by Wayne Bednersh

albert gilchrist spoon monkey

A fairly common sterling silver souvenir spoon from Florida featuring oranges, an alligator, palm trees, hotels and various other Florida symbols is in truth a small historical treasure.

spoon monkey gilchrist

The bowl of this spoon features the addition of a silver depiction of the three wise monkeys covering their mouths, eyes and ears and
 an inscription engraved in script "With best wishes -Albert W. Gilchrist".

Albert W. Gilchrist was the 20th Governor of the State of Florida from January 5, 1909 through January 7, 1913. He attended West Point Academy (did not graduate) and then he became a

civil engineer, real estate dealer, orange grower and cigar maker in Punta Gorda, Florida. He also was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and he was a brigadier general in

Florida and a Captain in the US Army during the Spanish-American War.

albert gilchrist

Now there is a museum for him in Punta Gorda, Florida and Gilchrist County, Florida is named after him. In addition a bridge over U.S. Route 41 and a dormitory at Florida State University

are named in his honor.

Cigar manufacturing began in Punta Gorda in 1890. Gilchrist established his Punta Gorda Cigar  Manufacuring Co. in 1905 and this factory produced his "Three Monkey Five Cent Cigars"

line with the logo "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"

gilchrist monkey

 During his run for the Governorship, he used the three monkey motto on much of his campaign literature. Surviving postcards and political campaign memorabilia are featured in the

museum. The museum does not have a spoon similar to this.

The "three wise monkeys" originally comes from a 17th century carving over the door of the famous Tosho-gu shrine in Nikko, Japan. The symbol has since been adopted into many other


My guess is that Mr. Gilchrist had this ordinary souvenir spoon custom modified as a  present for someone important to him.

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