I have no idea why I became infatuated with old sterling silver spoons. Perhaps it started when my mother gave me some souvenir spoons that had once belonged to a couple of my great aunts (Edith and Elizabeth). I was a teenager at the time and I don’t remember particularly liking the spoons. I mean they were…spoons. But years later, in my 30s, I spotted a small spoon in an antique store that charmed the socks off of me and I don’t know what possessed me, but I bought it. In the bowl it was engraved with a date for 1891.
And here’s the problem, once you buy ONE of something, it opens the door to buying more of it! And before you know it you have a collection. That’s what happened to me with spoons. Eventually I ended up with 100 or so…now somewhat downsized! Here are a few of my favorites…
The details on these are so exquisite. Years ago, when my girls were little, I used these spoons for our “coffee mornings.” Nowadays I just enjoy looking at them…and buying them to sell. 🙂
Are They Worth Selling?
I am a bit biased but the answer is definitely YES! Most old sterling silver souvenir spoons sell in the $15-70 range. If you can buy them at the right price (usually in a lot) you have the chance for a nice profit. Typically they don’t sell quickly, but there are collectors and they make interesting gifts. (The last spoon I sold was a gift from a daughter to a dad.)
CAUTION: Avoid new, cheaply made, silverplate souvenir spoons. These have very little resell value.
My Souvenir Spoon Checklist
Here’s what I look for in a souvenir spoon:
- Ideally over 100 years old, minimally 50 years
- Sterling silver (.925)
- Maker’s marks present (I research marks on this site.)
- Quality workmanship
- Limited wear
- Pleasing engraving if any
- Popular tourist sites (Niagara Falls, etc.), landmarks or subject matter (Christmas, etc.)
My Recent Buys
I just paid $82 for two lots for a total of 16 spoons. There was no maker information given in the listing (they all happen to be by American silversmiths), but the seller did give the combined weight of the silver in grams which was useful along with clear photos.
I’ve just started researching these spoons and here’s what I’ve got so far.
There are two demitasse 1960s-era Disneyland spoons which I appreciate as anything Disney seems to sell well.
Recently these spoons have sold in the $18-28 range, but most are currently listed much higher on both Etsy and eBay. (These are all the same size and in relatively the same condition.) I decided to list mine for $38 with free shipping which I hope will give me the edge.
There was a Mt. Vernon spoon in the lot with an incredibly detailed scene of Washington’s mansion that includes leaves on trees. Turns out it was made by the Roger Williams Silver Company out of Providence, Rhode Island, which was only in business from 1900-1913.
It’s a quality antique piece by a scarce silvermaker that I’ve priced at $48 with free shipping.
I love this Carmel-by-the Sea spoon featuring the Lone Pine made by E.J. Towle, likely circa 1950s/60s. I have this listed at $34 with free shipping. [SOLD]
This neat Texas spoon (by Mechanics Sterling) is a whooping 29.8 grams of silver with great details. I will list this for $50 with free shipping.
This week I’ll continue to research the spoons and get them in my store, but I hope I’ve whet your appetite for these beauties.
As always, happy hunting,