I recently acquired this set from an estate sale on the east side of Cleveland. This 6 piece set of silver was a promotional item from the “Around The World Shoppers Club” dating back to 1954. The Around-the-World shoppers club was the brainchild of David Marguiles, owner of the Damar mail order company and promised “A SURPRISE PACKAGE FROM A FOREIGN LAND EVERY MONTH!” It also promised knick-knacks from “Merry England,” “Eternal Greece” and “Sweden, the land of Ancient Vikings,” all “intriguingly foreign in appearance.” The cost: $20 for 12 monthly surprises.
Unfortunately, the club ran into trouble, the main problem being late delivery according to a former member as recounted in this article:
People around the world are not Americans. In India, for example, the clocks frequently do not tell the right time, the trains run when the engineers have finished their lunches, and there is little, if any, modern plumbing. And the natives simply have no concept of time as we do…
This set being a promotional item and never available for sale makes it unique and rare. All six pieces are present including the original box and brochure. Taken from the brochure inside the original box: “Exquisite craftsmanship is of course a Florentine trademark, which you can prove for yourself by examinig closely the beautifully turned pieces of Florentine silver which is your gift this month from Around-the-World Shoppers Club. These pieces reflect the spirit of the Renaissance and their design contains its symbols.”
You receive a pickle fork depicting the stately lion of Venice. A butter knife depicting the emperor Julius Caesar. A sugar shell depicting Apollo, the god of the sun. An olive fork depicting Giglio (lily) of Florence. A mustard spoon depicting the fierce griffon from Perugia the scene of the tragic love of Romeo and Juliet. And last you get a dressing serving that depicts Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and their wolf mother.
The set is available in my Etsy shop, Suite 22.