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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Trader Vic's Spoon?
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Trader Vic's Spoon?
Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-09 4:15 pm   Permalink

Hi all,

I picked up a silver spoon online as it was pretty fascinating to see - a solid silver condiment spoon, about 4" long, with both a cast Trader Vic's tiki and inscribed for the same on the reverse of the handle (pics below). I've seen (online) regular silverplate flatware with Trader Vic's name stamped on it, but never what was a custom job in sterling. There seem to be two real possibilities for it - one, it's a very deluxe souvenir spoon sold at Vic's in the 1950s or thereabouts or, two, it is part of some deluxe serving set for VIPs, as I am having a hard time imagining custom sterling silver being used for general restaurant service (as it would disappear in a flash!).

Anyone seen anything like this spoon?






Thanks,
GK


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Grand Kahu

Tied by my Mai Tai...


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1782
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2013-09-09 5:24 pm   Permalink

Very cool find. One thing we forget sometime is that Trader Vic's was a very classy joint back in the day. Both
movie stars and business big wigs rubbed elbows at Vic's restaurants. It was a white glove for the ladies and suit and tie place for the gentleman kinda place. Silver at the buffet table could have been the norm.
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nui 'umi 'umi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 1059
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2013-09-09 8:18 pm   Permalink

Very nice GK. Mahalo for sharing.
Btw, had lunch and a couple of Mai Tai's with my wife at the L A Traders today, Still a classy operation.


 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-09 9:58 pm   Permalink

Hi Trav,

I have serious doubts about the use of sterling at the buffet, as even the classy joints like the Four Seasons, Waldorf-Astoria, Delmonico's and the like used silverplate for both their serving pieces and table flatware. Several silver companies had special divisions devoted to producing heavily-plated silverware just for the restaurant and travel industries. Both International Silver and Oneida had divisions which produced silverplated wares for TV's, as a serving piece by the former sold on eBay earlier this year and this set of flatware is on auction now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-FIVE-PIECE-PLACE-SETTING-SILVERWARE-FROM-TRADER-VICS-RESTAURANT-/111157618363?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19e182a6bb

Neither are in any way tiki or custom; as in about 99 in 100 cases; the silverplated wares were just stock and often boring designs imprinted with the restaurant name. Custom silverplate designs were extremely rare and included only a few restaurants like the Four Seasons, which has a pretty illustrious design history in its own right. Custom solid silver? I can't think of a single restaurant in the last half century-plus that had custom-designed sterling serving flatware or serving pieces.

Since no other solid silver flatware of this design seem to have surfaced, it must have been a very limited production, hence my thought it was for a VIP dining room or a more pricey souvenir of a limited run. The fact there is no manufacturer's mark leads me to believe a smaller silver studio produced it rather than one of the bigger aforementioned firms. It's a definite mystery! If a bigger serving spoon or fork were to surface with this design, that would at least challenge the souvenir idea.

Ah, well, maybe something will pop up. Now I'm dreaming of finding a sterling silver punch bowl with tiki eyes studded with emeralds...

One can dream...

GK




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Grand Kahu

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komohana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 412
From: western australia
Posted: 2013-09-09 11:20 pm   Permalink

A charming piece for sure.

Perhaps a third possibility, the TV equivalent of a "gold watch",

commissioned as a parting gift for an esteemed employee?



[ This Message was edited by: komohana 2013-09-10 03:54 ]


 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-09 11:37 pm   Permalink

That is a really interesting idea. It might make sense for both the possible rarity and the fact the Trader Vic's mark is on the underside. While the "hidden" name is not that unusual for restaurant silverplated flatware, it seems more likely that the Trader Vic's name would have been prominent and on the top of the spoon if it were a souvenir. As an "inside" special gift, "Trader Vic's" mark could take a back seat to the tiki motif on the front. And a small "silver spoon," aside from its more obvious association as a baby gift, does nicely represent the food service industry. The only thing I might expect would be the recipient's name or initials on it too.

GK


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Grand Kahu

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tikicoma
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 372
From: wakinekona
Posted: 2013-09-10 12:16 am   Permalink

I wonder if it's a wine tasting spoon?

 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-10 07:58 am   Permalink

Compared to other tasting spoons, the bowl seems too small for that purpose.

GK
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Grand Kahu

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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1782
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2013-09-10 3:57 pm   Permalink

It could be a mustard spoon judging by the shape and size.

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 273
Posted: 2013-09-10 5:12 pm   Permalink

Queen Elizabeth dined at the original San Francisco Trader Vic's location in 1983 but it was a last minute arrangement so I know they didn't have time to purchase special silverware for the occasion!

 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-10 9:41 pm   Permalink

Trav, yep, the seller sold it as a mustard spoon and it makes sense for the size too.

As to Queen Elizabeth, that's a cool footnote. I'd love to see a pic of her drinking from a rum keg!

GK


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 273
Posted: 2013-09-11 12:15 am   Permalink

I've been told the Queen was served a Plymouth Martini and Trader Vic delicacies including Beef Cho Cho, a flaming favorite of mine!

 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-11 10:05 am   Permalink

Cool! I was thinking about the tiki on the spoon and wondering if anyone has seen any sterling TV's cufflinks of this design. The size seems right, and if whatever company made this spoon had a cast for cufflinks, they could have easily reused it for the spoon. I thought about this as I see there are old sterling silver TV's cufflinks around, but none seem to have tiki designs. But it's the only other thing in sterling I know of associated with TV's.

GK



 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 177
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-09-11 10:05 am   Permalink

Cool! I was thinking about the tiki on the spoon and wondering if anyone has seen any sterling TV's cufflinks of this design. The size seems right, and if whatever company made this spoon had a cast for cufflinks, they could have easily reused it for the spoon. I thought about this as I see there are old sterling silver TV's cufflinks around, but none seem to have tiki designs. But it's the only other thing in sterling I know of associated with TV's.

GK



 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1305
Posted: 2013-09-11 11:48 am   Permalink

This was the closest I could find, but it's not the same: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=22872&forum=5&vpost=292855
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