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Lovely pure coin silver spoon made by the Alvah Skinner Boston, Massachusetts.

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Posted 6 years ago

(470 items)

I have 2 very old nice boxes with possible baby spoons, here is one, with stamped "Coin"silver and A.Skinner silversmith, any ideas what this is ?
Lovely pure coin silver spoon made by the Alvah Skinner Company of Boston, Massachusetts. 1830-46

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  1. Stillwater Stillwater, 6 years ago
    Coin silver aint pure!
  2. Stillwater Stillwater, 6 years ago
    Hmmm... I read that twice and I still can't get the meaning out of it
    "They left these to use they work me wife's G.Grandmother she had 3 sisters."
  3. filmnet filmnet, 6 years ago
    I know but these 2 are very old, the 3 girls from our family on the 1800s were born in1840 to 1855 years .The girls left them to my wife's Grandmother she had 3 sisters. all die by 1917
  4. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Most beautiful!! This is a ladle, probably for serving something very liquid. The handle is a little shorter than I'm accustomed to seeing on punch ladles, but I think that it has to be ladle for a lighter liquid since the bowl is turned in. Also, the ladle is deep. Perhaps it is a punch ladle! How long is the stem, please?
  5. filmnet filmnet, 6 years ago
    handle is 4" total is 6"
  6. filmnet filmnet, 6 years ago
    I did clean this with nice silver cleaner, i bought some very expensive clearer, very weak.. it was so dirty in attic for 50 years not moved at all for these years. This name A. Skinner could be this old he was a silver maker in Boston, we are outside Boston.
  7. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    HI, FILMNET! Please pardon me, I am a bit confused. I see some diligent detective work here. I just want to make sure that I understand your reasoning/research. The title of your Show and Tell attributes this ladle to Alvah Skinner of Boston. You repeat this assertion in your description, but you also attribute the ladle to Abraham Skinner of NYC in your verbal description, and also by your Photo 4, which contains the hallmark for Abraham Skinner, but not for Alvah Skinner. I infer from this mix that you originally attributed your ladle to Abraham Skinner, but now attribute it to Alvah Skinner of Boston, active “1830-46” per your dates. I concur with your judgment on the identification of the silversmith/firm, though I can’t confirm a firm production date for your ladle within your stated date range.

    Ref silversmith/firm. Now, the hallmarks in your Photos 3 and 4 appear inconsistent with each other. The hallmark image associated with Abraham Skinner of NYC in the reference you provide in Photo 4 uses both upper and lower case letters, while your ladle’s hallmark is all in caps. However, Sterling Flatware Fashions provides two hallmarks for Abraham Skinner, and the first hallmark is all in caps (see below), so there is no inconsistency between your item and this second Sterling Flatware Fashions’ Abraham Skinner hallmark. I don’t find the ornamentation style of this ladle consistent with Abraham Skinner’s dates, however, which I provisionally posit as 1756-1773, per dating in following link. I think the style of this ladle indicates that it was produced long after Abraham Skinner’s career ended.


    You can also see from the above link that Alvah Skinner was operative under several hallmarks. I don’t have sufficient information on the precise date ranges for each of his associated hallmarks to state precise date ranges for these associated ‘entities’, and the dates I am using for Alvah Skinner are a bit different from yours. I choose to use the date range of 1830-1880, which is given by Sterling Flatware Fashions for “Alvah Skinner / A. Skinner & Co.” There might be more detailed information available elsewhere on the precise date ranges for each hallmark associated with Alvah Skinner and his ‘entities’, but I don’t have access right now to many reference materials, so I proceed under the broader date range given in the above Sterling Flatware Fashions link, with caveat.

    IF ANYONE HAS the Kovels’ 1961 book, “Kovels' American Silver Marks” (Crown, NY, revised 1989), would you please consult it for entries on “Alvah Skinner”, “A. SKINNER”, “SKINNER & SWEET”, and “A. SKINNER & CO.”, and for any variant of ‘JAMES SWEET’? Note that Sterling Flatware Fashions provides two main entry lines for “Alvah Skinner. One for the firm in which Skinner was a partner of James Street, ”SKINNER & SWEET”, with associated date range of 1846-1857. And one for “A. SKINNER/A. SKINNER & CO.”, with an associated date range of 1830-1880. This second entry cross-references the “SKINNER & SWEET” hallmark below the “A. SKINNER/A. SKINNER & CO.” name and 1830-1880 date range, and indicates the dates during which the partnership was operative and in which goods were hallmarked “SKINNER & SWEET” – i.e., 1846-1857. It is perhaps presumptuous of me to draw the following provisional inference and continue on, but I shall do so. Namely, I think that we cannot at this point rule out that Alvah Skinner could have produced wares marked “A. SKINNER” beyond 1846.

    Now, the first Sterling Flatware Fashions photo given under the ‘Alvah Skinner/….” Entry for the ‘A SKINNER’ is not clear. Based upon my laptop’s presentation of the fuzzy photo, it looks like there could be a period following “A”, or there could be no period. I think that there is a period following the “A”. My grounds. First, I’ve seen two coin spoons on eBay with hallmarks that look like “A. SKINNER”. The period on neither of these eBay hallmarks is deeply impressed. It is odd that the period is so light, but it looks like it was meant to be a period, and it isn’t just some random post-production flaw on the silver piece. Further, the fact that Alvah Skinner used an “A.” before “SKINNER & CO.” on his silver produced for “A. SKINNER & CO.” suggests that his plain ‘A SKINNER’ hallmark probably had a period following the “A”. This “A. SKINNER” hallmark would correspond precisely to your hallmark. Lastly, other sites render the silversmith’s hallmark as “A. SKINNER”.

    Now, I can’t see the engraved motifs and technique/s used on your ladle very clearly, so my provisional opinion on these and their possible indications will be rather tentative. Based upon my limited perception of the engraved motifs/elements, and the engraving technique/s used on your ladle, I tentatively submit that this was probably made by Alvah Skinner of Boston at a relatively late date in his career.

    As I said, it’s hard for me to see the engraving on the bowl of the ladle, but it looks to me like it’s most consistent with the Aesthetic Movement style, which began in England in the 1860’s and soon spread to the United States. Various date ranges for the style’s popularity in the U.S. have been assigned, but I am not going to consider these ranges now because I can’t personally indicate a firm date range during which silver wares with styles most consistent to Aesthetic Movement were first observed and then became statistically frequent. I do think that the movement’s popularity in the U.S. obtained during your silversmith’s time.

    Although your spoon is not “pure silver”/”fine silver”/”commercial grade silver” (999 or higher/1000 purity), I think that it is likely SOLID “Coin Silver”, in contradistinction to Plated Coin Silver. The precise silver content of “coin silver” varied historically in nineteenth century America, but generally it is defined as an alloy of 900/1000 parts silver with 100/100 0 parts copper. Some early Alvah Skinner hallmarks ensembles state “PURE COIN” to indicate solid coin silver, I think. Though your ladle does not have a “PURE” mark, I have no reason to think that it’s not ‘pure’ or solid coin silver. I have seen this “A. SKINNER” hallmark on a very old pure/solid coin silver spoon without any indication of either “COIN SILVER” OR “PURE COIN SILVER”. (See eBay link in hallmark notes below.) Perhaps you stated that your ladle is “pure coin silver” based upon a discovery of an early Skinner hallmark ensemble that includes the notation “PURE COIN SILVER”. It is interesting to that some items were plated in coin silver and accordingly marked. There is no reason to think that your item is silver-plated rather than solid.

    It is further interesting to note that most major American silver manufacturers had changed from a coin silver standard to a sterling standard (.925 minimum) by the late 1860’s.* I don’t know for sure, but I would infer that Skinner was not a ‘major firm’ because I don’t find him/his firms listed in Dorothy Rainwater’s reference work on American silver manufacturers. I also don't find any indication anywhere that Alvah Skinner ever worked in sterling. So, I'm not going to pursue a project to establish a late 1860's purity benchmark standard for him. (FYI, I've seen no indication anywhere that he ever worked in silver-plated wares, either.)

    Without firm knowledge of precise dates that silver in the Aesthetic Movement style first appeared in America and then became popular/statistically frequent, the closest range I am willing to tentatively posit for the production of this ladle is late 1860’s-1880. At least some of the engraving looks to be “bright cut”, which was very popular during the Aesthetic Movement, and I think that some of the design motifs/elements are found on Aesthetic silver – posited with caveat due to the fuzzy photo you've provided of ladle’s engraving. Better photos of the bowl would help analysis of both the design motifs/elements and the engraving technique/s. Moreover, a good close-up of the hardware on the case, and any interior or exterior case markings might also help date your item. You could post a “Part II” show and tell entry, with such photos. I don’t know anything whatsoever about clasps and hinges, but there are quite a few persons on CW who are skilled in identifying antique hardware.

    Thanks for the measurements! I think that this ladle is a bit shorter than the average 1880’s American punch ladle. Punch ladles have to be long because punch bowls are generally relatively large, deep, and broad. If these ladles were not long, one couldn’t park them in the punch bowl because they would slip down into the beverage. I hope that someone weighs in on the ladle bowl shape and size, and the handle length of your punch ladle. Here’s a link to a punch ladle from the 1880’s. Its total length is 20 and 3/8 inches.


    These are just my provisional opinions. I am certainly no expert!!!, and I enthusiastically encourage contributions from fellow CW-ers.

    Filmnet, I don’t quite understand the significance of the dates you provided for your wife’s ancestors. If my dates are inconsistent with your ancestor dates, please indicate this so that any others who follow can proceed from there. Thank you.

    One thing I state with confidence: Your beautiful ladle is a treasure! If the case is an original issue, then your heirloom is even more splendid. I’m so very happy that you have this! Regards, miKKo

    Notes on hallmarks available on internet:




    Notes on books:

    “Silver in America: 1840-1940, A Century of Splendor”, Charles L. Venable (Dallas Museum of Art), NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994, p. 20.

    “Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers”, Dorothy Rainwater et alia, 5th edition, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2004.

  8. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Hi filmnet. I've done some more reading on the sense of "pure coin" silver. It is a term used to indicate the purity of silver. Some American silver firms marked wares COIN, PURE COIN, or DOLLAR, to indicate a silver content/purity as high as currency. These marks don't indicate that the marked ware was actually made from coins.


    REF fluctuations in the silver content of "coin silver" in nineteenth century. The United States government started using coin silver in 1792. Coin purity could range from 750 to 950 per thousand. The United States in 1906 passed a law defining coin silver as 900 parts per thousand.

    REF the bright cut engraving: Bright cut engraving was popular in the US long before the Aesthetic Movement appeared on the scene. Will need better photos of your ladle bowl to make a good assessment of whether or not the ladle is Aesthetic Movement. Thanks.
  9. filmnet filmnet, 6 years ago
    WOW I need to thank you very much I am a pro photographer and will get more shots for you. To answer some questions might be tough now but here is some info. Salem silver from 1800 was crazy the boat were come back from around around the world with Tea, Silver, Gold? Look at this museum in Salem
    In 1835 my wife's family had great men from the wars 1776 and 1812, 1 man born 1810 married in 1830's died on a boat around France1849, he had 4 kids by 1849. His wife had 3 girls and 1 boy. The girls grow up in Salem, they Grandfather help them all there life his grandfather died in 1976 the first fight in Lexington.
    So he had a lot of old stuff left to the girls; Now 1 girl married a captain of a ship 1860s by 1885 she was going with him around the world till 1893. We have her diaries form around the world she had a ton of stuff brought home on the ship. The last Chipper ships, They went from Salem or NY to South America, India, China, and Australia. So I have a lot of mixed silver from here and around the world.
    Back to 1850s i have a big spoon from the mother of the girls with her name on it this is coin silver from before 1860s. And other spoons with the girls names on them by 1890s in Salem this huge store Daniel Low, was selling the Salem Witch
    spoon. I have the first one
    The girls work here and bought silver to bring home these years
    By 1900 the girls were in there 50s and as there husbands died they all came to our house to live to die around 1915s and brought this stuff home. Unbelievable stuff which has been spread around in this family. In the PEM museum is great China stuff from 1840-1880 left from the Captain and in out town was left some history stuff. If you look at what i have left here in this website you should look at it. Thanks these 2 spoons were in these old boxes, I do know they may be were put in these maybe by anyone. But you should look at the other one ? What is this spoon for ?

  10. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago

    Hi, filmnet! Thank you very much for your most generous and gracious response. It is a pleasure to work on this beautiful ladle.

    Great info on your family history! Impressive. Thank you very much for the great links, too. As soon as I read your response, I went looking for another spoon. What delightful things I found along the way! Indeed, I have marveled before over military items that you have posted, but had no idea that your treasure chest was full of so many beautiful and noble 'things'. As you see, I simply had to "follow" you. I look forward to seeing many beautiful things from you in future, sir.

    Does the tip of the ladle have a molded/cast strawberry on it? Or, does one of your spoons have the strawberry on the tip? If it’s the spoon and not the ladle, I can affirm that it is most probably American. (We already know that the ladle is American.) I will get to work on the spoon in the box with the pink silk lining when you've posted new photos and info. I will need measurements to know exactly what its function is. It is some kind of serving spoon, but I will need more information before I can venture a hypothesis on its intended function. It is definitely not a baby spoon. I have a wonderful reference work on American silver flatware that was produced 1837-1910, and I took a quick look in it last night, and didn't find this exact form. However, I will have more to say on the matter when you've posted your details/photos on spoon in pink/originally red? silk.

    Now, on to Alvah Skinner. Yesterday afternoon, I Emailed one of the persons selling an "A. SKINNER" coin spoon, and queried her on her reasons for assigning a particular date range to her spoon. She most generously responded this morning with some great information.

    Last night I thought that it was premature for me to assume that Alvah Skinner ceased to use his "A. SKINNER" hallmark when he was operating with James Sweet in ”SKINNER & SWEET” (1846-1857), and also after he had ceased to operate under "SKINNER & SWEET". Similarly, I thought it premature to assume that he couldn't have used the "A. SKINNER" hallmark while or after he operated as "A. SKINNER & CO.”. I did not last night have enough information to make a firm judgment on the matter, nor do I have sufficient information now. However, this morning’s eBay email is exciting. I see nothing yet in my hypotheses of last night that is inconsistent with the additional information the eBay Seller provided this morning. It might be the case that one or more of my hypotheses turns out to be false, but at this state, I don’t think that they’re too presumptuous to be entertained. And, the new information she provided might just well lead to a solution further down the road.

    From the same information I provided tlast night from http://www.925-1000.com on “A. SKINNER”/”…& CO.” and “SKINNER & SWEET” - and the information contained in the following link - the eBay Seller “presumed” (her own word) that since her undeniably very old coin silver spoon bore the hallmark “A. SKINNER” and not “SKINNER & SWEET”, it was made before Skinner embarked on his partnership with Sweet in 1847.


    I haven’t seen anything yet in this wonderful ancestry.com page that indicates to me that one or more of my hypotheses is/are incorrect. However, I note that the person who wrote this ancestry.com page is quite literate and well-read. I don’t have access to most of his/her cited reference works at home, and our large library will also not have some or perhaps many of the cited works. Let’s consider some information ancestry.com provided.

    Ancestry.com page confirms use of three hallmarks, all which we’ve previously identified and discussed, and provides images of all three hallmarks. The page states that Skinner had “Alternate Hallmarks”. Page provides an image of a golden plaque?/seal?/stamp?/medallion? upon which Skinner engraved his name, profession (i.e., “Watchmaker”, “Jeweler”), his address (No. 63 Congress Street, Boston), and a solicitation that indicates that he repairs watches. We have no date for this ‘plaque’. The text on this page identifies Skinner as a “silversmith”, “watchmaker”, and “jeweler”.

    Skinner died in 1883, but was active as late as 1830.

    From 1830 to 1846 he was active as a silversmith and watchmaker in Boston. (4) The reference cited in Footnote No. 4 is Belden, Louise, “Marks of American Silversmiths”. This title in unavailable in our large library. Can you please check and see if your library has a copy of it? Thank you! I would be looking for information that indicates whether Skinner ever dropped a hallmark completely and never used it again, or whether he ever dropped a hallmark and then resumed use of it later. Then I would look for information that might enable one to assign an exact hallmark to an exact date range. (By the way, what is the name of the reference work you used in Photo 4 of your Show and Tell, please?)

    Skinner wrote a paper on watches circa 1830. I can’t tell from the text whether he wrote the paper for the American Antiquarian Society, or whether he was associated with that organization in another respect.

    From 1846 to 1857, he was a partner of James Sweet, operating in Boston, and used the “SKINNER & SWEET” hallmark. Either Skinner or SKINNER & SWEET was/were listed in the Boston 1845 city directory at 17 Hanover Street. (4) [Note that this address is different from the address given in the golden “plaque” mentioned above.]

    The 1850 Census (Boston MA) lists him and records his profession as a “jeweler”.

    From 1857 to 1880, he worked in Boston as a “silversmith” and “watchmaker”. (4)

    In 1870, he is listed in the census (Malden MA) as a “jeweler”.

    Alvah Skinner continued to be active after he left “SKINNER & SWEET”.

    From 1857 to 1880, he was active as a silversmith and watchmaker in Boston. (4)

    I hope that I’ve got this down correctly. My head is swimming and my hands are numb – nerve damage. I’ll have to stop work on this for now. Thanks again for your generosity and courtesy, filmnet! See you later! miKKo
  11. filmnet filmnet, 6 years ago
    Wakefield is only 5 miles away from here, and we are 15 miles from Boston, i will shoot shots tomorrow.
  12. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Hi, filmnet! I've ID'd the pattern name and pattern designer of this ladle. It's called "Queen" and it was designed by Knowles & Ladd circa 1870. I treated this subject at length in the earlier show and tell entry that you posted on this item. I treated it there because it was there that I could see the pattern on the ladle handle. I can't see it in this new entry for the ladle. Here's a link to that first show and tell entry, and to my ID work.

  13. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Final posting on this thread tonight - I promise! I have just realized that I dropped a couple of sentences out of Comment No. 10. Yesterday I sent the eBay seller of the very old "A. SKINNER" coin spoon an email asking her why she had identified her spoon as being pre-1847. She responded with an email this morning that gives some information I gave you last night from http://www.925-1000.com. Nothing we didn't know there, however, she also provided the link to ancestry.com, which I had not seen before she sent it, and which is a significant advance for us.
    Finally, it just occurred to me that the footnote page that is linked to the ancestry.com page on Skinner contains many more footnotes/references cited than correspond to our Skinner page. The author of the ancestry.com pages must have been treating more than silversmith/silver firm with this footnote reference page. In fact, the only footnote on the page dedicated to Skinner is Footnote No. 4. All the other footnotes on the Footnote Reference list correspond to other pages. I have just seen that the author of these ancestry.com pages has composed here an online reference work for American Silversmiths. I shall email him tomorrow and ask him some questions! (I am too tired to make good sense tonight.) I note too that Skinner had a son with a similar name. Follows a link to a central page of this online reference guide:


    The authorof this online project describes it in the following manner:


    These pages are a quick reference for collectors and contain the 7,035 silversmiths, jewelers, watchmakers, and other related craftsmen included in my larger genealogical study of American Silversmiths

    Back to miKKo. Last point: filmnet, I think that you are perhaps still thinking that the silver object in the box with the blue silk lining (i.e., the one in this show and tell entry) is a spoon. It is not a spoon, it is a ladle. I don’t yet know what kind of ladle it is. The best way to find that out would be to find a copy of an original Ladd & Knowles publication that contains images and descriptions of this ladle. Not so easy to do. Hope you have a pleasant evening! miKKo
  14. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Good morning, filmnet! Last night, I discovered quite a few pieces for sale made in this pattern. Not one of them that I found had a maker's hallmark. No, the only marks I found were "COIN" on all but one spoon, and this one and only one spoon, I found the mark "STERLING". So there is a story behind the use of this pattern that needs to be brought to light. I will be emailing the author of the Ancestry.com database later today, and I will ask him about this curious situation. Best wishes for a good photography session! miKKo
  15. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    I just discovered a typo is my Comment No. 10: "Skinner died in 1883, but was active as late as 1830". The "1830" should be "1880"! : (
  16. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Thank you very much, scandi! Good to see you!!! Yes, filmnet has many treasures! Regards, miKKo : D
  17. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Surprise, surprise! Look what showed up when I Googled "Knowles & Ladd company brochure"! Pity, it didn't appear in my earlier "Knowles & Ladd" Google search results. There are some odd sentences in this piece, but it is a wealth of information, and it contains a reference to an extant Knowles & Ladd 'brochure', which I gather from the article is very rare. This referenced brochure might contain an image or description of this ladle, and thereby enable one to identify the exact function this peculiar ladle. The bowl is such an odd shape, that I am certain that it must be for something very liquid. It can't be a punch ladle because of it's size. I am guessing that it's probably a gravy ladle, but I'm not certain of this ID.

  18. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Hi, Bellin! Thanks so much!!! It has been a thrilling chase. I am so glad that you were able to work out your scissors hallmarks! EXCELLENT JOB, that was!!! I wish I could have helped, but I couldn't discern any figures or symbols at all in the mark. So glad that you found those beautiful scissors - what a find, but so like you! Thanks again, and hope your Sunday is a blessed one! : )
  19. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    "The Jeweler's Circular & Horological Review"
    "The Spoon Patterns of American Silversmiths"
    May 22 and 29, 1895
    Reproduced in "Silver Magazine", Nov-Dec, 1990, p. 15
  20. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 6 years ago
    Sorry about that. I'm having computer problems. If my left forearm touches the laptop frame, the keyboard freezes, allowing me only to click or hit "Return". So, my above post (No. 22) was incomplete when posted.

    The following information comes largely from a great article, "The Patterns of Knowles & Ladd", by Stanley Hayes (San Francisco, CA), as published on http://www.925-1000.com. A link was previously provided, but here it is again.


    Now, I find Hayes’ article/notes a bit confusing. I hope that my account accurately captures the sense of the author, but I present it with caveat. I do not mean to provide a full account of the article or of any subject of the article that I may treat herein. I am merely summarizing such points as I should like to make here in my wrap-up posting.

    A large portion of Hayes’ article appears to be a snapshot account of D. Albert Soeffing's research on Knowles & Ladd and associated firms. Hayes cites two publications important for my purpose, namely:

    "The Jeweler's Circular & Horological Review"/"The Spoon Patterns of American Silversmiths"/ May 22 and 29, 1895/Reproduced in "Silver Magazine", Nov-Dec, 1990, p. 15

    and Soeffing’s

    "The Firms of Henry L. Webster, Knowles & Ladd, and J.B. & S.M. Knowles: History and Patterns"/published in “Silver Magazine”, Sept-Oct., 1996, pp.30-35.

    I have not read either ‘article’, but am relying on Hayes’ report. RE Hayes’ article, I will not touch on the portion dealing with Hayes’ proposed correction of Soeffing’s research on Webster etc., or on most of Hayes’ treatment of some ‘‘misattributions’ made of Knowles & Ladd/et-alia pieces and patterns over the years.

    The trade catalogue referenced in Hayes’ article is perhaps the only ‘uncovered’ Knowles/et-alia company catalogue of Knowles & Ladd patterns known today. Or, at least I get the impression that Hayes’ regarded it as such when he published his undated article on http://www.925-1000.com. Since the publication of these articles, perhaps other catalogues or similar trade publications have been unearthed. (Soeffing uncovered the referenced Knowles trade catalogue in the Research Library of the American Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.) It would be wonderful if this trade publication identified all the various implements (with their shape images, measurements, and functions), as well as published pattern names and pattern images, but I have no indication that it does. Perhaps it only showcases a teaspoon or other implement/s in each of the K & L patterns, with text names and some brief details.

    I know that you want to know the exact function and description that K&L/et-alia assigned to your ladle, but I can’t provide that. I have previously stated that the bowl is suitable only for something very liquid, and that the stem is too short for it to be a punch ladle. Because of its size, I think this piece could be a gravy ladle, but it would be a messy one, because the gravy would run over the sides. That bowl is curiously shaped!!! Anyway, I can only offer suggestions for you to follow up on, as you may choose. If it were my ladle, I’d do all of the following.

    1.) You could locate someone who specializes in the sale of antique flatware and ask their opinion on the function and 'name' of your ladle, knowing that they might just have to make an intelligent guess about it, as we have.

    2.) You could order both articles from the “Silver Magazine” that I’ve identified above. See the link to the online back-issues ordering page I’ve provided below.

    3.) You could enter an appropriate advanced search string in eBay and then select both the ‘save this search’ and the ‘email me when like objects are listed’ options. Sooner or later, one such ladle might appear on eBay. I think that you’d likely have to wait ‘forever’ for such an occurrence, and there’s no guarantee that the person listing his own ladle would know any more about it than you do now. How about something like this for an appropriate search string: “antique Knowles Ladd silver ladle Queen pattern”? I recommend that you omit the “&” symbol in your eBay search string.

    Let’s now consider some observations and statements that Hayes makes or that I make from Hayes' observations/statements.

    1.) Hayes states that Knowles & Ladd “only very infrequently” put their maker’s mark on their silver pieces.

    2.) My own inferences from some of Hayes’ reasoning/reporting: If you find a silver item in a distinctive/"proprietary" pattern that you know was made by a K&L/et-alia firm, and it is marked with a jewelers’ mark but no maker’s mark, don’t assume that the jeweler has made the piece. Likely, he only marked it for resale, or had it marked for his resale. It is possible that some unscrupulous person at one time produced knock-off of a/some proprietary pattern/s, but it is not something that one would often see, I think, and I wouldn't worry about it. There is no reason whatsoever to think that your ladle is a knock-off/fake.

    However, there remains the problem of ‘common’ or ‘standard’ patterns. Not all patterns that K&L/et-alia produced were 'distinctive' or 'proprietary'! Indeed, some patterns are so common among the various silversmith firms that Turner calls them “Standard Patterns”, and he identifies 16 such patterns on p.85 of the first edition of his book. (To keep this from getting even more confusing than it already is, let me list some examples of Turner's “standard patterns”: “Fiddle Tip”, “Threaded Oval”, “English”, “Shell”, “Kings”.) K&L/et-alia produced some ‘standard patterns’, so you might find a piece known to be in a style that K&L/et-alia produced, and it might have no K&L/et-alia hallmark but might have just a jeweler’s mark, and you might think that the jeweler made this piece or ordered it made for his retail when he didn’t. Again, you won’t have to worry about this since your pattern is so distinctive.

    3.) Hayes has encountered the reproduced trade catalogue (which reproduction might well be just a small sample from the original) and states that your pattern was introduced in 1870. He gives no date for the termination of the pattern’s production. He does indicate in his article, however, that some K&L/et-alia proprietary pieces appear marked “COIN” and some “STERLING”. FYI, I have seen many “Queen” pieces marked “COIN” in the last two days, and perhaps only one marked “STERLING”. I have found very few Queen pieces with a K&L/et-alia maker’s mark! Now, Gorham changed from coin to the sterling standard in 1868. Hayes does not know when K&L/et-alia changed to the sterling standard. He does state that K&L/et-alia continued to produce coin pieces after 1868.

    Now for the link to “silvermag.com” - which is “Silver Magazine’s” online site, so that you can order back-issues/copies of the two recommended articles:


    Now for a final statement of my own. I think it that the box might well be original to the ladle, but I don’t see how we could establish it as very likely or probable unless you find both a jeweler’s mark on the ladle and a corresponding jeweler’s label affixed to the box. I would keep the box and the ladle together.

    I think that my work on this show and tell item is now complete. I can’t go any further on this. If I get any more new information from queries I have already launched, I will post it. Your ladle is a treasure, and I am so glad that you have it. Thank you very much for your kind assistance and most generous comments.
    Finally, if you do take a photo of any jewelers’ labels in your boxes, please email it/them to the person who published the online guide to American Silversmiths on ancestry.com. His name is William Erik Voss, and his email is bellafortuni@earthlink.net. I think that he’d be thrilled to get those label photos. He has created a great work here, and although it was published on 16 Sept. 2012 – just 7 days ago – it is already in the Library of Congress. So, I think that it’s important to contribute to this great database of his. Thank you! miKKo

  21. MikeR, 3 years ago
    Baptismal ladle

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