Great Britain is known for the metallic quality of its silverwork. The primary reason is that it has the longest tradition (backed by law which established the sterling standard) of consistently marking silver in the world and the marks are fairly easily dated. This appeals greatly to collectors of antique silver since they can attribute the item to an individual maker and they also know the city and year in which it was marked.
In the case of English silver souvenir spoons, we can also use the British hallmarking system and date the spoons. Most of the British souvenir spoons were made in Birmingham, but we do find a few from London and other cities. In addition, the British spoon makers made souvenir spoons for some of the colonies and places that British visitors were likely to visit. Furthermore, the British continued to make silver spoons well into the 20th century--long after the practice was stopped in most of the world.
Mr. Mikesell has pointed out to me that Saint Dunstan functions as the patron saint of goldsmiths and silversmiths, as he worked as a goldsmith and jeweller. His Feast Day is May 19th, which is why the date year on hallmarks runs from May 19th to May 18th, not the calendar year. However, some people also consider Saint Eligius to be the patron saint of Goldsmiths. Note, since 1972, the date letter changes on January 1 of each year.
The British silversmiths were not as involved in the souvenir spoon movement until it had been underway in the USA and on the European continent for many years. When they finally started making souvenir spoons, they did produce some interesting designs, but they did not exhibit the creativity of the American spoon makers. Most of these pieces are very similar in design to the Canadian souvenir spoons.
These are British and Scottish souvenir spoons. In this exhibit I am not discussing the older British silver spoons as they are shown elsewhere in the spoon museum.
"The empire upon which the sun never sets" -1913
Brittanica (London - 1891)
Henley on Thames Rowing contest-1909
Dragon finial/ St. George slaying the dragon-1906
Truro, Cornwall, England
Cute owls finial-1910, Leeds, England
Neptune and mermaid--Liverpool-1904
left: London Coat of arms
Left: London Coat of Arms
This spoon has an enameled finial and the bowl shows the Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately the finial has had enamel loss. The colored line in the bowl is from the scanner. (Birmingham, 1901)
London down stem with dragon finial (London Coat of Arms)
London Small Bore Rifle Assn (not sterling)
Llandudno (Birmingham 1954)
Colchester finial and embossed view of the castle (Birmingham, 1902)
Progress Blackpool? (Birmingham, 1904)
Windsor Castle (Birmingham, 1928)
Eros Statue, London (Birmingham, 1953)
Castle at Guildford (Chester, 1915)
This spoon looked so much like a sterling spoon, that I didn't even check the marks before purchasing. Caveat Emptor.
Scottish Thistle-Edinburgh 1907
Killarney (County Kerry, Ireland) made Birmingham 1907
Click to see the British Monarch Coronation Spoons
Return to Spoon World Index