C1724 George I Sterling Silver Spoon by John Hopkins, with possible slavery associations.


This spoon comes after the compulsory use of the higher Britannia standard, 95.8%,  and has returned to the Sterling standard of 92.5%. It has the end of the spoon turned up in the Hanoverian style, and features a "rat tail", where the drop, where the bowl meets the handle, tapers over the back of the bowl to a point.  hallmarked for London, 1724, and sterling standard, it has a sponsor's mark for John Hopkins. It is 20.2 cm long and weighs 56 grams.

Of interest is to me is the crest which features two wings, framing an African head, which appears to have a neckband, an earring and possibly a band around the jaw and crown of the head. It does not appear in Fairbanks/ Book of Crests. It probably references the transatlantic slave trade, and widespread industry of which Britain, was the major player (among many!), and which brought vast wealth to Britain. British slave owners were paid compensation by the government for their loss of property (slaves were surprisingly expensive) and labour force, as part of the emancipation of the slaves in British colonies in the early 19th century. (Yes, some of Jane Austens' friends, and characters, would have owned slaves.) This prevented the economic collapse of the slave driven industries, and former owners had cash with which to employ the freed slaves as paid workers. The ex-slaves also had employment which paid for  homes, food, medical attention etc. No such exit strategy existed in 1865 in the USA, leaving that country in the awful mess it is still in today.

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