Superb Antique French Game Box, Faux Tortoise Shell Boulle, Complete with Chips

The beautiful old boulle-worked lid is in remarkably fine condition without a loss or lift to detract from it's 1800s appeal or it's value as antique. 'Boulle', named for the French originator of this style of marquetry in cabinetry and furniture making in France, Charles-Andre' Boulle (11 November 1642 – 28 February 1732). We'd expect to find that a box of this quality would have a Tahan or Vervelle, or Giroux or Paul Sormani signature lock plate, such is the quality, but this one does not. That does not mean it might not be from one of these most lauded 19th century makers, since not all were signature pieces. But it means that the price is a little better than it might otherwise have been, were the signature there. Yes, it's true, the TAHAN name alone would add from 25% to 100% to the value. That aside, this is a superb and large sized Napoleon III era (c. 1850-1870, roughly) box which retains not only the original gambling chips within (view our images) but also retains the working lock and original key. Rare to find, this one lacks only the two decks of playing cards to bring it to your table. One lift-out tray in the center of the box is for the 'pot', and the open compartments top and bottom center are for decks of playing cards. The interior would have originally had 3 more of the lift-out trays for gambler's chips, each containing a colored set of the natural wafer chips, to be lifted and placed before the players at a card table. Isn't it rich, opulent in look!

Very good to excellent condition for type and age, without any losses to the faux faux shell and brass marquetry or brass pencil edging that so captures the viewer. The engraved brass alternates with tortoise to create a remarkably fine surface on the top of the gaming box, and while the requisite crazing can be seen in the old shell, there are no losses or lifts to any of the delicate marquetry work. There is only a dent on the monogrammed cartouche, not bad, but bearing note. The box is a fine quality one throughout, and were it not for the loss of 3 of its interior gambling chip trays, it would be immaculately complete. Alas, 3 of the 4 original trays no longer are with the box. These colored natural wafer gaming chips shown are included, though we did not add them all up (please don't ask). All you need to add are the 2 decks of playing cards and perhaps a tassel on that original working key.

Item ID: 1211gamebox4

$1,895 $1,516 USD SALE

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Antiques & Uncommon Treasure


Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA   

Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European

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Member since 2002

HOLIDAY SALE: French Sterling 25% off - one week only! Shop NOW!

Shipping/Handling:To Be Determined
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