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Geo. C. Shreve & Co. Unusual Sterling Skimming Spoon with Coin Inserts

Geo. C. Shreve & Co. Unusual Sterling Skimming Spoon with Coin Inserts
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Perhaps unique, this substantial, 10 1/2" long, 4.8 T. oz., spoon or ladle is stamped "Sterling," "San Francisco," and "Geo. C. Shreve & Co.," and likely dates prior to George's death and the subsequent company name change in 1894.

The handle, which must at least part have been hand crafted, is formed into a frame of five circles graduated in size, each of which is fitted with an authentic silver coin.

The coins are, top to bottom, Columbia, 1885; Mexico, 1882; Russia, 1881; Hong Kong, 1875; and Indonesia(?), 1882.

The round bowl is 3 1/4" in diameter and has an open work margin, with a sixth coin, Spain, 1756(?), in the center. This is the largest of all at 1 1/2" in diameter.

Whether this is purely decorative or has some iconographic meaning is unknown, although two possibilities are, one, to represent San Francisco's emerging role as an international city, or two, to associate California's status as a silver producer to the metal in each of these coins.

Presumably the piece is functionally for skimming or straining, such as vegetables or fruit.

In outstanding condition, this is without evident wear, damage, or repairs. It has been hand polished, although the coins themselves were only cleaned enough to remove surface dirt, with no attempt to restore a luster.

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