Exquisite late 19th to early 20th century French .800 silver liquor flask. The tapered body is crafted of quality cut crystal, decorated with an all over wheel cut faceted honeycomb pattern. Surmounted with gilt vermeil .800 silver mounts embellished with a hammered finish. Comprising of a silver lid, collar and detachable drinking cup attached to the base. Retains a glass stopper. Measures 4 1/8" length. Hallmarked with the French head of the wild boar, in use from 1838 to indicate a silver content of .800/1000. The mark was typically used on small objects of at least 80% pure silver content, close to .925 sterling. Bearing maker's marks for silversmith Louis Baudet, active 1882-1935 at 14 rue des Archives, Paris. In overall good antique condition. Some general wear to the gilt vermeil finish commensurate with use. There is a tight hairline on the inside mouth of the bottle, not visible with the stopper and lid in place. A small nick on the bottom portion of the flask, not visible when the cup is attached, and a couple of fleabites hidden among the facet cut pattern.
Sometimes mistaken for a perfume bottle, bottles such as these were originally serviceable as portable flasks indented for liquor, 'spirits', absinthe or tonics and herbals. Though certainly usable for perfume if desired and are perfect to display among scent bottle collections. These flasks could easily hold a substantial amount of one's favorite liquor, to be served in the detachable tumbler or drinking cup at the base and ideal for a 'shot' of whiskey or flavored liqueur. These highly collectible 'spirit' flasks are known as carriage flasks, handy for short travel and easily stow-able in a purse or pocket during a night out at the theatre or opera. Also referred to as a flacon a eau de melisse, after a type of herbal 'spirits' similar to absinthe made from lemon balm favored for its fresh citrus taste and used as a tonic against migraines. A convenient accessory for a suitable "restoratif" on a cold carriage journey or at a tedious social event.
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Quality Antiques, Sterling Silver, Porcelain & Decorative Arts