Spoon collecting can lead to several interesting avenues. This spoon is typical of the gyrations which I went through to identify it.

I was in an antique store and spotted this spoon in a massive pile of junk spoons which the dealer had piled hap-hazardly. To my eye it looked like something special. The dealer proceeded to inform me that the entire pile was "junk", but I asked to take a closer look anyway.

A very careful examination of the piece showed no marks, and there was a very bad spot in the bowl. But something else was different. The figure had partial gold gilding on it. This is a difficult and rare technique and it is seldom used on silver plated items.

The dealer gave me a "low ball" price and I bought it, without any idea who the figure was. Extensive research failed to yield an answer and I thought it was probably an unusual figure of Columbus from the 1893 world fair.

I queried Chris McGlothin, the reigning expert on the fair, and he didn't think it was Columbus. A couple of days later he suggested that I check out Joan of Arc.

Perhaps I should have check Rainwaters "Spoons Around the World" closer, because she pictures four different spoons from this genre, although my exact variation is not shown.

Rainwater gives us the following information about Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc 1412-1431)

"The French heroine, Joan of Arc was sometimes known as 'the maid of Orleans.' Born of an (sic) humble peasant family, she believed herself commissioned by heaven to liberate France. Convincing Charles V11 of her divine authority, she was given command of a considerable force and by the victories she gained, enabled Charles to be crowned at Rheims. She was captured in 1430 by the Burgundians, delivered to the English and burned at the stake after a mock trial."

Now that I know what I am looking for, I surprised myself by finding a smaller version of this spoon. This one is engraved "Paris" in the bowl and has French purity marks

Maid of Orleans on horseback

Sword in a lily
I am pretty sure this is Joan of Arc because there is a flor-d'lys at the base. This is a nicely handmade piece with the flowers and sword applied with the cutcard technique.

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