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The tradition of giving christening, or baptism, presents has a long pedigree. Its origins derive from the wish to give children a good start in life, so a small gift of money, or a valuable item was a much-appreciated initial investment in the child's future. The gift of silver apostle spoons is a tradition that dates back to the Tudor era, and is thought to be the origin of the expression "born with a silver spoon in his mouth".
By the Victorian era, these traditions had coalesced into a range of presents that were considered suitable, because they perpetuated the notion of investment. Christening presents were intended to have intrinsic value, and so the custom of giving a gift of sterling silver evolved.