Easily one of the finest salt spoons I've seen; and there are two of them. The decoration is superb and unique. On the upper side, the handles terminate in a mascaron framed by two flaming torches, under a star, on a very finely textured ground. The flaming torch is a symbol of hope, enlightenment and freedom. Pointed upwards, as the torches on these spoons are, the flaming torch symbolizes life, truth and the regenerative power of fire. Is the mascaron a champion, an angel, an athlete or God? I am unfamiliar with this one; so any information is welcome. An impressive palmetto with flowers at either end climbs the mid point of the handle. This also forms a cartouche with a fine textured ground. The other side of the spoon is also richly decorated with a floral and shell confection. There is clearly a spot for a monogram; and there is no monogram on these spoons. The bowls are gold washed. Yet another remarkable feature is the size of these spoons. I've included a photo with this spoon set next to a couple of other salt spoons. The length is 4 3/8"; large enough for serving condiments.
The marks include the Diana Head hallmark in use in Austria from 1867-1872. Rather useful in dating the piece. This mark went on after 1872 to include a city letter. The number three can be found on the lower left portion of the mark; the guarantee for .800 parts silver. There is a maker's punch that is pretty well worn. On one spoon the initials CK may be clearly made out; and that there is an initial ahead of the C. It is very tempting to compare the mark to that of Josef Carl Klinkosch, Imperial Silversmith to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Please see photos of both marks below. Certainly the quality and uniqueness of these spoons would be consistent with the work of perhaps the finest Austrian master-smith of the late 1800's. Finally, both spoons bear a French guarantee for silver pieces imported into France, A Swan punch, indicating import into France after 1893. I was quite surprised to learn early on in my antique sterling ventures that the guarantee marks cost a pretty penny to be punched on silver objects; both in country and imported into country. So someone paid to have the swan marks placed on these salt spoons!
Other dimensions: as noted, the spoons are 4 7/8" long. They are nearly 1" at the widest point; and each weighs 15 grams.
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