Antique Dutch Silver

17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York

17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York

17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York    17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York
This Dutch Colonial memento mori spoon and fork set is not quite unique -- there is one similar example in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It was specially commissioned in 1672 to commemorate the passing of Sara'Lewes' (memento mori means,'remember, you must die'). This spoon and fork set has been the subject of a massive research effort and has been published on multiple occasions. Stephan Welz illustrated the set in his classic book Cape Silver and Silversmiths Cape Town, A. A, Balkema, 1976, and speculates that this cutlery is the oldest surviving silver from the Cape of Good Hope (present day South Africa). The set is unmarked, which is not uncommon for early silver originating in the Dutch colonies. The main clues as to its origins therefore lie in what it is (while memento mori spoons are a commonplace in the Netherlands during this period, memento mori spoon and fork sets are completely unknown); and in the engraved inscription,'Sara Lewes objit 7 Juny 1672'.

The comparable set in the Riksmuseum dates to 1671, is similarly engraved, and is hallmarked for Batavia in the Dutch East Indies. Regarding the inscription: the Sara Lewes set has been investigated by leading Dutch experts, who also undertook geneological research in the city archives of Leeuwarden. Their opinion is that Sara'Lewes' is in fact Sara'Lieuwes', born in Leeuwarden, Friesland, in 1643, and the sister of Sytske Lieuwes. Sytske emigrated to New Amsterdam with her husband in 1662; and it is believed that upon Sara's death in 1672, or shortly thereafter, she commissioned this set. To commemorate her sister's death.

If this is correct that makes the fork in this set -- wait for it -- the earliest surviving silver fork from the present day United States. This evidence has been exhaustively catalogued in a 10,000 word journal article published at University College, London, in 2012. I'm happy to send a PDF of the article to serious inquirers. Because this set was more commemorative than intended for practical use, the condition is close to pristine. At some point the shaft of the fork was neatly broken in two.

There is an old solder repair to this break that is invisible to the naked eye. The item "17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York" is in sale since Monday, May 27, 2019. This item is in the category "Antiques\Silver\Solid Silver\Other Solid Silver". The seller is "heartoftheworld99_8" and is located in Glasgow. This item can be shipped worldwide.

  • Product: Spoons
  • Style: Dutch Colonial Auricular
  • Age: Pre-1800
  • Pattern: Auricular style
  • Composition: Silver


17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York    17th century Dutch colonial silver spoon and fork set, possibly made in New York