N. Harding & Co. "Fiddle Tipt" Coin Shell Bowl Spoon
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Marked "N. Harding & Co." for the prominent Boston and Haverhill, Massachusetts silversmith, this coin silver spoon measures 6 3/8" long and weighs .8 T. oz. It feels more substantial than the weight would indicate.
Suggested dates for this mark are 1851-59, and the "Fiddle Tipt" design would imply the early end of that range. It may be a large sugar or small preserve spoon. There is a feathered script "EGE" monogram on the backside of the handle.
For the most part, this is not to be distinguished from countless other pieces of the period. Two aspects of the piece, however, offer individuality. One is the broad, finely ribbed form of the bowl. This is more its own design than other shell bowls of the time. Secondly, and this subtle, are the slight traces of gold wash that remain in the bowl. This would be early for such embellishment in a Boston area piece, where the local tastes seemed to tend toward the sparse.
The condition is very good. The overall form is free of bends, burrs, or dents. There is light polishing wear, which largely shows on the monogram. There is a 1/16" fissure on the edge of the bowl (visible on the right side of bowl in the composite image). This is common on older pieces at stress points and where the metal is thin. It is inconsequential in regard to the integrity of the piece.