Rare Kentucky Coin Silver Spoon- Breckinridge County

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  • Item Category: Metals
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Oct 02, 2007
  • Channel: Auction House

Once again I am pulling a few pieces of Southern coin silver out of the recesses of the family sugar chest. Frankly, I am surprised myself when I rediscover these pieces! Please check our auctions this next week as we try to list a variety of pieces from Ky, Virginia, and possibly other Southern states.

Offered is a scarce mark in Kentucky silver which I had never before encountered. In fact, I almost listed this as a piece of Alexandria, Virgina silver until I stopped to look at the mark condition to compile this listing. This had literally been thrown in the silver drawer with the assumption that it was by John Adam, son of James Adam, of Virginia. Upon closer inspection, I found it is not of Virginia origin at all, since t is an "S" on the end of the name! In fact, it appears to be the previously unrecorded and unpublished mark of regional Kentucky silversmith J. H. Adams. As such, and coming from what would often be considered Western Kentucky, this would be an important addition to many collections of Kentucky silver. Since I am making this discovery only tonight, I have not had opportunity to do adequate research into the work of this smith. All that is readily known is his activity in the Hudsonville community (now just called Hudson) of Breckinridge County, KY in the late 1850's. For published information on this smith, I encourage any collector or scholar to refer to Mark Boultinghouse's exceptional compilation of biographies which as become the standard reference in the field, namely his 1980 publication Silversmiths, Jewelers, Clock and Watch Makers of Kentucky 1785-1900.

Condition is fair to good, with a couple of pin sized dimples in the bowl from long use, and a waviness to the handle shank which could be easily remedied by a silversmith or restorer, but t is no real damage to mention. I just want to be clear with everyone that t are these minor flaws. No breaks or cracks. The mark is poorly struck , showing only the "_H. ADAMS." Bearing no monogram, this was found at the Louisville flea market some 20 years ago. Length is 6 1/4".

As this is coming from a private collection and is offered for a low opening bid with no strings attached, I can offer no return policy. I will, however, strive to answer any and all questions promptly and politely. I do NOT play games and hide fees in my postage charges. This will go out Priority Mail (boxed, no envelopes!) w/receipt confirmation for $5.25. I encourage insurance, and will advise of that extra amount when the auction has ended. Good luck! This is a nice period piece of regional Kentucky silver, and by a maker that is seldom (ever???) encountered, so I think you'll be pleased with it. I have only the one spoon, so if you have an interest, I encourage you to bid a fair price so you won't have regrets either way when the auction is over!

I have had several inquiries about this spoon already, particularly asking for further information on J H Adams. Sadly, I have found very little to aid in documenting his career. Kentucky historian/geologist W. R. Jillson, in 1920, explored and photographed the Sinking Creek Valley in Breckinridge County from the vantage point of Adams Hill, presumably relating to the silversmith/jeweler's family. I found several members of the Adams family buried in the Hensley-Dowell Cemetery. T is also some reference to an early family headed by Peter Adams and wife Nancy Raines of Breckinridge. Granted, I cannot make a connection at this point, but these might be some clues to genealogists working in that section of the state. For those not familiar with this county, I'm borrowing the introduction from the county's website ( /ourheritage.html ) w they explain,

"Breckinridge County was established by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly on December 9, 1799 from part of Hardin County. Breckinridge County was named for John Breckinridge (1...