Gorham "Josephine" Coin Silver Fish Slice and Fork
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One of Gorham's earliest line patterns, "Josephine" is a leaf motif that had contemporaneous parallels with designs produced by William Gale and James Watts. This matched fish serving fork and spoon is an exceptionally fine example in the line and reflects the best of the burgeoning capacities of mid 19th century American silver manufacturing.
The fork measures 8 3/4" long and weighs 2.7 T. oz., while the slice measures 11 5/8" and weighs 3.3 T. oz. Both pieces are engraved "Ellen" in script on the fronts, and marked "Patent 1855" and "Coin" on the backsides. The four tine fork has open work in the heel and is extensively engraved on the reverse. The engraving is highly detailed and finely rendered, utilizing a variety of floral, scroll, lattice work and other patterned elements.The blade has a scalloped and upswept upper edge, and has elongated oval and quatrefoil piercings. The surface front has even more elaborated engraving than the back of the fork. This includes a dominant stem with leaves set against an engine turned ground. The truly striking part of all this is the waterside scene etched in an inset area on the blade. This is something of a common motif for the period, but the execution of this work shows exceptional skill. The lines are finely inscribed, with the hills and cliff sides shadowed, and the rendering of the various subjects, including the structure on the promontory, the three sailing craft, and the two human figures, offered in precise detail.
The condition of both pieces is near mint. The engraving remains crisp and without polishing wear. There are no bends, breaks, or repairs. There are light surface scratches consistent with age.