Question: Attached is photo of a heavy, 9-inch long silver spoon with large bowl, an heirloom passed down through five generations. "Pat. 1904" and a "Wm. Rogers" mark with an eagle at one end and star at the other, are impressed on the back of the spoon's handle. I hope you will tell me if the spoon is sterling, who made it, its age and value. - S.E., Millville
Answer: Your handsome silver-plated berry spoon, used to serve strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, is the 1904 Berwick pattern, later known as Diana. It bears the star and eagle mark of American silversmith Wm. Hazen Rogers (1801-1873) which was used after his death by Rogers & Bro. through agreement with his son. The mark later was adopted by International Silver Co. when Rogers joined that firm.
Berwick's cast, high relief pattern incorporates the flowing lines and elaborate floral motif of art nouveau decorative style popular from 1890 until 1915. Featuring curled tendrils, trailing vines, leaves resembling lily pads and five-petal blossoms, the pattern has been described as a tribute to the nasturtium or clematis, favorite Victorian era flowers.
Graded as "Extremely Col-lectible," Berwick flatware continues to attract collectors who pay premium prices for service pieces including oyster and punch ladles, poultry shears, tomato, cracker and ice cream servers, ice and asparagus tongs, sardine and lettuce forks as well as berry spoons, now often called casserole spoons.
Berwick berry spoons in excellent condition without silver loss, pitting or other damage, presently fetch as much as $80 to $110. Examples with elaborately chased bowls can command 10 percent to 15 percent more.
Question: When he was a teenager, my late stepfather received a ventriloquist doll as a 1963 Christmas gift. It is in very good condition, has a plastic head with moving eyes and is dressed in its original suit and shoes. "A Genuine Jerry Mahoney" is printed on the doll's box. Please provide information about this toy, including value. - R.M., Strathmere
Answer: The doll was made during the early 1960s by Juro Novelty Co., located in New York City. A toy company that manufactured ventriloquist figures from the 1950s until the late 1970s, Juro's most famous characters include Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, Jerry Mahoney and his pal, Knucklehead Smiff.
Mahoney and Smiff were creations of Paul Winchell (1922-2005) an American ventriloquist, animated cartoon voice actor, radio and TV personality and inventor who received the first patent for a mechanical artificial heart. Winchell's career as a professional ventriloquist began at age 14 and he continued to entertain adults and children through the 1990s.
Your semi-professional model Jerry Mahoney dummy, introduced in 1963, features an interior control stick which allows a ventriloquist to operate the figures's moving eyes and mouth as well as its turning head. Produced until the late 1960s, it has sold for $350 to $400 during the past year when in very good to excellent overall condition and with its original box.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: email@example.com
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.