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RARE Antique 1700s 12k Gold Sealing Wax Etui, Seal is 42.15 grams, with Shagreen Case, Etui.
What you see here, this 5" long 12k solid gold tube-like case, is a traveler's gold sealing wax case and the end's engraved seal tells us it belonged to a Marquis (see the crown). The Monogram beneath that crown is either a B and L or an R and L. Perhaps with some research we could figure out what Royal titled person this one originally was made for. there are some marks on the tube, but they won't photograph clearly enough. We know from museum research that it is a 1700s item, and I think those marks would tell us that it is French made, though it's more usual to have 18k solid gold in the old French ones so perhaps the marks are Dutch or ? I tested it and it does acid test at 12k rather than 18k. The weight of the gold case is 42.15 grams, so you understand it is heavy in the hand. One would expect to find a sealing wax candle held within, but there is not one now. That's what the etui seal is made to do: house the sealing wax within the seal body. Slides smoothly. The old marks are always found on the long lip of a case like this and they sliding over centuries has dulled it to the point of unreadability, but there are punch marks on it just as there should be. Again, acid tested at 12k solid gold: 42.15 grams. It is 5" long.
The green leather case is "shagreen" or "galuchat" which is the exalted fine leather made from belly of stingray, and this quality case also indicates early rather than later, 1700s into earliest 1800s. The later cases usually show a larger scale, and then eventually they turned to black shark skin, instead, to make the cases for traveler's goods like drafting sets. This is early, fitted, fabulous. Prior to Napoleon's era, it's more likely from the Louis XVI era (1760-70s). Museum quality all the way.
Very good to excellent for age and type, the gold etui has been used but remains in such fine form (see images). The shagreen etui is also in very good form but the clasp to the push-button opener is lost so it will not clasp closed. Still, it's rare to find these very old ones that are not torn and gouged, damaged. This one is very very nice throughout. A bit of fading to the green of the case, but extremely fine scale on this one. Belly of a baby stingray, no doubt. The shagreen case is a valuable antique in its own right and fits the seal perfectly.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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