An extremely rare silver spoon made by Aberdeen silversmith William Lindsay around 1695 and bearing the name “Achnagat” on the handle, is expected to be of huge interest when it is offered at auction next week with an estimated value of between £10-£15,000.
The William and Mary Scottish provincial silver Lace-back Trefid spoon is the earliest example of its kind known to exist.
It is thought that the spoon was a one-off and it is likely that it may have been commissioned by a local family in the Achnagat - old spelling of Auchnagatt - area.
It has been held in a number of important collections over the years but returned to its origins in 2012 when it was on loan to Aberdeen Art Gallery as an exhibit in “Silver, The Aberdeen Story”. The four-month exhibition included more than 200 objects and showcased the skills and flair of city silver and goldsmiths, featuring some of the earliest known works up to the time of exhibition.
Measuring 19.7cm or just under 8in long, the single spoon is one of the most valuable items being offered by Woolley & Wallis in their Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu auction at their Salisbury Salerooms on Tuesday, October 30. It also features on the front cover of the auction’s 192-page catalogue.
“Early Scottish spoons have not survived in great numbers so when they come on the market they are greatly sought after by collectors,” said Rupert Slingsby, associate director and silver specialist at Woolley & Wallis.
“Lot 901 is an important Scottish spoon, not only to Aberdeen and the surrounding area, but to the history of Scottish spoons. It is the earliest Lace-back Aberdeen Trefid spoon known to exist and it is in fantastic condition. Its rarity, condition and provenance has resulted in it achieving great auction interest and we’re expecting it to sell very well.
“We have a number of collectors who specialise in Scottish provincial silver and this would be a great item for their collection. It will also appeal to general Scottish buyers and to early spoon collectors who concentrate on both Scottish and English spoons.”
Trefid relates to the style of the spoon and lace-back, influenced by the decoration of lace work, refers to the décor on the back of the bowl. Introduced to Britain in the mid-1600s, Trefid spoons would be carried by the owner wherever they went and used by them when they ate away from home.
A second Aberdeen Trefid spoon, made by Alexander Galloway around 1690, will also be offered at auction with an estimated sale price of £5,000-£7,000. Although slightly older, it is less rare and is one of three similar spoons known.