Peter Bentzon Coin Silver Teaspoon(s)



One of a pair of American coin silver teaspoons made by the only free black silversmith in slave era America. (These spoons may be purchased separately or as a pair.) That silversmith is Peter Bentzon of Philadelphia. Peter Bentzon learned silversmithing as an apprentice in Philadelphia from 1799 to 1806. He lived and worked on both the island of St. Croix and in Philadelphia. Existing examples of Bentzon’s work is considered to be very rare as only about 3 dozen pieces are known to have survived. With so few pieces available, work by Bentzon is far more rare than say other silversmiths that worked in coin silver like Paul Revere, Thomas Fletcher or Meyer Meyers.

There probably were other black/African-American silversmiths at the time, but those silversmiths were working under the stamp of their masters, so being able to identify their work is lost. Bentzon was a free black working in Philadelphia between 1817 and 1849 and his name does appear in the 1850 census for Philadelphia. Bebtzon was born in 1783. The exact date of his death is not known, so most will simply say that he died after 1850. Bentzon had his own stamp and marked his own pieces with the “P BENTZON’ mark as on these spoons, or with a “PB” mark. Bentzon is thought to have been supported and patronized by the Philadelphia Quakers and other free blacks.

Each spoon is approximately five and seven eighths inches long. The spoons do have matching monograms of “JLM” or possibly “JIM.” Each spoon has a clear “P. BENTZON” stamp on it’s reverse.

More information is available about Peter Bentzon in an article about this man in an issue of the MAGAZINE ANTIQUES.

SKU: PET1022314007 Category: