As previously noted, the silversmiths of Czarist Russia were very prolific and produced a very substantial number of beautiful silver objects. When the Communists took control, they confiscated a tremendous amount of silver and art objects from the nobility which had ruled Russia. Most of the treasures seized were melted down for their silver and gold content.
A small amount was taken by the fleeing nobility after the 1917 revolution, and eventually ended up on the world collectibles market.
Some small precious metal objects escaped the Communist grasping hands and were hidden for many many years. When Russia's borders were opened up within the last few years, more of these wonderful old spoons have made their way to the American antique market.
The pictures in this exhibit are pieces of silver flatware which would be found in a typical wealthy man's mansion. At this point in history, the flatware would be placed on the table face side down. All of the workmanship would be on the back of the flatware because that is what the guests would see when they sat down.
Unfortunately, the back of spoons are rounded, thus the scanner does not do a good job of capturing all of the beauty on a curved surface. But I wanted you to be able to see the nice workmanship which is still available for the average collector.
Engraved picture on a strainer (1889)
Server with engraved cyrillic lettering (1891)
Castle on small server (1871)
Nice Art Nuevo designs (1879)
I have a set of 6 which is available for sale
Flower and square design (1895)
flowered art nuevo design
I have one extra piece with this design
Interesting Art Nuevo style engraving from 1878
These spoons look to me like engraved corn designs within heart shaped devices. Date not marked but I would guess 1870 - 1890 time period.
Much of the time it is very difficult to identify older flatware. Many of the marks are not exactly the same as shown in the books, and the books are incomplete. With spoons, the styles were often similar in many countries. We can identify the patterns in the English books to learn approximately when the spoon was made, and then use the marks to try to identify the country of origin.
Based upon the styling of the engraving and the shape of the top and the bowl shape, this large serving spoon (7.75" 195mm) appears to be about 1790 - 1800. The engraving on the back and the engraved "v" shape indicates a year of around 1805. The marks do not match any in my books exactly, but appear to be similar to some Russian marks, so I have tentatively placed the spoon in this exhibit.
One lesson you can learn from this spoon museum is that older valuable pieces can still be found for cheap prices. This spoon was sold to me cheaply because the dealer thought that it was "silverplate" because the marks were not easily identifiable. There are many other bargains out there. Learn to recognize them and you will make your own discoveries.
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