If this is your first visit to this museum, after viewing an exhibit (page) you should click the return to the "Spoon World Index" found on the bottom of each page. In that way you can see all of the exhibits and the fantastic spoons which are available to the collector. The pages (exhibits) may be viewed in any order, so select the subjects that appeal to you the most. Exhibits are frequently updated, so come back often to see the new spoons. Each exhibit starts with a brief word description which will download very quickly. Read it while you wait for the pictures to download. Many of the pictures are in gray scale so that they download quickly.
Spoons are sterling silver or European standard silver unless otherwise noted.
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This is the "infamous Salem Witch " spoon, first edition (registered 1/13/1891), which is credited with launching the entire souvenir spoon movement in the United States. The "Witch Spoon" was created by Daniel Low, a jeweler in Salem, Massachusetts, after he returned home from a German vacation where he had noticed "odd and unusual" souvenir spoons being sold, according to the prevailing documentation.
I, and all other spoon collectors, have accepted this explanation. But until now, nobody was very sure as to just which spoons he had seen which prompted his actions.
Recently, I had a very unusual opportunity. A dealer had just purchased a collection of spoons from an estate which had been "hidden" for a great many years. I was given "first chance". While these spoons were not of superb or unusual quality, they were remarkable for something else. The European spoons presented here were all acquired at the same time from a German trip in 1890, and they obliged the historian in me by engraving the date on the spoons. In addition, this collection contained only one American spoon --a witch demi. This was a remarkable set of circumstances which now allows me to share with you the spoons leading to the establishment of the "Salem Witch Spoon" and consequently the entire Souvenir Spoon Movement. Co-incidentally the Daniel Low Jewelry company has just recently closed its doors after over 100 years of service to the community. While I cannot be positive that these spoons are from the Daniel Low estate, the limited information furnished to me by the dealer indicated that the previous owner was from the East Coast and from a family prominent in the jewelry business. In any case, the spoons speak for themselves.
These are believed to be the spoons which started the souvenir spoon collecting fad.
The rightmost spoon has been turned upside down so that you can see the design and date.
Spoons with engraved dates
Munich with finial of monk holding a beer mug and bible.
Bowl of Munich spoon dated "1890"
Dresden spoon with wavy art nuevo handle and sailing ship finial
embossed bowl of Dresden spoon showing city scene
Art Nuevo woman finial and the bowl is engraved "Augsberg 1890"
Art Nuevo "flame" handle and the bowl is engraved "Worms 1890"
Scholar finial -- his right hand is holding a pen and the left hand is holding a tablet
The bowl is engraved "Nurnberg" (Nuremberg, Germany)
Typical serrated disk spoon from the late 1880's
The bowl is engraved "Uln 1890"
The finial looks like an Art Nuevo "flame"
The bowl is impressed with an unidentified Cathedral
Back of bowl showing a theatre "Oberammergau 1890"
finial shows Jesus on the cross with two apostles below and an art nuevo cherub.
Probably a souvenir from the anti-semitic "Passion Play" for which this area is famous
While there are many spoons prettier and better designed than the WITCH spoon, the "immense" sales (7000) of this spoon are credited with creating the momentum which eventually led to the creations of tens of thousands of fantastic and beautiful spoons. Indeed, within one year of the appearance of the WITCH, over 2500 original spoon designs were on the market. While the WITCH is not nearly as fancy as the spoons which led to her creation, the American silver manufacturers quickly established dominance in this new area with their beautiful and audacious new designs.
This beautiful blue and white enameled serrated disk Dresden spoon is dated June, 1887 in the bowl (back shown in picture). This is a couple of years before the spoon collecting fad was getting started.
It was not part of the foregoing collection
It is shown here to demonstrate the types of spoons which were used as souvenirs at that time in history
more information on this spoon is in the Germany spoons exhibit
While the Salem Witch spoon received the credit for starting the souvenir spoon frenzy in this country, the first American souvenir spoon was made about a year earlier. A series of spoons featuring the profile of George Washington, our first president, was made by Galt & Bros., Inc. of Washington D.C.
Peter, a collector of British spoons, recently emailed me a picture of
a fruit spoon which is clearly marked "Edinburgh".
The marks on this spoon date it to 1830.
This is obviously significantly before the advent of the souvenir spoon movement in the United States.
It was a common practice to convert old spoons with unadorned bowls into a newer design and this style of spoon bowl was not done in the 1830's.
I suspect that this was an 'old spoon' that was updated in the Victorian style and that the engraving of "Edinburgh" was done at the time the spoon was reworked.
We also know that some British caddy spoons from the early 1800's were used as souvenirs, but those are very rare and I do not have any pictures.
I thank Peter for bringing this interesting spoon to my attention.