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John Wendt 'Florentine' Pattern Antique Sterling Asparagus Serving Tongs, NYC, c. 1870s

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This is a stunning and rare asparagus server in the exotic 'Florentine' pattern made by the important silversmith John Wendt, the principal silversmith for the important jeweler Ball, Black & Co. in New York City.

These large tongs incorporate the intricate pattern on the outside of the handles with cartouches that have never been monogrammed. The upper blade is pierced and engraved with vine representations. The bottom blade has a stunning scene of a lion's face clutching a ring in its jaws. Looped through the ring are hanging vines amongst which a cherub frolics.

This rare server is marked 'STERLING/ PATENT' and by the retailer 'BALL, BLACK & Co.' It measures 11 inches long, weighs 7.10 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.

Provenance: From the collection of Dale E. Bennett.

Literature: Charles S. Curb, William P. Hood, Jr., John R. Olson, and Dale E. Bennett, "The Evolution of the Asparagus Server in Europe and America, Part Two" in Silver Magazine, September/ October 2006, pp. 30-36, illus. p.34.