An object with local historic significance will be sold as part of an estate tag sale this Saturday.
A silver serving spoon among the items from the estate of Susan Watkins that will be sold during the sale has been identified as having once belonged to Jemima Wilkinson, the Universal Public Friend, according to Tim Conroy of Estate Consultants, who is managing the sale.
Susan’s son, Sean, says the spoon has been in his family for at least three generations. He says he heard the mysterious story of the unique spoon his entire life.
His understanding is that Howard Symonds, a friend of his great-great grandmother, found a bag containing coins and silver pieces as he was supervising some road work. The spoon is marked with the initials “U F” and other symbols that have been associated with Wilkinson.
Sean says his mother and grandmother brought the spoon to the Oliver House several years ago to look into its authenticity, and although then director Virginia Gibbs initially doubted it had belonged to Wilkinson, she soon changed her mind once she saw it. Few personal items with connections to the Universal Friend exist, potentially making this item more valuable.
After his mother’s death earlier this year, Sean began going through her belongings, and wondered where the legendary spoon was. As he started looking through the flatware, it fell out. When he realized its potential significance, he contacted the Yates County History Center, where a special exhibit about Wilkinson is maintained.
The History Center has expressed interest in the spoon, as have other institutions and private collectors, says Conroy.
For details about the sale, see the ad on 7B.