The old adage, “born with a silver spoon in their mouth,” implies someone was born into a wealthy family. For a certain time in history, silver spoons were rare and only used by those that could afford them. Today, anyone can own an antique silver spoon. Keep reading to get the full scoop on all things antique spoons!
A “Teaspoon Sized” History of Spoons
Historians cannot pinpoint the exact era or group that invented or first spoons. Some type of spoon form has been found for nearly all ancient, civilized people groups. Archeologists have found spoons in Egypt dating back to 1000 BC, which were strictly used by Pharaohs and made of stone, ivory, flint, and wood. Ancient Greeks and Romans were the first peoples to start fashioning spoons out of bronze and silver.
In the western world, spoons were the only utensil at the table until the mid-19th century. Knives were typically shared among several people. Spoons were not only practically used; they were used for coronations in medieval times, given as christening gifts, and seen as a symbol of socioeconomic status.
In the mid-1800s, spoons became much more accessible and commonplace due to electroplating, which helped flatware be produced with a lot less silver. Spoons have had many iterations and designs over the years, which makes collecting antique spoons even more thrilling!
When Did People Start Collecting Antique spoons?
Antique silver spoon collection really started to take off with souvenir spoons. In Europe, spoons had been used to commemorate births and other special occasions for ages. Catching onto this trend, many wealthy Americans started collecting unique silver spoons during their travels to Europe.
In the late 1800s, the first souvenir spoon in America was made. Souvenir spoons continued to be made for events, cities, and countries. Due to their small size, souvenir spoons were easy and convenient to collect. Souvenir spoon creation tapered off with World War II.
Collect Souvenir Spoons
You don’t have to start your collection with antique spoons, you can begin with collectible spoons. There are many petite souvenir spoons, easily find them at America’s Antique Mall Showcases. Collectible spoons have a unique flair that makes them a fun addition to your utensils, some are available for as little as $5.
How Do I Know If a Spoon is Antique and Valuable?
The first thing to note is that for a spoon to be antique, it needs to be at least 100 years old. A marker of a valuable antique silver spoon is looking for signs it was handmade, which can usually be observed by lack of uniformity, tool marks, unique details, and a silver smith’s hallmark.
An antique spoon’s rarity and value can also be determined by its design and pattern. It is important to take time to look at the patterns on antique silver spoons and research or ask an antique expert to know if the antique spoon design is one-of-a-kind.
Serving spoons can also be a rare and valuable type of antique silver spoon. The Victorian era produced every spoon imaginable, and serving spoons were typically not a part of a set, making them stand-alone, which increases their value.
5 Rare Antique Silver Serving Spoons
Popular Antique Silver Spoons
Sterling silver spoon
Coin silver spoon
Sheffield plate spoon
Antique Sterling Silver Spoons
Sterling silver antique spoons are popular to collect because they are rare and beautiful. Sterling silver is a precious metal that is a mix of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Many collectors enjoy finding different types of antique sterling silver spoons, like serving spoons, jam spoons, or basting spoons.
Unique Coin Silver Spoons
Coin silver spoons hold a lot of history and creativity. As the name describes, these antique spoons were hand-crafted from silver coins.
These antique silver spoons were first created by colonists settling in North America who were avoiding all things British. Not wanting to waste precious metal but also not wanting to use European coins, silversmiths melted them down into something useful!
Beautiful Gold-Plated Spoons
Gold-plated spoons are still silver spoons but are covered with a thin layer of gold. They provide a nice variety to any spoon collector’s repertoire due to their unique look and design. Gold-plated spoons can sometimes be considered more vintage than antique, but what truly matters is if it catches your eye!
Historic Sheffield Plate Spoons
As the name denotes, these antique silver spoons were first crafted in Sheffield, England, in 1742. Sheffield plating is a combination of layered silver and copper. Sheffield plate antique spoons are stunning and highly sought after.
Where Can I Find Antique Silver Spoons?
It’s time to dust off those boxes of heirlooms in the basement! A great way to begin searching for antique silver spoons is within any family dishes/cutlery you may have. You may be surprised at what you can find in the box of dishes you received from your grandmother!
Walking the booths in either America’s Antique Mall locations is a sure bet to find all the antique spoons of your dreams. Not only will you find a great selection of antique silver spoons, but you’ll also be able to connect with antique silver spoon experts, who can help you start your collection or take your existing one to a whole new level!
How To Display Antique Silver Spoons
There are so many creative ways to show off your antique silver spoon collectibles. One option is a beautiful, space-saving wall rack. Hang your wall rack at eye level so everyone can see all the beautiful details of the antique spoons.
If your antique spoon collection is getting large, a glass display case may be the ticket. Display cases keep the dust off your precious antique silver spoons and can be put on a shelf or table. Display cases also offer the option to be locked, so you can rest easy knowing your antique silver spoons are safe and sound.
Preserve your antique silver spoons to the best of your ability with a silverware chest. These chests often have tarnish-resistant flannel linings, which are perfect for the etched or filigree details of antique spoons - which can often be very time-consuming to polish.
Ideas for Using your Spoons
While you can display your antique spoon collection, a shopper at America’s Antique Mall shared with us how she puts her spoons to use. When her grandchildren come to visit, she sets out a handful of spoons from the collection to be used for an ice cream treat! This tradition started when they were little and to do this day, her grandchildren now in high school still get excited to pick their antique spoon for ice cream.
It’s time to start antique spoon hunting and see what treasures you can scoop up. The possibilities are endless in what shapes, sizes, and details you will find in your next antique silver spoon discovery!