By Roger Noons
“How do you know?”
“The man in the shop said.”
“Said what?” sighed my father.
“He said it was over a hundred years old,” I replied.
“Ah and I always taught you that a true antique is something made before 1830.”
“Yes and you also told me that irrespective of whether it’s old, to only pay what it’s worth to me, which is what I did.”
There was silence while he turned the spoon over and over in his fingers.
“How much did you pay?”
“Thirty … euros.”
“What’s that in proper money?”
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” he grudgingly allowed, reaching for his loupe. “What year do you reckon?”
“I think it’s Chester, 1890, it’s a capital G.”
“Any thoughts on the maker?”
“HJS, I doubt it’s anyone of note, could well have been an apprentice. After all, it’s only a spoon.”
“Yes, but it’s attractive, I’ll give you that. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad a buy.” He removed the magnifier and blinked half a dozen times, smiled and added. “I taught you well.”
“So you agree with the date?”
“Certainly looks that way.” That was as definite as I ever got from my father.
It was two weeks later, when I visited him again at his cottage by the lake. After the preliminaries, I handed him a presentation bag,
“What’s this?” he frowned.
He withdrew the bottle of malt whisky. “Cragganmore, my favourite and eighteen year old too. Thank you Son, have you won the Lottery?”
“No Dad, but you remember that spoon, the one I showed you the last time I was here?”
“The Chester one?”
“I took it to a fair, in Stratford on Avon. Sold it for £250.”
“You never did? Who was the buyer?”
“A collector of individual silver spoons. He has more than a thousand, he told me. When I showed him the date mark for 1825, a capital G, he agreed to my valuation.”
“That was never 1825, we decided it was around 1890, didn’t we?”
“Yes, but when I explained to Harrison Jeffers, from New York, that I wasn’t sure, he told me he was an expert and insisted on paying the higher price.”
“Well, I’ll be damned! I taught you even better than I thought.”
As the sommelier pulled the cork in a restaurant on a cruise ship departing Barcelona, Mr Jeffers handed the spoon to a well known millionairess.
“Oh Harrison, how kind you are. It has my initials on it.”
“My dear, that’s why I bought it for you … and it’s antique.”
Roger Noons, who lives in England’s West Midlands, writes film scripts as well as short stories and poetry. His work has been published in numerous anthologies and in 2018, 75 of his 300 words or less flash fiction pieces were published under the title Slimline Tales.