HARTINGTON — A California man is hoping area residents can help him solve a mystery.
Rik Neustein is in the possession of a beautiful sterling silver spoon that has the words “Hartington, Neb.” engraved in the bowl of the spoon.
Neustein, Los Angeles, who has the spoon, wants to find out the history behind the spoon and may be interested in purchasing additional spoons if there are more.
Neustein’s interest in the spoon is not because he has any ties or family members that live in the Hartington area or in Nebraska.
“I had never heard of Hartington until I saw the spoon. The closest I have ever been to Nebraska is when I was on a business trip to Minnesota,” Neustein said. “It’s just that the spoon is so pretty — that’s why I am trying to find out more about it.”
Through the years, Neustein and his wife have collected a wide variety of collectable items — everything from grandfather clocks to a toy Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.
He still has his trains and the erector set he had when he was a young boy.
“We pick up different things at antique stores and other places. If something catches our eye, we buy it,” he said.
Neustein admits the spoon has been in his possession for a number of years and it was only recently that he decided to find out more about the spoon.
Neustein said his wife “somewhat dimly” recalls the spoon was part of an inheritance from a well-to-do aunt who had collected antique silver.
Neustein decided to make contact with the Hartington Chamber of Commerce for help in identifying the spoon.
Neustein sent an email, which included two photos of the spoon, to Chamber of Commerce President Karma Schulte in September.
Schulte has forwarded the photos and content of the email to members of the Chamber and a few others, but Neustein has not received any response to his request.
Neustein has gone online and done some research by using a three-part hallmark, the word Sterling and H405 that is on the back of the spoon.
By using the web he learned Gorham, a famous silver smith, was the maker of the spoon.
Gorham Silver was founded in Rhode Island in 1831. The spoon could have been manufactured during 1900.
“The hallmark of Gorham is a lion, an anchor and a letter G,” Neustein said.
He found out the spoon is part of a set of spoons that are made for each month of the year.
“There was a different pattern for each month,” Neustein said. “This spoon is for the month of May – the pattern is Lily of the Valley. There is the faintest hint that this spoon could have been gold-plated.”
Neustein is still interested in solving the mystery surrounding the Hartington spoon.
Why were the words Hartington, Neb., engraved in the bowl of the spoon?
Was a single spoon done or were a number of them made for a celebration?
If someone has some information on the spoon contact the Cedar County News and the information will be routed to Neustein.