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John Wendt "Florentine" Pattern Antique Sterling Silver Asparagus Tongs, NYC, c. 1870s

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These rare large tongs incorporate the intricate pattern on the outside of the handles. The upper and lower blades are pierced and hand engraved with foliate and floral decoration. The upper blade has a small lip to hold asparagus on the blade. On one side, the cartouche is engraved with the family crest of a pelican feeding its young; the other is artistically monogrammed "SHG"(?).

John Wendt was the principal silversmith to the great New York jewelers, Ball, Black & Co., with Wendt's shop occupying the top two floors of Ball, Black & Co.'s famous building on Broadway.

Literature: A similar example is illustrated in 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.

This wonderful server is marked 'STERLING/ PATENT' and by the retailer 'BALL, BLACK & Co.' It measures 11.25 inches long, weighs 7.05 troy ounces, and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.