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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5593
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I have what might be an old tea spoon, not silver but

Customer Question

I have what might be an old tea spoon, not silver but outside finish was gold & due to use, underneath is is black. Long stem is long with round concave bowl.
Mark on backside, +W.R. There is a 3rd make which maybe letter U or a symbol. Please advise.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 10 months ago.

Hi Donna,

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your spoon.

Thanks for the photo of the mark. Could you very kindly add one of the whole spoon too.

You can add as many images as you wish, there's no extra charge.

Also, how long is it?

Many thanks,


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
8". Not sure you got photo.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 10 months ago.

Got the photo! Perfect. Thanks so much, that's all I needed to see.

Leave this with me and I'll have a full answer for you as soon as I can.

Best wishes,

Expert:  Robert S. replied 10 months ago.

Hi Donna,

At eight inches long and with this distinctive bowl shape, I would call this an iced tea, or mint julep spoon, for stirring and sipping those wonderful porch 'sun-downers', preferably with the addition of a large dash of "mother's ruin" (aka, gin).

You are right, this is not sterling silver, but silverplate, a thin coating of silver applied by electrolysis over a base metal called Britannia metal, an alloy of zinc and copper with nickel added to make it silvery. For some reason, the silver coating tarnishes this odd yellow color (as well as the traditional black) when it's applied to Britannia metal.

It's quite easy to clean up with regular silver polish, or better still, by using the baking soda and aluminum foil method, which I highly recommend for all silverplate. This seemingly magic trick of kitchen chemistry actually converts the black silver tarnish back into pure silver again, rather than wiping it away as regular silver polish does.

The mark is one of the many used by the ***** ***** Silver company, when they styled themselves, "Wm A Rogers Ltd", which they did from 1894 - 1929 when they were headquartered in Ontario, Canada. During this time span, they purchased US silver manufacturers in Niagara Falls, NY and Northampton, MA. so they manufactured and distributed silverplate flatware throughout North America.

After 1929 they became part of Oneida Silver.

This mark of a +W.R. and the outline of a little vase (yes it does look like a U. Here's a slightly clearer example of it ) was used from 1894 to the 1920s, so your spoon could well be 100 years old or older.

Sadly, even though it's antique and rare, there isn't yet enough collector interest in early 20th century silverplated flatware to create much of a premium in prices.

This example of your spoon (the bottom one) sold on line (eBay) recently along with three others for a mere $10, but this is about right. If you saw it for sale in retail setting, in an antique store, say, it would have a price of about $8 - $12 on it.

I do hope this helps!

Please let me know if you would like me to explain or expand on any of the above, I would be glad to.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for checking on the spoon. I may call on y'all again.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 10 months ago.

You're welcome, and by all means please ask for me again, if need be. Just start a new question and put my name "For Robert S..." in the subject line and it will be sure to get to me.

Best wishes,