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History Bytes: The Rochambeau Spoon

During the Comte de Rochambeau’s visit to Providence in 1780, he was the guest of Deputy Governor and Mrs. Jabez Bowen. As a token of appreciation, Rochambeau gave them a sterling silver stuffing spoon, engraved with the Rochambeau coat of arms. The spoon was later donated to the Newport Historical Society and is one of our most treasured possessions.

In 1970, the Newport Historical Society and the Gorham Silver Manufacturing Co. of Providence entered into an agreement to produce silver plate reproductions of the spoon. Sold mostly through the Tilden-Thurber jewelry stores, the spoon was a bargain at $24.95. Every year the Newport Historical Society receives phone calls from people who have stumbled across these reproductions as “ancient family heirlooms.” Unfortunately, the authenticity of these priceless keepsakes is somewhat diminished by the “GORHAM” stamp on the underside of the spoon, and the anchor hallmark flanked by the letters EP (electroplate).