Étuis or small personal portable holders are probably the most delicious examples of those antique items known as ‘Objets de Vertu’. They are totally satisfying, as they are exquisite externally and then fitted internally with one or many intriguing items of an earlier age. This marvelous example is about as good as one can get for a sterling silver piece. Dating from the early to mid-18th century, it has detailed Rococo repoussé scrolling pattern on the body and top of the etui as well as reeding to the top, bottom and opening sections. When opened, it is a delight to find its original silver pierced frame complete with all its tools. Of particular note are the handles within handles for attachment of the screw-on implements. The folding scissors are also quite extraordinary. The two cylindrical handles fit inside each other with a central cavity for a needle case. The screw-attachable implements are a two-tined fork, a steel knife blade (labelled ‘Guest’) and a pen knife blade. As well, there are steel tweezers with ear-spoon, scissors with folding handles, a notebook, a bodkin, a steel-nibbed pen and a pencil. The silver is unmarked but tests for sterling silver quality. The condition is excellent for age. This piece would be a phenomenal addition to any collection of special early silver, ‘Objet de Vertu’ or for those with particular interest in early eating, writing and sewing implements. Length of étui case 3.5 ins (9cm). Weight 86 grams. This item appears in my book, "Antique Boxes, Inside and Out" on pages 88 and 293.
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