Monday, March 4, 2013

A Spoonful of Memories




QUESTION: I was recently going through a box of junk that belonged to my grandfather and in it I discovered a silver spoon with the name Rolex on the handle. It had the Rolex crown at the top with the word Rolex under it. On the back it said Bucherer Switzerland. It this any affiliation with the watch company? What can you tell me about this spoon?

ANSWER: You found a Rolex souvenir spoon, given to the purchaser of a Rolex watch from Bucherer Jewelers in Lucerne, Switzerland. Customers only received one of these spoons after they bought a Rolex. Bucherer never sold the spoons separately.

Besides its main store in Lucerne, Buckerer has outlets in major luxury hotels in other cities. These hotels often gave their guests silverplated Rolex spoons as a welcome gift, hoping that they would purchase a Rolex to take home. Though Rolex Geneva wholly endorses the marketing effort by Bucherer, the company doesn’t make the spoons.

The spoons feature the names of eight different cities—Lucerne, Lugano, Basel, Zurich, Interlaken, Geneva, and others—where Bucherer has a store. The Lucerne spoon is the most common. The one marked "New York" and with a Statue of Liberty motif is the hardest to find because Bucherer no longer has a New York City store. The jewelry company has been handing out the Rolex spoons since the 1950s.

Because there are thousands of these silver-plated spoons available, they usually sell for under $15, with the older, rarer examples selling for $25-35.

Sterling silver and silver-plated souvenir spoons have been around since the late 16th century in Europe. The first ones served as religious souvenirs. Made of either silver or gold and often encrusted with jewels, they also served as a form of currency.

The first souvenir spoons in the United States acted as first gifts to babies by their sponsors at christenings. The idea was that a child no sooner learned to feed himself, using his own spoon, than he began to acquire knowledge.

In 1887, as souvenir spoons became the fad in European cities, Daniel Low, of Salem, Mass., made a trip to Europe where he purchased spoons from skilled craftsmen. From these, he conceived the idea of a spoon showing the traditions and legends of Salem. His son, Seth F. Low, designed the first "witch" spoon. Its handle carries the figure of a witch, the word "Salem," and three witch pins similar to those
preserved in the courthouse at Salem.

Low’s witch spoon launched the souvenir spoon craze of the late 19th-century in this country. It was the first to be made in this country from a special die, of a design suggestive of some particular place.

Victorian women loved serving tea and used souvenir spoons whenever they had guests. The spoons also served as conversation pieces with after-dinner coffee and other beverages. They also became badges of travel as Victorians began to travel and attend world expositions.

The Rolex spoons, however, fall into the advertising category. Displaying such a spoon indicates that the owner or someone in the home had purchased a Rolex watch, which for some is a status symbol in itself. 

32 comments:

Michael Abramson said...

THERE WERE ACTUALLY 15 DIFFERENT CITIES THAT GAVE AWAY THESE ROLEX ADVERTISING SPOONS :-)
BASEL, BERN, BURGENSTOCK, DAVOS, GENEVA, INTERLAKEN, LOCARNO, LAUSANNE, LUCERNE, LUGANO, NEW YORK, ST. GALLEN, ST. MORITZ, ZERMATT, and ZURICH

John Geeorgopoulos said...

I have one stamped Zurich with two lines over the u what's the value

John Geeorgopoulos said...

I have one stamped Zurich with two lines over the u what's the value

Randy Chenowth said...

Zurich spoons are worth $200 to $1500

Anonymous said...

How about the value of one from St. Gallen?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. You have answered several questions I had about my spoon except the value. Can you give me an idea of what one marked Geneva is worth? Thanks

Tony Dennard said...

I have a silver Zermatt spoon, it has like a tree branch with cow bells on it and something like a mountain. How much is this worth. Also I have a interlaken rolex spoon that has about 11 trees on it. How much is that one. And I have one flower logo Luceren spoon and on Lucerne spoon with a cross on top. How much are this worth.

Estate Sterling said...

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Jason C said...

I have a bag full (25 pcs) of these spoons left behind by my grandfather, an avid antique collector. Who would buy them? -Jason Crede, Boston MA

SEXIZAM9 said...

Jason C me.....sexizam9@hotmail.com !!!

UK LeRouxs said...

In case anyone is interested I am selling a Rolex Spoon Souvenir Bucherer of Switzerland at http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252365418962?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649 Thank you

Anonymous said...

I have a St Moritz spoon. It has B 100 12 on the back. Can anyone tell me what it is worth?

Jason C said...

Will you contact me? Jasoncrede@gmail.com

Nicole Doerr said...

I found one this morning in my coffee bag :0 how much os it worth??

Nicole Doerr said...

I found one this morning in my coffee bag :0 how much os it worth??

alys Freeman said...

Hello, I have a Rolex spoon B 100 12, marked Lugano, with mountain scene with a palm tree. I have tried to find a similar one on the usual places but would like to know it's worth. I understand it is German plate marking. Found it in a cutlery set my mother left me.
regards
Hellyn.

Anonymous said...

I have a Lucerne Rolex spoon,how much is it worth

Renato Pachano .·. said...

I just foud some of them in my house, 8 Geneve, 4 Lucerne and 9 Zurich.

I will be able to sold some of them.

Marine said...

Guten tag, I am Marine from Switzerland. I have 250 pieces of the Bucherer of Switzerland- Rolex Spoons Zurich & Luzerne. If anyone interested,please contact me marine.arshakyan@icloud.com
Danke shön :)

Berry said...

I have 2 lucerne spoons with crosses on the top of the handle. There is a lion on the head of the spoons. It says CB on the back top of the handle. What do these mean? What could I get for both of them?

Becky Stehling-Cortese said...

Have 8 of these spoons by Bucherer Wat r they worth

Becky Stehling-Cortese said...

Have 8 of these spoons by Bucherer Wat r they worth

agv cel mic said...

Hy a have 5 of Geneve ....i want to sel ,contact me : scurtu.petronela@gmail.com

agv cel mic said...

Hy a have 5 of Geneve ....i want to sel ,contact me : scurtu.petronela@gmail.com

Luke James said...

I have a Rolex spoon, marked Lugano, with mountain scene with a palm tree. How much is it worth?

Thanks
LJ

Bob Brooke said...

Thanks for all your comments. Unfortunately, I don't do valuations.

Unknown said...

I have a Rolex Spoon Bucherer Watch at the bottom of the spoon it says Interlaken back of the spoon B 100 12 and nothing in the middle of the spoon can you please tell me of much it is worth please and thankyou

Bob Brooke said...

Again, thanks for all your comments. But as I said previously, I don't do valuations. I cannot tell you how much your spoons are worth.

Bruce Parker said...

I have two Zurich spoons.

Vicky Hovan said...

I have a BUCHERER spoon still in it's original packaging including it's slip paper it came in that says "With best compliments BUCHERER Lucerne Zurich Geneva Basle Lugano Locarno St. Moritz Interlaken Burgenstock New York."
It has the lion imprinted in the spoon well , ROLEX inscribe on top,BUCHERER inscribe on curve, and, BURCHERER OF SWITZERLAND inscribed on back.If anyone is interested in purchasing this spoon with original packaging, please email me dreamflyer59@aol.com thanks!

Unknown said...

I have 1 I found at the goodwill it says lucerne

CandyC said...

Bob: I inherited some 19th century spoons (souvenir and dinnerware), some in coin silver. Can you lead me to a site that can help me sell them? Thank you!