£160,000 colonial spoon

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£160,000 colonial spoon

Postby Francais » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:00 pm

I don't think I am violating any rules, as I am not discussing value, just quoting an online paper.
In any case so I don't violate any rules rather than post a picture I suggest any interested party Goggle this title. You should get plenty of information, and a picture of what someone is calling a Colonial marrow spoon.
Needless to say, I haven't seen it in hand. But I presume someone, possibly a reporter, got something wrong.
It doesn't look like a marrow spoon to me. I also am curious about why it is "attributed" to Nathanial Hurd and Daniel Henchman as the former's mark is "N. Hurd". I am not sure where one would mark a piece like that. There is a monteith bowl given by the governor to the president of Dartmouth College, made and marked by Henchman, and engraved by Hurd. But I don't think it would take two silversmiths to make a spoon.
I could go on, but I guess I will leave the subject for now.

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Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby amena » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:38 am

Of course, if it is a marrow spoon, it's suitable for removing marrow from a very, very big bone.

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Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby dognose » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:56 pm


I have today spoken with the owner of the spoon. The reason it is described as a marrow spoon is due to the form it has as a widening channel to the reverse of the spoon, but whilst it can correctly be described as a marrow spoon it is moreover a presentation piece, not intended for use.

It is engraved by the same hand as that on the Dartmouth Monteith (Nathaniel Hurd) with the governors name "John Wentworth", a comparison between that and the engraved name on the Dartmouth Monteith are identical. Hurd has engraved the spoon but, as with the only other piece known made for Wentworth, it was produced by a partnership, Henchman/Hurd so that has been the attribution.

The piece is not marked as the design of the spoon would prohibit any mark being struck on it given full name punches were used at the time.

Hopefully that clears things up, it's a wonderful item and truly a piece of American history.



Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby Francais » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:35 pm

I wrote and tried to post this before Trev posted anything. But I am adding a few sentences here: I invite people to compare the engraving, on the monteith bowl avaiable on line. As for the mark, Daniel Henchman had a two letter mark whose use predates the dates given for this spoon.

A Google search now turns up the back of the Dolphin end of the spoon. It has what appears to be a shallow indention. Thus explaining why someone might think it is a marrow spoon.
I guess it won’t hurt to explain that marrow spoons are basically a marrow scoop with one end being a spoon. In other words it is a normal spoon with a long narrow channel or grove going the length of the handle. The British ones I have had were mostly Queen Anne period or somewhat later. They were more of less replaced by scoops in the mid-18th c. As usual there are always exceptions.
Both forms are exceedingly rare in American silver (Hurd made one). I was lucky enough to have one of each style, and have only seen a few others.

Why is it fluted? Fluting is an odd thing to find on spoons.
Generally fluting is a method of increasing the strength of sheet metal, etc. Think of corrugated roofing, cardboard etc.
On spoons it makes less sense. Mostly in the 19th century it is seen on fruit spoons. Where strength is needed and the eaten object is in a chunk form. It is hard to eat something like porridge from a fluted spoon, you can’t lick them clean. Also fluting makes it difficult to scrape the bottom of the bowl, probably why the French didn’t use it much. So in the 18th c. what kind of things had fluted bowls. Salt spoons, caddy spoons, and ladles. I always presumed it was because a fluted bowl, might make pouring easier or prettier, or was just a replica of a shell bowl, which was a naturalistic sort of embellishment. Certainly it made no difference that you could not scrape a salt dish or tea caddy bottom. I am not so sure why they were so popular on large ladles, unless it was just that they are so pretty. In any case fluting tends to be used mostly on serving pieces.
As far as 18th century American spoons with fluted bowls, I couldn’t think examples by even a handful of makers. And they are all tea spoons. If a teaspoon is only used for tea then fluting causes no inconvenience and is very pretty; Paul Revere made a few.
I don’t know what this spoon is, but at 20 cm. it is no tea spoon.

It turns out the spoon is not marked, so the “attribution” I presume must primarily be dependent on the engraving, and the known Monteith bowl. It also depends on there being only one “John Wentworth, Esq.” having a friend named “Thomas Smith”. In my opinion extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proofs.

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Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby dragonflywink » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:35 pm

Eh, for what it's worth, Maurice has pretty much addressed all my initial thoughts (and more) regarding this spoon...


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Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby JLDoggett » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:27 pm

Is its provenance listed anywhere? Also are there any other pictures available, I am sorry but this is not adding up for me.


Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby Francais » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:37 pm

I wasn't going to comment further on this piece, but I may reconsider.
At least her are the links:

The spoon:
http://www.lapada-object-of-the-year.co ... oon/124055

The punch bowl:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/Libra ... ption.html

I would pay attention to the W the J the Q and the S.



Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby Francais » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:25 pm

On advice of attorney I will not be posting any opinions on this item.

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Re: £160,000 colonial spoon

Postby oel » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:33 pm

Hi All,

The NEC Birmingham event between April 10 and 13, could not make it :

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/mi ... on-6894913

But I have a burning question; has this beauty of a spoon been sold and if so for how (admin edit read the forum rules!)



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