seen to be awkward to use, the Old English pattern ushered in a different style and determined the end of the spoons were to turn down not up. The 3 Dessert Spoons from Harvard Art Museum have almost the exact same weight at this spoon, compare 30 grams at Harvard to 30.4 grams here, and we could get a more accurate weight of the 3 Harvard spoons when the staff is allowed to return to the Art Museum. I requested a picture of the bottom of the Harvard Dessert Spoons because I would like to see the size of the drop, it could be another clue when analyzing the form of Myer Myers' dessert spoons. Why is the drop so large on my spoon? Do the Harvard examples have similarly large drops? Hopefully I will receive these pics soon and a comparison can be made. The request has been added to the queue, and hopefully we can see a pic of the bottoms of the dessert spoons here soon. The 3 Dessert Spoons from Harvard Art Museum hallmarked with Barquist Mark 9 are dated 1788-1795 based on the Marriage of Edward Livingston and Mary McEvers in 1788. We are dating this spoon 1774-1776 based on the death of Rachel Gomez in 1776.

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Re: Myer Myers?

Postby Aguest » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:04 pm

In the section on Torah Finials, Barquist writes:

"Myers originally may have made the Torah finials now at Shearith Israel for one of these privately owned Torahs. Considerable evidence survives regarding ownership of Torah Finials in New York, particularly in the wealthy Gomez family...Many of these privately owned Torahs became the property of the congregation by gift or bequest." (Barquist, p. 159)

So there actually is indirect evidence that Myer Myers made silver for the Gomez family.

Given the many years that Myer Myers and Mattathias Gomez served together at Shearith Israel, and all the different tasks which they would have had to perform together, it seems to make sense that a set of Dessert Spoons could have been made for the wealthy merchant Mattathias Gomez. I still have not been able to access the complete will of Mattathias Gomez due to technical difficulties, but it does exist in an archive online. Perhaps it mentions "plate" as many wills described sterling silver objects with the word "plate" during this time.


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