The French billet doux, a fabulous "story" piece, these tubes were not (as sometimes mistaken) cigar cases, but were the transport tubes into which notes or correspondence (traditionally love notes - billet doux meaning sweet notes) from the time of Marie-Antoinette and before. This one is 19th century, and a beautifully crafted burled wood with a polished elegant single center band of ebony (one small chip) and end trim roundels to match, delicately turned on lathe. One can easily imagine it a 1770s courtier gentleman's billet-doux. Very interesting subject, indeed.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, these date to late 1700s to mid-1800s. One would roll or scroll a document and place inside, the case would be closed and sealed with a sealing wax daub and pressed imprint to insure it was not opened en route. This one seems not to have ever been used and the only flaw I can fid is that very tiny chip on the ebony center band (visible in our images to review). One could, ostensibly, consider using it as an interesting cigar case, I suppose. But the actual story of these is much more fascinating, isn't it. No chips, no cracks, no loss to note. Measurements noted on the photos for your review, but this one is 5 3/8" long, closed, and 7/8" diameter. On both end tips, delicately turned wood trim dots in contrasting dark wood set it off with such elegance. Wonderful in the hand! This one is 4.75" long when closed and is 7/8" diameter.
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