Friday, March 6, 2009

Werewolves and Fruit Knives

This month I have an article published in the Illinois Bar Journal titled: "Standard Visitation" and the Best Interest of the Child (March 2009; Pages 138-141). As such I thought I would write about something else in my blog. I warned you I might discuss antiques and movies but I didn't say I would discuss them both together. Well I will.

The movie "Cursed" is a werewolf movie staring Christinia Ricci and directed by Wes Craven. In the movie Christinia Ricci stabs a werewolf with a silver piece of flatware. Of course werewolves hate silver bullets but it appears they are equally distasteful of common eating utensils made of silver. The only problem is that most sterling butter knives have a steel blade and a hollow sterling handle. I few may have a silver plated blade. After all silver is generally too soft a metal to use to cut food and certainly not an ideal weapon.

This brings me to my discussion of antiques. A common item in Victorian times particularly in England was the "fruit knife". A folding or pocket knife with a mother of pearl handle and a sterling silver blade. The blade is not plated but almost pure silver (at least 92.5 percent pure - sterling standard). Since most "fruit knives" are English they will have hallmarks on the blade. A lion with a raised paw (or passant) is a symbol for sterling silver, a letter is a symbol for the date the knife was made, and a symbol or initials tell you who made the knife. American fruit knives were also popular but are generally marked with the word "sterling" or sometimes "coin silver". These knives were designed to cut soft fruit so a steel blade is not needed.

Most of these knives were made between 1800-1920. If you can find such a knife made in the 18th Century it will likely be more valuable. Some of these knives were made with tortoise shell or ivory handles. The American version often will have silver scales. I have even seen a few "fruit forks".

These knives are not overly expensive and are fun to collect. They are easy to find and cheap to mail. They also come in any number of styles and sizes. So when the moon is full and the wolfsbane is in bloom remember your fruit knife. It could save your life.

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