The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) was held in Seattle in 1909 to celebrate the conquest of the rugged Alaska frontier and to pay homage to the tremendous wealth which accrued to Seattle, Washington as the main gateway to Alaska.
The Alaskan Gold rush of 1898 was very well documented and many books and movies provide a deep insight into the people, mining, and tremendous problems that were faced. It is impossible for me to explain in a few sentences about the monumental natural and man made problems which the miner's encountered. Therefore if you have more interest in this subject I do suggest further research.
The official symbol of the AYPE
The AYPE was about gold, that magical metal which has intrigued men since the beginning of time. Here, as in previous gold finds, men and governments risked everything against hostile conditions (and often lost) to extract the precious yellow metal from the earth.
Pure Alaska gold is the finial on this totem pole spoon
Apparently some spoon manufacturers set up a spoon making process at the AYPE expo.
Mayer Bros. supposedly made about 145 spoons per day while the expo was active.
This spoon features a fairly common SSMC handle with the official symbol of the fair in the bowl.
Paul Middents has written a terrific article about Joseph Mayer at the AYPE. Click to see this article.
This cute unusual Art Nouveau nugget souvenir was made from a Gorham pattern (unidentified) spoon with a large nugget
stamped with the word 'YUKON' and two smaller gold nuggets
(the red is a reflection of my shirt on the bright gold )
The gold plated bowl is engraved 'Dawson'
Dawson was the center of the Klondike gold rush and was the capital of the Yukon territory at that time.
The patent date ('88) on the Gorham spoon is not a reflection of when the spoon was made.
These spoons were all made in the late 1890's
Pure gold placer nuggets are soldered to these spoons which are all engraved "YUKON" in the bowl.
These two spoons tell us that they are from the Mayo
Mine, Central Yukon
Mayo is known as the "heart of the Yukon"
This is the first fork which I have seen with a gold nugget
A beautiful sterling spoon with a large natural gold nugget soldered at the top. The bowl features an engraved picture of Mt. Rainier
I suspect that the gold is from Alaska.
William Seward, Secretary of State, was the purchaser of Alaska from Russia. He is now known as the "Father of Alaska", although at the time of the purchase it was known as "Seward's Folly"
More Chief Seattle spoons may be seen in the Specific Indian exhibit
The Official Souvenir Spoon was available in different sizes.
The back of the official spoon bowls have the facsimile signature of the President and Director General of the exposition
The back also shows this "gateway" to the orient design
The Fine Arts building at the expo
This totem pole spoon also has a picture of the Alaska building in the bowl
Sled dog from the Yukon (Canadian made)