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Large Pierced Shell Serving Spoon from Heyst sur Mer, c.1900-1910

$105.00

Large pierced mother of pearl shell serving spoon with a deep bowl and dainty steel handle. Painted "Heyst s/Mer," the name of Belgian resort town Heyst sur Mer, today Heist-aan-Zee, in Belgium. Made from a nautilus shell. 

Heyst s/mer (the French abbreviation...) was a popular seaside resort at the turn of the 20th century. The name of the town officially changed in 1938, but it is quite possible that a majority of the Flemish-speaking population never really pronounced it in French before then. People arrived by train - and presumably picked up little souvenirs to bring home to remind them of wonderful seafood dinners and time in the fresh salt air.

Belgium has three official languages: German (a little in the East), French, and Flemish (Dutch). French had long been a dominant language of the government, monarchy, and education. But in the age of language-based nationalism at the end of the 19th century, there was a resurgence of Flemish culture and language. In 1898, Flemish gained legal parity with French, and in the decades to followed former French names like Heyst sur Mer were changed officially to Heist-aan-Zee. The locals would likely not really refer to it by the tourist's name anyhow, though.

The backside of the spoon has a small area of damage but otherwise, the condition is good. Steel handle has some pitting as in the other two spoons.

Belgium, c.1900-1910.

Measures 1 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches and weighs 0.670 oz.

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