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Large Coin Serving Spoon with "Vanderveer" Provenance

Large Coin Serving Spoon with "Vanderveer" Provenance
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$ 80

Many 19th century social conventions seem at odds with current practices. Such is the manner of notating gifts or presentations. The first person of interest in today's world is the recipient, while the second one is the giver; the order is "to" and "from." The 19th century practice was typically the reverse of this, with the giver the more significant figure.

That custom is evidenced by the inscription on this large, 9 3/8" long, 2.1 T. oz., coin silver serving spoon. The front is engraved in elegant script lettering, "Pres[en]t[ed] By J C Vanderveer." with no reference whatsoever to the recipient.

As it happens, J.C. Vanderveer was a prominent citizen of Flatbush, then a town, but now a section of Brooklyn. There are images of his house accessible on the internet. To be sure, there is no corroborating evidence other than the name to verify this was the Vanderveer in question, but the second quarter of the 19th century dating is correct for him, the name is uncommon and the initials are accurate, and the implication of the inscription is that this was a person of standing.

Some inferential evidence about the identity of the recipient may be derived from the maker, Hall and Hewson, whose three part pseudo hallmark appears on the reverse, and the retailer, C. & A.W. Johnson, whose name appears alongside the hallmark. Both of these were from Albany. Given that Albany was a political center, it is reasonable to assume Vanderveer had connections there that he might want to favor, or the association might have been personal.

The piece has a broad, reverse tipt end and a thumb drop on the backside of the bowl. The scale bears noting a second time, as it is unusual. It is substantially larger than a tablespoon, but smaller than a platter spoon.

The condition is excellent. The overall form is flawless, and the finish pleasing. The bowl remains well-shaped and free of tip wear, but does have some nicking in the base. The inscription remains crisp.

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