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With a remarkable array of traveler's tools, implements, items still perfectly preserved within, this late 1700s French travel vanity case is a fabulous find. I just love the old sets like this - "necessaire" as they're called, because of course they house all the necessities of vanity within the smallish and elegant travel case. Leather outer, it's still intact with the original old mirror in the lid, the original perfectly fitted and matched tools of vanity "pour le toilette" (for the grooming), to include toothbrush and tooth powders 2-sided case, a perfume flask and hair brush, scissors and needle case, and also bodkin, surgical sharp tool combo and an ear wax spoon and stiletto combo PLUS the most rare of all - a tongue scraper. Yes, that long thing you might decide is a paper knife or something is actually a dental/oral hygiene item of the 1700s, and to use it you would hold it and 'bow' it between thumb and index finger so it forms almost a 'U' shape, then use that to reach in and scrape the tongue clean. Odd, isn't it. But that's what it is. In all my years of collecting and dealing, I think this is only the 4th one I've ever seen and 3rd we've owned. The 4th was in a museum collection. Isn't it wonderful to see a set so complete. Who would have owned this? Well, more than likely it would have been sold to a Royal who visited France, or to a high military officer under Napoleon, and would have been offered for sale along with similarly exquisite French sterling silver sets and boxed 'necessaire' from among the boutiques that flank the gardens and promenade of the old Palais Royal. That was a gathering place for such wealthy titled people of around the world, and the goods from there are always most sought after today. The quality is the key. No ordinary French person or European would have ever been able to own something so grand as this. It's been tucked away for about 2 centuries now, and comes forward in such fine form, we suspect it has been used not much at all, if at all. A real treasure!
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, the set is filled with sterling silver implements over which a layer of 18k gold has been plated, and called 'vermeil'. The silver is solid .950/1000 and the marks are late 1700s to no later than 1809. The only flaw I have to note is slight wear or polishing loss to the gold here or there, and the placement of a leather hinge panel on backside so it will close tightly (seam would have been thin leather like the cover, has long since split and is now operative again). A fabulous set for display, or go ahead and use it if you wish. All original implements are still with the set.
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Antique 1700s French Palais Royal Sterling Silver Vanity for Officer, Traveler, all Implements intact
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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