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Beach dreams scooped away by antique caddy spoon

By JERRY SAMPSON

Personal Effects

Question: OK Jerry, you’ve got to settle this for us. It’s about 3 and a half inches long. I say it’s a baby spoon and my mom thinks its for a jam jar. But my best friend says that it’s for after dinner coffee. It’s marked sterling with a bird symbol. Please tell me it’s worth a lot! I want to hit the beach this summer. Thank you!

Answer: Well, all of you are wrong. What you have is a tea caddy spoon or scoop. It was

used to scoop out loose tea leaves for your tea pot. These were much more common, in a more gentle time. In its very earliest times, tea was an expensive luxury. So expensive that it was kept under lock and key in a tea caddy or box that was dedicated to only tea. At times, there was only one central compartment. Some had compartments for two different tea leaves with a mixing bowl in the middle. Either one or two bowls, makes no difference as the spoon was used to scoop or measure out this costly luxury.

The mark that you sent me is for the Weidlich Sterling Spoon Company. Yes, that bird is their symbol, an owl in fact.

Weidlich was founded in 1915, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were well-known for sterling flatware and hollowware, but were also very respected for their lines of souvenir spoons. In 1952 the dyes and patterns were sold to Web Jewelry MFG Company, now the Web Silver Company. Web has been bought out so many times that it virtually doesn’t exist anymore.

I think that your caddy scoop would date to the early 1900s. It’s open work pattern, or lack thereof, is simple and elegant. It’s not a line pattern, meaning that it wasn’t manufactured for table service. Likely, just small pieces for a tea table.

Sorry, but your beach dreams will have to contend with a bag of play sand, a good book and a cold drink. It would be priced in a nice antiques shop for about $35. Thank you for sharing it with us.