From classic forms by Joseph Willmore and Francis Higgins to Arts & Crafts examples by Omar Ramsden and Bernard Instone, this was perhaps the best array on the market since Woolley & Wallis sold the John Norie collection in two parts 17 years ago.
Offered in 145 lots on April 28, sensible estimates meant all found buyers for a total of £107,000.
Specialist collectors have sheltered caddy spoons from some of the difficulties besetting other areas of the silver market. W&W silver expert Rupert Slingsby said that Norie remains the highwater mark in this market – “caddy spoons have never again reached the heights they did back in 2004” – but added that “they have seen a comeback over the last year or so and, in this sale, there were some good prices”.
An advanced caddy spoon collector will seek the most unusual or collectable forms alongside the more typical examples that survive in number.
The top price here was the £5000 tendered for an eagle’s wing spoon, the form chosen by Captain Norie as the front cover illustration to his book Caddy Spoons and by the Society of Caddy Spoon Collectors as its emblem.
This example, marked for Joseph Willmore in 1814, was among the first made (Victorian and more modern versions also survive). These early models that are die stamped rather than cast were made in two pieces with the handle skilfully soldered to the bowl with a virtually undetectable join.
By comparison there were two eagle’s wing spoons in the Norie collection by Willmore: the 1834 example going at £1650 and the 1814 spoon at £1550. Some recently have sold for as little as £800.
A couple of rarities from the Norie collection reappeared here. A spoon with the bowl cast as a limpet shell by Francis Higgins (London 1843) that had made £2800 in 2004 resold here for £2500, while another with a feather bowl and a handle formed as a swan’s head by William Stocker (London 1866) took £1900 (it had realised £2400 at the Norie sale).
Arts & Crafts spoons and those from the later 20th century appeal to a wider pool of buyers. The examples here typically sold to dec arts rather than spoon collectors. This included the Omar Ramsden spoon set with three lozenge shaped green stone cabochons that brought £4200.
The most expensive Ramsden spoon in the Norie sale, one decorated with a crimson enamelled boss and dated to 1919, took £3300.