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IMPORTANT antique French sterling silver 24pc (+) luncheon or entremet sized flatware set, a 3pc setting for eight including mother of pearl handled knives and with highly ornate Louis XVI style pattern! All of the forks & spoons with armorial style heraldic medallions, a lion rampant at the top and two interlaced "F"s encircled by a belt themed framing. All pieces but the knives bear the French Minerve or Minerva hallmark, the tiny number "1" with in those marks means they're in .950 silver (95% pure and higher than the .925 standard for "sterling" silver). The silversmith marks are for Orfevre Queille, the style used by grandfather Pierre, father Jean-Pierre and lastly son Eugene Queille and date from 1808 to 1930.
Of true interest and value in this set is that they were once the property of the Victorian era French President Félix Faure!! I'll add a bit of the most notorious history here but do a quick internet search and you'll see. The set itself is exquisite but the naughty story and history that comes along with them is priceless :). You see, Félix François Faure (1841–1899) was President of France from 1895 until his death in 1899. Faure died suddenly from apoplexy in the Élysée Palace on February 16th, 1899 while engaged in "sexual activities" in his office with his 30yr old mistress Marguerite Steinheil. It was widely reported that Felix Faure had his fatal brain hemorrhage while Steinheil was fellating him, but the exact nature of their sexual intercourse is unknown and such reports may have stemmed from various 'jeux de mots' (puns) made up afterward by his political opponents. There has also been speculation that Mme Steinheil poisoned Faure, mostly after 1908 when she was accused of killing her then husband and given the nickname "the Red Widow". In any event, a fun but dark bit of history goes along with this set. Perfect pieces to get the conversation going, wouldn't you say?
Felix Faure's tomb is one of the most visited in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and is familiar to all (published in many tourism books). A full-sized bronze of the President lies atop his marble tomb, fully clothed and obviously dead. A deep verdigris green to the bronze on all but his crotch, whose contents have been rubbed by many a visitor, at the promise of good luck. I know it's a little bit tawdry, but the story is one still easily on the lips of the French (no pun intended), and a crazy-fun story to share with your intimate dinner guests, should you be so inclined. RARE set! RARE story!
Very good to excellent condition. Some faint knife marks on the fork tines and a bit of scuffing visible here and there but nothing you wouldn't expect given their age. The knives are not original to the flatware but look wonderful with them so we decided to group them. They have solid mother of pearl handles, the original steel blades and are of the same general age as the other pieces. There are 12pc knives with one pearl handle having a crack, some visible age tarnish and/or corrosion on the blades. See pictures for all individual weights and measurements.
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RARE Antique Sterling Silver 24pc Flatware Set, Armorial Heraldry: Owned by French President Félix Faure
$2,097 $2,995 SALE PENDING
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