Very fine & rare antique French hallmarked sterling silver 6" wide single desk top inkwell, a lovely piece with remnants of an 18k gold 'vermeil' finish, ornate Classical or Empire style laurel band & garland pattern or decoration and attached tray base! We're always on the lookout for great old inkwells and writing pieces but most of what you find in sterling are English pieces, very rarely do we come across a French made piece for some reason. This just happens to be one though, just in from France and gorgeous! The inkwell itself in an urn or baluster shape with acorn style finial and laurel garland draped around the body. You can see some signs of the vermeil finish remaining in the recessed areas, but most of it has been polished off and so it's nearly entirely with a silver appearance. Several spots where it bears the French Minerve or Minerva hallmark, the tiny number "1" within those marks means the entire piece is in .950 silver (95% pure and higher than the .925 standard for "sterling" silver). The silversmith marks are only partially legible, a star with "H", so it's impossible (or nearly so) for me to find a definitive reference to the maker or narrow down the date of manufacture. A truly wonderful & rare treasure, don't miss it!
Very good condition. There is a faint dimple in the pen tray base just above the left side ball foot but no other dents, damage or repairs to note. There is a faint bit of visible 18k gold 'vermeil' in the recessed areas and I'm not sure if it was originally entirely vermeil. It is missing an inner glass ink pot. See pictures for weight and measurements.