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B. Pitman, New Bedford MA, "Tipt" Pure Coin Silver Shell Bowl Spoon

B. Pitman, New Bedford MA, "Tipt" Pure Coin Silver Shell Bowl Spoon
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A jelly or large sugar spoon, this piece measures 6 3/4" long and weighs .8 T. oz.

It has a "Tipt" handle and a shell-shaped bowl with a deep, flattened, heel, and rounded shoulders.

With a likely 1840s date, it is stamped on the reverse "B. Pitman," "New Bedford," and "Pure Coin," with this last term used largely in New England.

Benjamin Pitman was one of the most recognizable names among 19th century silversmiths in a city made prosperous in this period from the proceeds of the whaling trade, and he likely enjoyed patronage from the established families of the area.

In that regard, this is inscribed "Topham" set sideways on the handle.

While the particular Topham cannot definitively be ascribed to this, a strong possibility is identified in an engaging online New Bedford historical guide.

Regarding the namesake for "Topham Street," this source offers,

The first Tophams in New Bedford are direct descendants of Mayflower pilgrims John Rogers, Thomas Rogers and John Alden.

These descendants spread out over Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Newport, Newburyport, and other parts of New England. The first one to turn up in New Bedford is Robert Carter Topham (1815-1889), born in Newport Rhode Island. His connection with the Pecks from the Mayflower are via his mother Mary Richmond Peck 1787-1822). He married Bathsheba Barton (1815-1892) on June 10, 1838. Robert Carter Topham made his fortune supplying the city with lumber.

In excellent condition, showing no wear or damage other than light surface scratches consistent with age, this piece has the added enhancement of enlivening a specific fragment of the past and conveying it into present time.

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