Hand carved (oak) paper knife

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Hand carved (oak) paper knife

I was an impoverished Literature student in Sheffield in 1984 and was browsing the junk shops for a birthday present for Liz, then my girlfriend now my wife. I found this little piece of handcarved oak in the form of a paper knife with her name, Lizzie, carved into it. I think I paid about a pound for it. I bought it and it wasn't until I flipped it over I saw the date 1776 carved into the other side. While the American Revolution was raging and Adam Smith was publishing the Wealth of Nations, while the whole of Britain was in turmoil with the Industrial Revolution, some happy swain took time to whittle his love this token. But why a paper knife? Did he expect to have to write to her? Was he leaving her to seek his fortune elsewhere? Was he going for a soldier? Did he ever get back to her?

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Probably the Sheffield area




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