Since most of the inquiries I have received have to do with "What is my spoon worth?", I have decided to add a few comments to help you determine that for yourself.
Sterling silver souvenir spoons range in price from $5 to $2500. THE VAST MAJORITY of spoons are less than $50, and a very high percentage sell for less than $30. Many of the spoons pictured at this site would sell for under $50. Only extremely nice interesting pieces in excellent condition will sell for more than $50 and only a very small percentage will sell for more than $100. Spoons selling above $300 are extremely RARE.
Silver Plated Spoons will normally sell from $1 to $15. Very few will exceed $15. If a spoon is NOT marked sterling or if it does not have legitimate European silver marks, it is MOST likely silver plated. Cartoon character spoons, advertising spoons, presidents (Roger Bros.-1847), many generic "state" spoons, modern tourist spoons and a wide variety of others will fall in this category.
Roger Bros. spoons marked "1847" are worth less than $1.00. The date is when the company was founded. These spoons are silverplated, usually of poor quality and are very very common.
Prices in antique stores will vary greatly. Most general line antique dealers are not familiar with souvenir spoons and some will often price them at unreasonable levels. Simply because you see a spoon at a certain price, that does NOT mean that it will sell at that price. I have seen spoons sit in antique shops for years, without being sold.
Generally speaking, if the spoon is from a well known site which attracted lots of tourists, the chances are that there will be a lot of those spoons, thus the price will be lower. Spoons from places like the Niagara Falls, State Capitols, Pikes Peak, Mt. Hood etc. are very common because lots of people traveled there. Spoons that have a state name on them ie. California, New York, Utah etc. were designed to appeal to a wide audience, thus they are more common. Spoons with City Names like, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles were also designed to appeal to a wide audience, thus will tend to be less rare. Of course design, rarity and the type of sales venue also enter into the equation.
Spoons that have lots of little pictures on the handles, front and back, were designed to appeal to a very large tourist audience. Most likely they achieved their objective and many were produced. These are nice pieces and make interesting displays, but they are NOT rare.
If the spoon is from a lesser known place, the spoon will be rarer, but the demand will also be less, thus the price will not reach above $50 unless the buyer is in a "must have" state of mind.
As with all antiques, price is determined by many factors, the most important being supply and demand. Your personal attachment or the fact that your grandfather owned the spoon will not influence its price. A spoon with a picture of a high school is probably rare, but your chances of finding a buyer who wants that spoon because of the picture are EXTREMELY RARE, thus they normally sell for very little.
The most valuable souvenir spoons are those that show an important historic event, person, subject etc. but of which very few pieces were made. Spoons with elaborate silversmithing are of greater value, but you must learn to distinguish that from spoons that are elaborate but the product of a machine. Spoons that are extremely pretty but very rare tend to be pricey. Very old spoons (from before 1800) are also more valuable especially if they are made by a famous maker. But in most cases, if they do not have legitimate English Hallmarks or famous American Silvermarks, they are of relatively little value (there are forgeries of some of these marks).
There are NO American souvenir spoons from before 1889 and only a few English or European souvenir spoons from before that date. Dates on souvenir spoons are usually pretty accurate, but sometimes they reflect an anniversary of a previous event (wedding, etc.) A date on an older spoon is NOT necessarily a good indicator of its age especially if it is before 1890. It was quite common to engrave silver with dates of previous events. Also a very old date may indicate a forgery (it is easier to sell forgeries when they have dates on them).
If you have a piece that you think is of greater value, please tell me about it, but please read these guidelines first.
If you think that you have a very old piece, please see the pages about Victorian Era Reproductions and Large European Servers. These pages contain valuable information on Victorian era reproductions and numerous examples of pieces which are commonly thought to be centuries old.
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