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Gorham "Old English" aka "Seal Top" Large Coin Silver Serving Spoon

Gorham "Old English" aka "Seal Top" Large Coin Silver Serving Spoon
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This pattern is identified in the Gorham archives (housed at Brown University and cataloged by scholar Sam Hough) as "Old English." It is commonly referred to, however, as "Seal Top" after the round, flat disk that surmounts the end of the faceted shank, which in turn follows after a traditional "old English" form.

Almost never marked, it frequently goes unrecognized for what it is, namely coin silver produced by the above maker. Wood & Hughes made a nearly identical pattern with the same c. 1860 date, but that company's pieces are invariably marked "W&H" and thereby readily distinguishable from Gorham's.

These two patterns are discussed in the footnote section of Venable's comprehensive work, "Silver in America 1840-1940:A Century of Splendor." In fact, a facsimile of this very spoon appears on the dust jacket and frontispiece of this volume (see illustration 3).

Specifically, this is a large, 9 3/4" long, weighty, 3.0 T. oz., serving spoon.

It is quite a commanding piece. In addition to the singularity of the beaded edge disk, which in this case has an "E.N.T." monogram, the bowl is unique in form. It is generously proportioned, measuring 3 1/2" by 2 1/2" by 3/4" deep. The edge is scalloped while the interior has five, circular, coffered, i.e. sunken, decorative areas. The interior is extensively engraved in a pattern that compliments the shape of the bowl, and both the front and back sides are finished in a lustrous gold wash.

The piece is essentially in mint condition. Apart from a slight flattened spot that shows only on the backside of the bowl where it rests, there are no signs of use. The engraving remains crisp, the gold is intact, and the overall surface is bright.

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