Original Iraq War Saddam Hussein Silver Plated Oval Pattern Dessert Fork with Iraq Coat of Arms - Manufactured by Christofle of France
Original Items: Very Few Available. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, U.S. soldiers captured and occupied Saddam Hussein's palaces. Much of the State Silver was taken by soldiers as "spoils of war" and brought back to the United States. However, some of it remained in Iraq, some was later returned, and those pieces were auctioned off by the Iraqi government many years later.
These particular dessert forks were obtained recently through Al Finjan Antiques of Baghdad, Iraq. These items were sold legally and do not violate Law No. 55 of 2002 For The Antiquities & Heritage of Iraq. Items such as these were legally obtained from an antiquities dealer with an exporters license in Iraq and are not considered “spoils of war”. A copy of the letter from Al Finjan Antiques as well as the translation is included with purchase.
Each fork measures about 5 1/2" long and is silver plated with an oval-shaped handle. We can tell these are dessert forks as they have an extra wide left tine to provide leverage in cutting firm dessert, such as baklava. The forks retain most of the original plating and all of the artwork is still visible. The only damage or discrepancy would be the plating wear and tarnishing.
The handle of each fork features a beautiful roll-stamped Iraq Coat of Arms that was used from 1965 to 1991. Roll Stamping is similar to Impression Marking, but involves a flat die and a round part. The flat die is pressed into the round part as it rolls across the periphery. Rolling a die over a part creates less stress since all of the pressure is not being applied to the marking area at the same time.
The bottom root of the forks have Christofles stamping and hallmarks. The stamping farthest to the left reads (left side worn away):
Christofle is a goldsmith and tableware company, founded in Paris in 1830 by Charles Christofle. The company is known for having introduced electrolytic gilding and silver plating in France in 1842. The company was bought in 2012 by one of its shareholders, the Chalhoub family.
The hallmark on the left is the Goldsmith’s Mark (Depuis 1935) and the right hallmark is the Quality Hallmark that was used from 1935-1983.
The plating does have the expected tarnish and would clean up and look lovely in your Global War on Terror collections!
Collectors should not buy pieces without a provenance — a history — and supporting documents. Export and import documents are particularly important in these cases. It’s critical to understand that these pieces were legally exported from its country of origin, Iraq, and legally imported here.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was an Iraqi politician who served as the fifth president of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflicts between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company and independent banks, eventually leaving the banking system insolvent due to inflation and bad loans. Through the 1970s, Saddam consolidated his authority over the apparatus of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy grow rapidly. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.
Saddam formally took power in 1979, although he had already been the de facto head of Iraq for several years. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Saddam's rule was a repressive dictatorship notorious for its severe human rights abuses. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam's government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam's invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam. U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to Al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and the country's first democratic elections were held. After his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam Hussein took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006.
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