News & Insights

A Focus on Spoons

28th July 2023. By Jeffrey Lassaline

Spoons are amongst the earliest examples of domestic silver which appear on the market. Unfortunately, many of the larger items of silver which were produced before the middle of the 17th century were melted down during the English Civil War but luckily many examples of spoons survived.

The upcoming Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on 16th September includes an interesting assortment of spoons, both Pre- and Post-Civil War.


An Elizabeth I Silver Seal-Top Spoon, Maker's Mark a Mullet Over and Annulet, London, 1578,

Estimate: £400-600 plus buyer’s premium


The earliest example on offer is a seal-top spoon which is hallmarked for London, 1578. The earliest seal-top spoons which can be definitively dated are from the early 16th century. They were presumably so named as it was believed that the engraving on the top of such spoons could be used to seal a letter, however, no example is known with the engraving reversed as would be necessary for them to be used for this purpose.

Another interesting group of spoons, dating to after the Civil War, have been consigned by a local vendor and were all made in the last years of the 17th century. Included in this group are three Trefid spoons, so called as the top of this type of spoon divides into three sections with two notches on each side. Each of these was made in the West Country with two marked for Taunton and the third made in Exeter.



A Charles II West Country Silver Trefid Spoon, probably by Richard Hamlin, Taunton, Dated 1683

Estimate: £400-600 plus buyer’s premium


One of the Taunton spoons was made by Richard Hamlin, who is recorded as an important spoon maker. He is also known to have made the church plate for the parishes of Otterhampton and Stocklynch in Somerset. He would seem to have used different marks, including the distinctive RH in a shield and above two pellets and an annulet as on the present spoon.  

Over the years Tennants have had the privilege of selling a number of interesting early spoons.

Past highlights include:


A James I Parcel-Gilt Silver Apostle Spoon by Daniel Cary, London, 1622

Sold for £4,000 plus buyer’s premium



A Charles II Provincial Silver Puritan Spoon, by Rowland Kirkby, York, circa 1670

Sold for £3,800 plus buyer’s premium



An Elizabethan Silver Apostle Spoon, Thomas Waddie, York, circa 1585-1600

Sold for £7,500 plus buyer’s premium



 A Rare Henry VII Parcel-Gilt Silver Apostle-Spoon, Maker's Mark Indistinct, London, 1508

Sold for £20,000 plus buyer’s premium



A Fine James I Provincial Silver Seal Top Spoon, William Frost, York 1610

Sold for £7,500 plus buyer’s premium



To learn more about buying or selling Silver at Tennants, please contact the Silver Department

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