The term “salver” is derived from the custom of presenting food and drink to a servant who would ensure it was safe from treachery by tasting it. By the 1600s, a salver or serving platter, was a common part of tableware. This salver is far from common, however. It is made of gold and decorated with intricate patterns hand-chiseled by a masterful artisan. Two marks on the back of the platter, though difficult to read, establish the plate’s origin in the New World and indicate Spain’s quinto tax had been paid.
This particular treasure from the sunken Spanish treasure galleon Atocha, may not be the most politic of images to share in a post about a luncheon with former colleagues, but it does speak to some trepidation that I had about attending. As it turned out, it was all for naught. No one showed and I was seated at a big table. Fortunately, the place never filled. After half-an-hour I ordered lunch for myself. It did feel odd sitting alone at such a big table. Eventually, a familiar face arrived. Ken told me that this week’s lunch had been cancelled and he was there only, because he needed his car serviced nearby. He ordered too and we had a nice quiet lunch together. He took my email and promised to forward it to the guy that organizes these things, so that next time I can get the word too.