Post-Revolutionary War to Civil War
USS Constitution "Old Ironsides" Silver Table Spoon
c. 1825-30, USS Constitution “Old Ironsides” Related, Decorative Large Silver Table Spoon, “CONSTITUTION” Above a Federal Eagle, with Hallmark of Robert and William Wilson of Philadelphia, Choice Extremely Fine.
This original large handsome Decorative and Hallmarked American Silver Table Spoon measures about 9.25” long, with the bowl measuring 1.75” wide and 3.25” long with a Federal Eagle design .75” tall on the face side of the “Fiddle” handle end below the word “CONSTITUTION”.
The American Silver maker identified to his punch hallmark: “R & W W” is Robert and William Wilson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To our best knowledge this spoon was made circa 1825-30. It is extremely clean bright silver in color having been well preserved. It shows light actual wear from use, extremely impressive in appearance and there are no defects.
Robert and William Wilson (Robert&Williamwilson) were well known and highly regarded for their excellent workmanship. They were Silver Manufacturers (c. 1825-1846). This pattern’s Status is “Discontinued” shown as being circa 1825. The style of Pattern: R2W4 (COIN) by ROBERT & WILLIAM WILSON, with the official description listed as: COIN SILVER, PA, 1825, with FIDDLE, WINGS.
Provenance: Estate of Helen Coolidge Woodring, daughter of Marcus A Coolidge (Senator, Mass.), and wife of Harry H. Woodring (former Governor of Kansas and Secretary of War (1936-40) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to the present owner. This important American Heraldic Eagle with the text "CONSTITUTION" displayed above is a major design type was the only example as part of a group of four spoons previously sold, three of the spoons have the Eagle but lack the name “CONSTITUTION” yet had the Engraved Fancy Script Initials "I H" being made for Isaac Hull. This current spoon being the only example with the name "CONSTITUTION" above the Eagle design and having been offered together in the lot of four previously. The most recent appearance of this historic USS Constitution silver spoon was offered in our November 20, 2015 EAHA Auction Lot 93, which sold for a total of $1,970.
This cataloger wishes to acknowledge and thank the fine experts at the USS Constitution Museum, Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts. According to the curators at that museum, the example of Silverware from Isaac Hull in their museum collection has a much different design and is slightly smaller, being made from the hand of Baldwin Gardiner, c. 1830. Their spoon displays a chest up portrait of a dog, within a wreath of laurels. The USS Constitution museum itself holds no examples of this current design.
The USS Constitution is one of the First Frigates built for the United States Navy. Launched in 1797, it was 204 ft (62 m) long and usually carried more than 50 guns and a crew of over 450. It was the successful flagship of the Tripolitan War (1801–05), and in the War of 1812 it vanquished the British frigate Guerrière; tradition holds that it was nicknamed by sailors who saw the British shot failing to penetrate its oak sides. It was condemned as unseaworthy in 1828, but Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem “Old Ironsides” sparked a public preservation campaign. Restored in 1927–31, it is now berthed in Boston and open to the public.The U.S.S. Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy and is still on display in Boston Harbor.
The USS Constitution Museum is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, which is part of the Boston National Historical Park in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The museum is situated near the ship USS Constitution at the end of Boston's Freedom Trail. The museum is housed in a restored shipyard building at the foot of Pier 2.
The museum, through its collections and interactive exhibits, tells the story of Constitution ("Old Ironsides") and the people who designed, built, and sailed her. The museum is also home to the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library and includes a comprehensive archival repository of records related to the ship's history. The USS Constitution Museum is a private, non-profit organization that is managed separately from the naval ship.