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Gorham 'Medallion' Pattern Antique Sterling Silver Asparagus Tongs, Providence, c. 1870

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These rare tongs with a claw end are exquisite. Made from multiple parts and assembled together, they incorporate various designs and construction techniques.

The long shaped handles are made from a single piece of silver bent at the top to create a smooth elbow. On each side of the elbow are two discs with a spring support between them that keeps the serving ends expanded. A finial at the top with a beaded edge secures the medallions and spring mechanism.

Each of these discs are stunning classical portrait medallions against a stippled background with one side depicting a woman (Ceres, symbolized by wheat) and the other a man wearing a helmet with 10 stars.

In order to stabilize and guide the long handles, a circular bar travels through holes in the handles and the ends are capped with small medallion discs depicting classical male busts.

The flat bottom blade is rectangular in shape and beautifully pierced and engraved with classical foliage decoration. The center is pierced and engraved with a lovely floral wreath.

The upper blade is a dramatic claw with long talons. Although originally made as asparagus tongs, this rare server can be used for many foods, including fried chicken, on many occasions.

These stunning tongs are marked with Gorham's trademark along with 'Sterling' and the great Philadelphia retailer 'J.E. CALDWELL & Co'. They measure 13 inches long, have never been monogrammed and are in excellent antique condition.