Bethlehem Coin Silver Teaspoon by John Matthew Miksh (Micksch)
Offered is a good early American coin silver teaspoon by John Matthew Miksh or Micksh of Bethlehem, PA. This piece is a little over 5 3/4 inches in length, and weighs about 14 grams. This spoon has a good clear mark and a well-executed period script monogram, as well as an early script engraved mono to the reverse. Condition is fair overall, though the bowl has two small splits (pictured) and is somewhat out of round. All in all a nice piece with a great maker's mark! Biographical information for Mr. Miksh includes the following: John Matthew Miksh was born in the Moravian settlement of
Christiansbrunn (Christian Spring) on December 7, 1798. His parents later moved to Nazareth, where they died. John Matthew's father, Paul Miksch "for many years held the position of Warden of that Moravian Settlement." John Matthew was baptized the same year as his birth, and "at the proper age attended school at Nazareth Hall." Upon completing his studies he and two other pupils, Jedediah Weiss and Charles F. Beckel
were apprenticed to John Samuel Krause to learn the clock and watchmaking business. The three apprentices lodged together, and after the death of Mr. Krause, Jedediah Weiss started in business and employed John
Matthew Miksch. Later, John Matthew started his own business, in the "old four story building on main street known as the Nursery' in the old Moravian days." This building was later razed to provide a space for the Moravian publication building on the
same site. He married Lisetta Dixon of Emaus, and they had two children, who survived him. On March 29, 1832 he married Caroline Juliann Vierling, daughter of Dr. Vierling of Salem, NC. About this time John Matthew needed a bigger place for his
business, and moved to the corner of Broad and Main Street, erecting a building on the vacant lot "above the old Sun Inn." When his age would not allow him to continue, one of his employees, Edward Erwin, took over the business. Mr. Erwin had served for over
twenty years under John Matthew. John Matthew's (second) wife died March 12, 1879.
John Matthew "took a great interest in the town," served as a director of "The Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen," and served on the board
of the Beneficial Society. After Bethlehem was incorporated in 1845 he served on the first town council. He also served on the finance committee and was greatly respected as a debater and "his straight-forwardness in speech and soundness of argument, and his advice and counsel were frequently sought." He helped name the streets and alleys of
Bethlehem Borough. In served a total of three years as chief burgess. He took an active interest in politics, and belonged to the Whig party and later with the Democratic party. He was also an original member of
the Bethlehem Band. A death notice appeared in the Bethlehem newspaper, 7/29/1882, with an obituary dated 7/31/1882 and an
article dated 8/21882 about his funeral. Death occurred on 7/28/1882. He was "one of our oldest and most esteemed citizens," age 84. "Death was not unexpected, as he had been suffering with the infirmities of old age for some time." Death occurred at his home, on Wall Street.