An exquisite collection of silver spoon, collected by Jane Penrice Benson (1915-2004), a highly respected expert and dealer in silver will be offered at Christie’s on June 4. The Benson Collection of 14th and 15th century spoons which represents the Holy Grail for spoon collectors was previously on display at the Oxford Ashmolean museum.
The highlight of the sale is the Benson Wodewose spoon – a Henry VI spoon, one of only four known to survive, with a Wodewose or wild man depicted on the finial at the end of the spoon. The wodewose a mythical figure that appeared from the 12th century in the artwork and literature of medieval times and was a wild satyr like figure often later compared to a green man or wild man of the woods. The spoon is estimated at £40,000-£60,000 ($62,000-$93,000).
Christie’s Senior Director & European Head of Silver Department Harry Williams-Bulkeley commented: ‘Early spoons have been prized by collectors since the mid-19th century. The Benson Collection represents the Holy Grail for spoon collectors. These rarest of spoons have survived from some of the most turbulent eras of British history and were gathered over many decades by one most highly regarded advisor, dealer and collector of the 20th century, Mrs. How.’
Also on offer is a set of six Edward IV parcel-gilt silver Apostle Spoons from the 15th century, which is amongst the earliest known Apostle Spoons, estimated at £150,000-£250,000 ($232,000-$386,000).
One of the earliest known surviving Acorn-Knop spoon, dating from the 12th/13th century, pre dates the system of hall making. It bears the Acorn-Knop symbol of immortality, and is expected to sell for £8,000-£12,000 ($12,400-18,500).