Disney sterling silver collector spoons were part of the very first souvenirs ever offered at The Original Disneyland Park which opened back in 1955. Walt Disney World followed suit by offering sterling silver collector spoons during their early years, opening in 1971. The variates of Disneyland sterling silverware included: Sleeping Beauty themed smaller demitasse style "Tea" spoons, larger Five o'clock style "Tea" spoons, sugar shells, motes, and bon bon scoops. Later Disneyland souvenir offerings included two Mickey Mouse demitasse "Tea" spoons one inscribed "Disneyland" and one
uninscribed. There are also at least three varieties of the very scarce Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle letter openers: solid brass 7 3/4" in length and silver plated in both 7 3/4" and 5 5/8" lengths. Walt Disney World we know of only small demitasse sterling silver souvenir "tea" spoons: a Cinderella Castle inscribed "Walt Disney World", a Mickey Mouse "Walt Disney World", a castle logo inscribed "Walt Disney World", and an EPCOT Mickey Ears logo style inscribed "Walt Disney World". All of these Disney souvenir spoons are indexed on this page with links to medium sized obverse and reverse images of each item which in turn link to larger individual images in supplemental full-sized windows. Too much information? :-)
The number of these treasures that are still surviving is hard to estimate. Although Disney sterling sliver souvenir spoons were offered during the early years of both Disney USA resorts and then for the most part, they were phased out by the early 1980s. Today, affordable quality precious metal Disney souvenirs are not common. Their disappearance may have been do a 1980s price spike in the precious metal or maybe a business model change. As many collectors know, the 1980s were a world of stress for many silver collectibles, their sellers, and collectors. The value of silver collectibles increased on one hand, but their availability and affordability decreased on the other. Given the high scrap silver value and the "silver frenzy" of the time, it is hard to estimate the number of silver coins and other silver collectibles, including our nostalgic Disney treasures, that were scrapped, melted or spared. At 1990s Long Beach Coin Shows, this author observed a selection of surviving silver Disney collectibles offered for sale. Some of these items were once held by scrap metal dealers, coin dealers and speculators. Today, the lucky keepsakes that have escaped decades of hazards live on mostly in collections and on cool websites. :-) So yes, for anyone not born with a silver spoon in their mouth, it's not too late to get one! :-)
Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle rings
demitasse and larger five o'clock shown
with standard and spiral styles.
Disney sterling silver spoon rings (link) are shared here as nostalgic precious metal keepsakes. They are handmade from vintage souvenirs that were originally offered during the very earliest years of the first two Disney Resorts. Over the years, many collectors and jewelers have recognized the unique history, quality and rarity of these early Disneyland sterling silver collectibles. Especially in recent years, as in the 1960-70s, handmade quality up-cycled "sustainable" spoon rings have been popular. As a result, many early examples of sterling silver spoon souvenirs have survived the decades by finding new lives as prized Disney themed jewelry. I hope you too will find seeing these treasured silver survivors, some dating back to the very early years of the parks, magical. I know when I see a young Disneyland guest proudly wearing one of these 50+ year old souvenirs, I can't help but wonder... How many memories the souvenir has shared, so far? How many more memories will future heirs add? Related: Disneyland Pressed Coin Jewelry.
The cost of Disney sterling silver spoon ring jewelry generally reflects the scarcity and value of the spoon used as well as the time and expertise of the jeweler. Prices have greatly appreciated over the years as interest in early Disney souvenirs has increased. Demitasse spoon ring sizes: ~6-8. Five o'clock spoon ring sizes: standard style 12+, spiral style 8 to 10. Hallmarks of the spoon used WDP, 1954, ASI etc. add significantly to the value of the ring. (Additional spoon ring images are nested in the Disney sterling silver spoon images below.)
ASI, American Souvenirs Incorporated's triangular ASI logo or hallmark is to may avid collectors evidence of a very early and very collectable Disneyland treasure. As mentioned in a trade publication, a book, a newspaper, and here (Please see our American Souvenirs Incorporated, ASI page.) an early agreement was made between the Disney brothers and American Souvenirs Inc. to provide many if not all of the Disneyland souvenirs. The contract was awarded before the park opened. But by early 1956, things were publicly falling apart. (I have no confirmations, but heard that the agreement had ended before the park even opened.) So seeing an ASI logo makes it easier to accurately date some early Disneyland treasures.... like spoons. :-)
2From original package price tags found on items in my personal collection, old mail order catalogs, and closed auction information from both Van Eaton Galleries and eBay. Values are surely not scientific or definitive.
Disclaimer: I'm far from a Disney silver souvenir spoon expert. But I have found the nostalgic treasures make fun collectibles. With these notes and images I want to share history I've found that may be of interest to others. I hope fellow collectors with greater knowledge of this hobby will chime in to help make this a better resource for all. The sterling silver spoons, motes, scoops, and letter openers known to me at the time of publication are pictured below. Have an addition or correction? Please Contact Boomer.
Open and Closed Gates? Spoons shown here have three different gate or portcullis designs. Here is a link to a poor but magnified image of The three styles of "castle gates" or portcullises to help date and attribute Disney collector spoons.
Pictured are the coarse gates of ASI hallmarked spoons, fine post-ASI gate and the later open gates as detailed on Sleeping Beauty Castle souvenir spoons. Maybe of interest: Many of the very earliest Disneyland souvenirs were marked "ASI". Here is a link to what we have about ASI, American Souvenirs Incorporated and their early relationship with Disneyland.
Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle Letter Openers based on my searches, are extremely scarce. Of the three types we've identified so far, the smaller size silver plated style is the hardest to find and larger size brass letter openers are not much easier, I know of only a half dozen or so of the "less scarce" large silver plated Disneyland letter openers that have been offered publicly. (Note: A brass letter opener under close examination, high magnification showed signs of long term tarnish, but no sign that it has ever been silver plated.) We do not know if any of these letter openers ever had much "onstage" time, that is long term sales. Surely, it seems if they were offered for any significant time, they would be more common. It was suggested that they look sort of lethal. Maybe their store time was limited because of that? True, but in 1950s Disneyland you could take your turn at firing a 22 caliber rifle at targets in the Main Street Penny Arcade. Pocket knives and replica weapons were for sale and all in an amusement park where guests weren't screened on entry. Personally, I'm thinking letter openers weren't a big risk then, but it's only my opinion. Hopefully others will chime in with better recollections of this history.
If you have additions or corrections for fellow collectors, please contact the web master to share them here with credit.