1891 Earliest Edition Sterling Silver Salem Witch Souvenir Spoon / Berry Fork For Sale
Very rare and historically important, 1891, Halloween motif, Souvenir Spoon type Berry Fork - known to collectors as The Salem Witch Spoon Pattern- widely acknowledged as being the first American Souvenir Spoon Pattern and the Souvenir Spoon that launched the "souvenir spoon craze" in this country. The beautiful, delicate Berry Fork offered here is the pattern of the Salem Witch Spoon which was designed by Salem jeweler Daniel Low and issued a patent in January of 1891. The Berry Fork is among THE very rarest forms of the Salem Witch Spoon and extremely rarer than the usually found tea, coffee and orange spoons of the same pattern.
This beautiful and highly sought after, 1891 Salem Witch Souvenir Berry Fork measures approx. 4 7/8" long and is of a very delicate and fine shape. The handle features an image of a Witch riding a broom, the word "Salem", and three witch pins, of the same shape as those preserved in the Court House, at Salem.
The back of the spoon is marked "Sterling" and carries the mark of the manufacturer - William B. Durgin Co. of Concord, New Hampshire - along with text that reads "D. Low & Co.
The Salem Witch Spoon design has a long and well documented history. The Daniel Low emporium was at 231 Essex Street in Salem, a short walk from the train station. In its day it was one of the most exclusive emporiums selling high-end items like sterling and gold jewelry, cut glass, and posh items that would be seen in the better homes of New England. In 1890 Low's son Seth traveled to Germany where he noticed a number of unique and unusual souvenir spoons for sale. Low was aware that many tourists and descendants visited Salem and he felt they would love to bring home some type of memento. Upon his return home from Germany, Seth Low designed the Salem Witch Spoon for his father Daniel. It used the figure of a witch on the handle as an ornament and trademark. He commissioned Durgin Silversmith to make the first design, a spoon with a witch on the handle. It was an instant success and was quickly followed by many other pieces of sterling which one could use elegantly while serving tea or in ones purse such as a stamp holder. Jewelry was made by other companies showing the same witch logo and was worn by the locals, the descendants, and those who enjoyed wearing a finely crafted piece of jewelry.
Later in 1891 Low created a second design and commissioned Gorham Silver Company to manufacturer it for him. This was a much fancier, cut-out, heavily embossed design featuring the trademark witch but also incorporating a black cat, a new moon and a rope. For some reason, many people think that this second design is what began the entire souvenir craze, because they are unaware of the earlier Durgin design or that the ornate second design outshines the simplicity of the first. The first spoon opened up a feeding frenzy of marketing for towns, states, and countries because the concept was not only novel, but it was practical, and it worked. Small shops by the seaside, large cities, and countries that were part of the European tour all began to make spoons, dishes, and items with depictions of why they were so unique and special. Even companies expanded their advertising ideas and the souvenir spoon became a major marketing success.
This very rare and wonderful, Sterling Silver "Salem Witch" Souvenir Berry Fork is in excellent condition - crisp and beautiful - strongly cast with no significant wear even to the highest spots. We have not cleaned the delicate, three pronged Fork but offer it here in "as found" condition with light age patina (the spoon will certainly shine up beautifully if the buyer wishes to do so).
A very beautiful and historically important, first pattern Daniel Low's Sterling Silver Souvenir Salem Witch Spoon design Berry Fork and a fantastic addition to any collection!!!
Be sure to check out this seller's other sales for a number of other wonderful, Figural Handle, Sterling Silver Souvenir Spoons being offered this week on !!!
A Bit More About the Salem Witch Spoons from Robert M. Wilhelm (Editor Spooners Forum):
"The first of the Salem Witch Souvenir Spoons hit the spoon market on or about October 1st, 1890. Designed by Seth F. Low for his father, Daniel Low, and manufactured by the William B. Durgin Company of Concord, NH, this First Pattern Witch Spoon (Figure 3) was an immediate financial success. On the handle is the figure of a witch, the word "Salem," and three witch pins. Initially three sizes were made: tea spoon ($2.00), coffee spoon ($1.25) and orange spoon with a tear-drop-shaped bowl ($2.25). To market this spoon, Low placed a full-page ad in the Saturday Evening Post. This resulted in orders totaling more than $3,000 from allover the world. Soon additional sterling silver pieces (15 in total) were produced, among which were: sugar spoon, almond scoop, sardine fork, butter spreader and oyster fork.
"So popular and profitable was this first Witch Spoon that Low produced a Second Pattern of the now "famous" Witch Spoon. Manufactured by the Gorham Corporation, the handle of the second pattern featured those things associated with witch- craft delusion in the United States: the place and date, the cat, the broom, the rope, the witch pins, the new moon, and on the finial, the witch herself. The second pattern greatly expanded on the elements of witchcraft by the addition of the cat, the broom and the rope precisely those things being "hyped" at the time as part of the Salem Witch tradition. Once again, Low's entrepreneurial genius was at work as he appealed to those who were "now crazed for souvenir spoons.'" In 1891, Low published a 10-page mail order souvenir catalog (the first of its kind) - thousands of which were distributed throughout the country (this catalog, if one can find it today, is extremely collectible). It was not, however, until January 13, 1892, that Low registered the "Witch" trademark (U.S. Patent No. 18,838). The two "Witch" spoons appealed to the ornate Victorian tastes of the period and many will credit Low's spoons with starting "the spoon craze" which spread from New England to all parts of the country."
Overseasshippping is extra and cost will be quoted at buyers request. Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax.
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Important Notes about Shipping Charges:
The amount quoted for Shipping & Handling is calculated by and is equal to the EXACT amount charged by the Post Office plus a $1.00 "packing fee" - the $1.00 fee is our only compensation for the virgin packing materials we use on all of our professionally packaged boxes as well as our cost for the salaried help that does most of our packing - as I am sure you can see, we make NO profit on the Shipping charges and, in fact, our costs are usually greater than the $1.00 fee. Please contact us if there are any issues regarding the cost of shipping.