Many sets of coffee spoons are encountered in spoon collecting. Every silver manufacturer made these sets of 6 demitasse spoons and they are often found in the original boxes. The great majority of them are simply smaller versions of the manufacturers standard patterns from the 1890's. Most of these sets hold no interest for me. But I do seem to be attracted to nice curvy and sensuous art nuevo styles, and these illustrated sets of spoons are particularly nice in this regards.
The New York firm of George W. Shiebler was primarily known for its outstanding designs in silver flatware. This six piece demitasse set shows very classic Art Nuevo designs. The nice part of this set is that all the pieces are different. I would guess that the spoons date from the early 1890's.
These spoons are illustrated in my first book. When I photographed them they belonged to another member of my club. I have now been able to obtain my own. The Gorham and Shiebler companies produced these sets as direct competition for each other. Which do you like better?
Gorham had several different sets of Art Nuevo demi spoons. These spoons are from one of the sets featuring different old world human figures (Nuremberg series).
This Gorham demi must be from a different set.
It is not pictured in any of my books, but bears a strong resemblance to the previous spoons. The picture is a "well muscled man"in a classic Greek pose. I suspect that it is possibly an attempt to revive these spoons during the art deco era as the stem is much more in this style.
The Versaille pattern is typically found on full and 5 o'clock sized tea spoons. All of the examples I had seen had shown this putti with a musical instrument. I hadn't realized that there were other versions of the Versaille pattern until I examined this lady with my loop. My books indicate that Versaille was a "multi-format" series although they do not show pictures of the other patterns available thus I do not know how many variations exist.
Left: This is the typical Versaille pattern which is frequently found on souvenir spoons. It appears to be a putti with a musical instrument (harp?). This particular spoon is engraved with a picture of the "Winona High Bridge".
Right: I have had this spoon which is acid etched "Lead" (South Dakota) for a long time, and had only observed a lady. I examined it with my loop and found that there is also a winged child (on her left). After looking thru the pattern books, I have concluded that it is probably a Versaille variation (dated 1899 on back). I suppose that this is supposed to be an Art Nuevo version of Mary and child.