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.
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.
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.
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"
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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