Alphonse Debain French Silver (.950) Asparagus Server, Paris, c. 1900
This rare French silver tongs or grips are a wonderful invention and very useful for serving various foods. They are constructed as two identical molded sheets of silver joined by a hinge to grip your food items for serving.
They are beautifully decorated with magnificent Art Nouveau design of seaweed surrounding a large blank oval and are pierced. This style of asparagus server was invented and patented by Debain. To quote David Allan in French Silver Cutlery of the 19th Century (p. 198):
The nicest asparagus grips are undeniably those made by the Maison Debain. While they produced grips in many styles, it is those from the beginning of the 20th century...in the Art Nouveau style that are the best of all....
This stunning server is stamped with the French First standard mark along with the maker's mark 'A D' and 'M Bte S.G. O.'(for his patent). The grips measure 4.5 at their widest point by 3.25 inches, weigh 4.35 troy ounces and are in very good antique condition.
For an identical pair of 'asparagus grip' see:
David Allan, French Silver Cutlery of the XIXth Century, (Dijon: Editions Faton, 2007), p. 198
Provenance: from the collection of Dale E. Bennett.
Literature: Illustrated and discussed in Silver Magazine,"The Evolution of the Asparagus Server in Europe and America", p. 33
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