Great 18th C. Birdback Tspn, Samuel Krause of Bethlehem
An exceptionally well-preserved example of a very early 19th century American coin silver birdback spoon, in excellent condition. This particular bird back is by John (Johann) Samuel Krause (1782-1815), who spent the majority of his short life and career working in Bethlehem, PA, where this teaspoon was likely made. Krause, who went by the name Samuel judging from his known marks, is first recorded in Bethlehem around 1797, when apprenticed to John George Weiss. Krause then spent a brief period between 1803 and 1805 further perfecting his skills and transitioning to independent business. He moved back to Bethlehem around 1804-05 and was active there until his untimely death in 1815, having had three apprentices during this time.
This spoon is marked twice with a maker's mark of S*K in a rectangle, which is mark (b) in Belden. The marks are clear and crisp. The spoon also bears a well-executed period script monogram of 'WB'. The die-struck eagle bird back decoration is extremely well preserved and photographs do not do it complete justice. Condition on this spoon is excellent overall; there is modest surface wear and a few small scratches, but no dents, splits or repairs. This piece measures a little under 6 1/8 inches in length and weighs 16 grams. It is a rare and lovely example of early Pennsylvania coin silver!