Collecting Novelty Spoons in America

COLLECTOR SPOONSWhere did Collecting Spoons start? Well, some say spoons collecting started around the 1800s at popular tourist destinations in Europe. Americans might think it started with a young Massachusetts Jeweler around the 1890s. Commemorating, the Salem Witch Hunt Trials.

Witch, excuse the pun, he sold 7,000 spoons in the first year.

After that, another new idea was born in America, the “Souvenir Novelty Spoon Collecting”

Everybody was hooked.

daves-post-time photoSo, where-ever it started first, collecting spoons turned into a fun hobby and, you’d find in every American household — somebody collecting spoons.

Spoon collecting is quite general in the sense that it usually refers to a Souvenir or Novelty Spoons, and is normally associated with traveling.

Every tourist destination in the world has a memorabilia style decorative spoon for sale with the place you visited stamped, autographed, or picture somewhere on the spoon.

Me, I collected stick pins. They’re small, inexpensive and after many years I could look back at all the fond memories of my worldly travels. I could stick them in a small drawer because they took up no room. But even stick-pins are a collector’s item.


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The same goes for Souvenir Novelty Spoons. And like any collector you get caught up in the collecting mode and, you like the rest of us will say, “I don’t have one of them.”

In the end, as a collector you lost the first initial reason for collecting them, just picking up a novelty spoon from where you visited, as a memento.

But now it’s more of a hobby, because —–my bit of wisdom is, if you have any more than three of the same item — you are considered, a Collector.

So now we’re into the nitty-gritty on #collectingspoons other than places you traveled.

This is what you look for through a collector’s eye.

First, you have to appreciate what you’re buying and like what you bought. That’s the number one rule in collecting anything.

The original Salem Witch Hunt spoons that started the whole thing in America can be worth about $100 today. As some believe those very spoons were made until the 1920s, but you can go on the web and buy a mass-produced one with no problem.

 salon spoon

Original Salem Spoon

Salem Witch Hunt spoons were a new idea in America and it commemorated an Historic Event. That’s why I think the original ones are valuable. Some spoons from that same period can bring five times that amount of money.

But most Collector Spoons fall into the $5.oo to $40.oo price range.

But through all intents and purposes, the collector spoons are relatively small, like a teaspoon size. The sole purpose of novelty spoons is ether as a give away to tourist as a memento or sold in tourist shops as commemorating their visit to their area.

Novelty Spoons like the Salem Witch Hunt Spoon.

Value is most dependent on “what’s the spoon about?” the topics, the theme and like anything collectible, rarity.

Collectors also like, mining, military, World’s Fairs, and historic sites.  Special addition spoons with a limited amount being produced and sold are a wanted item.

Collectors like design elements that include: figural, skylines and enameled handles, “they seem to be more of the desirable ones”

Is collecting spoons worth any money? Some people crave for the different varieties and looks of spoons.

Others can’t get into collecting them, maybe Curiosity and Oddities” collecting is more to there liking. (Shrunken Heads per-se´)

Most souvenir spoons are die-stamped tin with silver plating and around the 5 in length. But some of the early Gorham spoons were cast from molten silver or pewter.

Back then, they were worth $3 or so; today, they’re worth a few hundred dollars or more because of the silver content which could be 92.5 percent silver.

Also note, silver is not magnetic. Just in case you’re doing a fast check on a pile of flatware at an auction. Just run your magnet over a box of spoons. If they stick to the magnet, they are just cheaper decorative novelty spoons. “If they don’t stick, it’s worth reinspection.”

But remember in most cases, novelty spoons are designed for just that, which means, they could’ve made thousands and thousands of the same ones.

So rarity might not be at play here.

Most people collect novelty spoons for not the money value, but it’s the enjoyment of showing off your collection and the places they visited on your holiday. Remember, that was the original intent.

One woman in Niagara Falls Canada collects only spoons and proudly displays more than 1,000 of them. But I have to wonder; did she visit all these places?

Novelty Spoon Collecting is a fun and rewarding hobby.

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