I Wasn’t Born with a Silver Spoon in my Mouth…

by admin

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but luckily I found one today. Old warehouses are one of my favorite places to find hidden gems. They’re usually dusty, bleak and unassuming—those are the best kind. While searching for items for the shop, I came across this treasure in a chest—a silverware chest that is. This was the only item in it. I immediately grasped it, ran my fingers across it’s minimally rough exterior…I knew it was something special. It’s aged surface, speckled with slight indentations of varying sizes and naturally occurring patina, spoke to me in a way that I couldn’t describe.  I wondered what it’s story was, if it had a story. I took a closer look. I discovered the word GOMBAULT hammered into the surface of the handle along with the letter G topped off with a crown. There was also another word, so microscopic that I couldn’t decipher it, hammered into the bowl of the spoon. Naturally, I had to do a little research.

According to ASCS, (the Association of Small Collector’s of Antique Silver), Gombault was founded in 1826 and was one of the oldest French silverplate companies.  This foundry was a pioneer in the silverplating process and even created it’s own “Gombault metal (a base metal for silver plating, i.e, a kind of nickel silver), which is a nickel-copper alloy with small additions of zinc, iron and tin.” The inscription “Gombault” was used until 1931. The company produced many successful products and often partnered with the Desclercs company, another French silversmith foundry. In many instances, these two companies were often mentioned as one body, the Maison-Desclercs company. Sadly this marriage lasted until 1866 when the company folded and merged with the Veuve Charles Halphen company.

What an interesting history and an amazing find. This particular piece is believed to be dated circa 1870-1931. Unfortunately, I still can’t interpret the word inscribed into the bowl of the spoon. I wish I could tell you more about it… about where it’s been, about who held it, and how it made it’s way into a dusty, bleak and unassuming old warehouse. Maybe some stories are better left untold. I’d like to think of it as a mystery in a box. And that my friends is a very delightful thing.

Watch out for this, and other very delightful things coming soon to my ebaystore.