Shreve, Stanwood & Co Sterling Fish Serving Set, c. 1860s
This beautiful fish serving set consists of a large serving slice and fork that feature wonderful engraving throughout the blade and tines of the two pieces. A wonderful, large pierced heart is at the base of the fork. The handles are in the popular 'Oval Thread' pattern.
Each handle is engraved with an armorial badge depicting a crest of an eagle rising holding a lightning bolt in its beak encompassed by a circular garter with the motto 'PER ASPERA AD ASTRA.' The motto translates to 'Through rough roads to the stars.' This crest and motto belongs to an American branch of the Johnson family in Connecticut and was borne by William S. Johnson, LLD, the President of Columbia College, 1787-1801. There is one small difference in the crest: in the standard Johnson crest, the eagle does not hold a thunderbolt. We are sure this is a patriotic adaptation made during an era dominated by the civil war.
This lovely serving set is stamped on the back 'SHREVE, STANWOOD & CO/ 925'. Shreve, Stanwood & Co was in operation from 1860-1869 and in 1869 became the venerable Boston jeweler, Shreve, Crump & Low. The slice measures 12 inches long, and the fork measures 10.25 inches long. They have a total weight of 8.60 troy ounces and are in very good condition.