Here is gorgeous piece of vintage Sanborn's sterling silver. This pretty sugar spoon or "sugar shell" has incredible substance.
Vintage sterling tableware is over-the-top collectable right now, and this dazzling little spoon gives you the best of both worlds: elegant old-world design paired with the bold, Mexican silver tradition.
Walter Sanborn, a licensed American pharmacist established the Farmacía América in Mexico City in 1898. He would later be joined by his brother, Frank, and together they would found Sanborn Hermanos.
The business became wildly successful for waiving the 15% commission typically collected by Mexican doctors on every prescription, as well as setting up the city's first quick bicycle delivery service.
Not content to just simply a pharmacy, Frank and Walter began importing ice cream and eventually cattle, thereby becoming the father's of Mexico's modern dairy industry.
In the early 1920s, the Sanborn's interests would turn to silver. The brother helped stimulate trade by using local workmen to fashion silver in their own designs. Ten years later Sanborn's was the largest silver shop in all of Mexico.
Sugar spoons like this one were often molded into the shape of seashells, thus garnering the nickname "sugar shells".
The bowl of this spoon is quite hefty and bears a really interesting texture.
Some of this texture comes from scratching obtained from years of use, but oftentimes, these imperfections give classic sterling pieces great dimension and character.
The tip of the handle is stamped with a simple scallop which complements the bowl nicely.
You will find Sanborn's typical 3-owl hallmark on the underside of the handle. This is accompanied by the words "Sanborns Mexico Sterling".
Though there is a fair amount of surface scratching on the piece, this spoon confers a great sense of elegance and substance.
It shows very little oxidization and remains in very good vintage condition overall.
Measurements: 4 ½" long, Handle is 1/8"-5/8" wide and 2mm thick, Bowl of spoon is 1 ¾" long, 1 ¾" wide and ½" deep Weight: 38.6 grams (1.36 oz)