Antique Silver Spoons

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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There are a wide variety of antique silver spoons. Searching through flea markets, estate sales and especially online shops can be very confusing if one doesn't know the differences between all the different types of spoons. Learning that an object is a perfect example of a "5 o'clock teaspoon" doesn't really tell the neophyte collector very much.

Antique Silver Spoons: A Spoonful of Info

Teaspoons are recognizable, and their functions well known. However, "coffee spoons" are smaller than tea spoons. Coffee spoons are also sometimes referred to as "5 o'clock teaspoons," because the cup of tea enjoyed in the afternoon is smaller than that drunk earlier in the day. "After-dinner coffee" spoons are roughly half the size of a teaspoon. (Incidentally, etiquette guides from the '20s say that coffee spoons are just one example of auxiliary utensils that don't have to match the table silver.)

There are six other types of antique spoons that were once used in regular table service. All of these spoons are often officially referred to as "soup spoons"--even if they're also considered dessert spoons. Of these six types, three are round, and three are oval.

The three round ones are the basic soup spoon, the equally large "bouillon spoon," and the slightly smaller "cream soupspoon." Oval antique soup spoons are now called tablespoons, and can also be used as a serving spoon. The smaller oval spoon can be interchanged with dessert spoons, and are appropriate for cereals, cakes, and other desserts.


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