New York WF Spoon in Seattle

I often wonder how worlds fair souvenirs get to Seattle. This rare treasure from the 1939 New York Worlds Fair was over in the Ballard neighborhood. I had gone to two other sales and was weaving my way home. There was an estate sale sign so I whipped around the corner to this unplanned stop.

On the big front porch they had the cashier area and some valuables in a glass case. To my glorious surprise this spoon was there. I got my hands on it and never let go until I put it into my museum on Monday. Serendipity had brought me this find.

New York Worlds Fair 1939 Spoon

New York Worlds Fair 1939 Spoon

In my research I cannot find an exact copy of it on the internet. It is unusual in that it has a cut out of the New York Skyline. They call it a bird’s eye view.

Cutout of birds-eye view of NY on '39 NY Worlds Fair

Cutout of birds-eye view of NY on ’39 NY Worlds Fair

The bowl has the Trylon and Perisphere plus New York Worlds Fair with the year 1939. Look closely and you will see the copyright symbol and NYWF. The back has “Sterling” stamped on the back and some makers marks.

bowl of '39 NYWF spoon

bowl of ’39 NYWF spoon

How did this get to Seattle and over 75 years later came to me? The places it has been and saved all these years is a mystery. Someone treasured it a lot and now it is part of my Worlds Fair Treasure Horde!


Worlds Fair City Spoon – 1893

You never know what you will find at an estate sale. I went to one this weekend in search of some Seattle World’s Fair Bolo tie items.  n the pictures they were still on the display cards –  three of them looking like new old stock. So nice I even wondered if they were knock offs and not authentic 1962.

I got to the sale right at 9am on the opening day and only 10 people in line. I was excited, cause that meant I had a chance.

WRONG!! They only let 5 people at a time in. I was in the second group and the lady running the sale told me those Worlds Fair items were first to go. She did point me to some glasses she still had up on the shelf. I scored a US Science Center frosted tumbler that I was missing in my set of glasses.

Then I saw the spoons. There was a pile of about 10 on the lower shelf and another guy was pawing through them. I think he was grabbing them for the silver but my hand was steady when I saw the one with engraving in the bowl of the spoon.  That is often an older worlds fair item.

Rejoice!!  It was and not any fair but the 1893 Columbian Chicago Worlds Fair.   The legend of my oldest fair rose up and tapped me.   Better yet, it was only 2 bucks.

This little spoon is part of a set that has Columbus’ head on the top with 1492 to 1893 around him.  The shank of the spoon has on it Worlds Fair City. The bowl has a view of the Arts Palace.  On the back it states Standard. It has been loved so much the brass/copper core is shining though on the raised areas. No wonder the other buyer passed it up. Not pure sterling.

For me it was like finding gold.

1893 - 1492 Columbian Exposition Spoon - Christopher Columbus' head

1893 – 1492 Columbian Exposition Spoon – Christopher Columbus’ head

Arts Palace - 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair in Spoon

Arts Palace – 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair in Spoon

$3 dollar Worlds Fair find

On Valentines Day 2015 I started my weekend adventures by going to three estate sales.  The first one was a house full of dolls and china cups and plates. This was a collection of a 90-year-old lady who had gone to the nursing home. In the living room was a line of tables with all the costume jewelry and other smalls displayed.

I asked the lady attending the tables if there was any Worlds Fair items.  She said she didn’t think so but handed me a box of buttons/pins. I pawed through that box and found nothing of interest. Then I spotted a box of thimbles where again I found nothing.  Moving along I came to her collection of spoons all loose in a box.   Methodically I sorted through the box, and almost the last spoon I touched is this Century 21 Exposition spoon.  Joy sprung into my collectors heart.

I rounded the corner of the tables and found another box with spoons. These were in their original boxes.  There I put my hands on a spoon with the Unisphere on the top. That was the symbol of the 1964 New York Worlds Fair.  It is one of the few fair structures that still exists today at Flushing Meadows.

Worlds Fair Spoon commemorates Unisphere

Worlds Fair Spoon commemorates Unisphere

Picking through what American Pickers calls smalls can be time consuming but is so worth it if you find what you seek.  My third prize was in a real junk box of stuff.  In the past I found my first Seattle Worlds Fair Space Needle pen in one of those junk boxes.   That makes me want to go to hoarder type estate sales because they have lots of unorganized debris of life.   In this case this house was in great shape and had quality antiques, not the place one finds treasure that was not gleaned out by the Estate Sale Company.   But that is what I was finding on this set of tables.

The third item was this odd glass ashtray item with writing in the box.  My instincts tell me to check out things that have writing because they are usually some sort of memorabilia.  I was right and even more delighted to read Golden Gate International Exposition 1940 (San Francisco Bay) on this block of glass.

It had the sculpture Pacifica which was a statue created by Ralph Stackpole for the 1939–1940 Golden Gate International Exposition held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. Stackpole’s largest sculpture, it towered 81 feet (25 m) over the entrance to the Cavalcade of the Golden West in the Court of Pacifica.  She was the theme statue for the exposition, representing world peace, neighborliness, and the power of a unified Pacific coast.

You ask what happened to the statue?  The United States Navy purchased the island as a naval base in 1941, and Pacifica was demolished along with most other exposition structures.

All this info on Pacifica is courtesy Wikipedia.

Now back to this little 75 years old find.  It is not an ashtray as I first thought.  The lettering and embossed side of the glass block was on the top which makes me think it is a lid for some glass container.  Perhaps a food container for the refrigerator or a candy dish. I did some internet searching and didn’t see anything like it.  See what you think?

1940 Glass Lid - where is the jar or dish?

1940 Glass Lid – where is the jar or dish?

When I took them to pay, she said a dollar each.  I was surprised because I knew the spoons are probably worth $5 to $10 each.   The glass block, well, it is only valuable to me because it is missing the rest of it.

It was a great day for the Mini Museum!!

Down under – Expo ’88 in Brisbane

How did this little spoon find its way from Brisbane to Seattle?   Another mystery that we will never know.  Ah if this little spoon could talk.

Expo ’88 was a BIE sanctioned International Specialized Exposition formally named World Expo ’88.  It was held in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, Australia, during a six-month period between April and October 1988. (fairly common date range for a Worlds Fair Spring thru summer and close in early fall) The theme of the Expo was “Leisure in the Age of Technology”, and the mascot for the Expo was an Australian platypus named Expo Oz.   I couldn’t resist showing how cute their mascot was.

So, here is my little treasure of a spoon.   It is modern in appearance but is still a piece of Worlds Fair memorabilia that someone held so dear they brought it to Seattle.  (see my vintage ruler again?)

World Expo '88 - Brisbane   Spoon found in Seattle

World Expo ’88 – Brisbane Spoon found in Seattle