The tale of a silver spoon

spoons
B.M. Bailey serving spoon. Photo provided.

LUDLOW, Vt. – Last week I was contacted by a couple in Maine who found an article online that I had written last April regarding B.M. Bailey, a Ludlow silversmith. The reach I have with the Journal/Shopper continues to amaze me. Below is their email and my reply.

  Mr. Patch,

  I am writing to you from Eliot, Maine. In doing some online research on some family silver we have, I was excited to find the article you had written in the Vermont Journal on April 18, 2017 about B. M Bailey, Ludlow Silversmith.

  It was enlightening for the history it contained.

  My husband and I definitely pulled the two spoons we have from what was heading to the silver buyer to be sold and melted down.

spoons
B.M. Bailey hallmark on Maine spoon. Photo provided.

I have enclosed pictures below of the two spoons, one tablespoon-size with the B. M. BAILEY mark on it, and the other teaspoon-size with the PALMER BATCHELDERS & CO mark on it.

  I am at a loss of whether I should shine these up with silver polish or keep the patina on them.

  They are initialed. I tried doing some research on the initials, but have come up blank. The large spoon (B. M. BAILEY) has scripted – L.J. Rice or I.J. Rice. The small spoon (PALMER BATCHELDERS&CO) has scripted – E.M.B.

  My husband’s family on his Mother’s side (Gould) came from Vermont, from the Morrisville area, giving us a great historical interest in that B. M. Bailey was a Vermont Silversmith.

  Is it possible to date the spoons? I would love to know more about them.

  Do you know what these are worth, or if there is a market out there for them? Or a way to find more history through the initials on them.

  Thank you for writing the interesting article on B. M. Bailey, Vermont Silversmith. It was a nice touch of history to learn about.

  Sincerely,

  James and Darla

  Eliot, Maine

Hello in Maine.

Back in the 1980s, I did a lot of business with auctioneers in Maine. Jim Julia in Fairfield and J.J. Keating in your town so I know the area well. The large Bailey spoon you have in the trade is referred to as a “serving spoon”, not tablespoon. It’s a very nice spoon. I would carefully clean the spoons but be very careful around the engraving and makers hallmarks. Abrasive cleaner will remove silver and you don’t want to make the marks weaker.

Not a lot has been written on the Baileys, perhaps the best source is a book “Vermont clock, watchmakers and silversmiths” by Carlisle. I would value the Bailey spoon at $125 and the Palmer spoon at about $25. As to original owners, you would have to do the genealogy of your husband’s family and hopefully find a Rice. Ludlow is not far from Chester and Grafton. Years ago, these towns had several Rice families.

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