This is a Figural Sterling Matchsafe/Match Safe of a Lady and the Lady is Sarah Bernhardt. This is one of the finest Matchsafes we've owned and we have had some exceptional ones. It measures 2 & 1/2" by 1 & 5/8" and about 5/16" thick. It is in fine condition, no dents, damage, or repairs. It was given to the original owner on September 1st 1887 and is so engraved with " HCW from HCW Sept 1 '87 "( for the date of 1887 )! Another unusual aspect of this safe is that it is suspended from a pin so it hangs from a vest. It has a nice tight fitting lid and a very active spring that keeps it shut tightly. It is marked Sterling and has a Logo of a 4 Leaf Clover which is the Company Hallmark for Howard Sterling Co, Providence, RI. c. 1900. They made at least 2 other portrait match safes including one of John Jay, the first Supreme Court justice and an unidentified pope/cardinal. (this additional information was kindly furnished by a fellow Ruby Lane Dealer......Thank you!) Sarah Bernhardt was born in Paris in 1844. After a successful acting career in France she came to London in 1876 where she quickly established herself as the leading actress of the day. In 1892 she asked Oscar Wilde to write her a play. The result was Salome but while in rehearsal the Lord Chamberlain had the play banned. In 1899 she founded the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris. Although she had a leg amputated in 1915, Sarah Bernhardt continued to appear on the stage until her death in 1923.
Antique Sterling Silver, Jewelry, Napkin Rings, Victorian Objects