Return to Sweet Necessi-Teas

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Apostle Spoon and Tong Set

I was at an estate sale this week and ran across this boxed set of demi-spoons and sugar tongs. The label said "Apostle Spoon and Tong Set." I am always looking for something unusual for my customers and this set peaked my curiosity. I had never heard of Apostle Spoons, so I removed one carefully from its vintage box to examine it more closely. The handle ended with a figure of a robed man. Hmmm. Looking for more clues, I turned it over to see what marks it bore. The handle was stamped "England" and the bowl of each spoon had an E and P stamped (also on the tongs). I was intrigued, so I bought the set.

When I got home I did a bit of internet research. Here's what I found:

"APOSTLE SPOONS, a set of spoons, usually of silver or silver gilt, with the handles terminating in figures of the apostles, each bearing their distinctive emblem. They were common baptismal gifts during the 15th and 16th centuries, but were dying out by 1666. Often single spoons were given, bearing the figure of the patron or name saint of the child. Sets of the twelve apostles are not common, and complete sets of thirteen, with the figure of our Lord on a larger spoon, are still rarer."

These are obviously not the rare spoons as described above. There are only 6 and are all alike with no specific emblem. However, I also found out that there was a resurgence of interest in Apostle Spoons in the 19th century and into the early to mid-20th century. This set was a result of that renewed interest. The stamps E and P stand for ElectroPlate (silverplate over brass most likely). They were made in the early to mid 20th century. The colors and patterns on the box lid suggest pre-1950. Since the set includes a sugar tong, it was most likely sold to be used for tea time--perhaps to be used in connection with baptism celebrations.

The set is in good condition--some slight wear and tarnishing. Even though they had a bit of wear and are not in mint condition, I just thought the set would make a great conversation starter. It would also make a great addition to someone's spoon collection (Christmas is coming!). I really love that the set is complete and in its original box!

Purchase here:

No comments: