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Rare spoon fetches £6,000

PUBLISHED: 12:27 19 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

A RARE silver spoon, made in East Anglian almost 400 years ago, has been sold for more than £6,000.

The 17th Century spoon was sold at a Bonhams auction at the Athenaeum, in Bury St Edmunds, and fetched £6,345 - more than four times the original estimate of £1,500.

A RARE silver spoon, made in East Anglian almost 400 years ago, has been sold for more than £6,000.

The 17th Century spoon was sold at a Bonhams auction at the Athenaeum, in Bury St Edmunds, and fetched £6,345 – more than four times the original estimate of £1,500.

The spoon, which was made in Norwich, more than 375 years ago, was sold after being recently discovered in a house in the city.

The spoon, which was sold as part of the two-day sale, is rare as, unlike Sheffield, Chester, Birmingham and London, Norwich was only a significant centre for silver for a short period, from the mid 16th century to the turn of the 17th century.

Bonhams' regional silver specialist, Jane Thompson, said: "Norwich silver is very rare and much sought after by collectors.

"We know the date that the spoon was made, 1627, but sadly the maker's mark is too worn to read. However, from the style of the design, we believe that it may have been made by Timothy Skottowe, who worked as a silversmith in Norwich during the period in question," she said.

Skottowe was a relatively prolific maker, producing both secular and church silver and the Mayor of Norwich eventually appointed him as a Warden of the Norwich Goldsmith Company, an institution which regulated other makers to ensure that strict codes were observed.

Silvermaking in Norwich came to a virtual standstill in 1642, following the outbreak of the Civil War, due in part to severe internal divides.

The Mayor was a supporter of the King but the majority of the other city fathers were Parliamentarians.

Explaining why the spoon in Bonhams' sale had survived for so long, Jane Thompson said: "The expression to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth is derived from early history when the use of eating utensils was sparse.

"Most people would carry a wooden spoon with them wherever they travelled, so those who owned a silver spoon were both wealthy and cultivated. From early medieval times onwards, a silver spoon would have been among a person's most treasured possessions."

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