The Elizabeth I Seal Top Spoon

I purchased this Elizabeth I Seal Top Spoon in the gift shop at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island in North Carolina last week — it was the only spoon they had for sale and ties in nicely to their Lost Colony play (which I now regret not seeing.)

According to the card that came with it, seal top spoons were a rarity before the late 1550s, but became very popular from about 1560 to 1670. During this time, people often carried personal eating utensils as well as letter-writing materials when they traveled. Most letters and documents were sealed with wax and spoons like this were often manufactured with the owner’s seal on the end of the handle. The original of this spoon would have been made around 1580, and has a full Tudor Rose seal.