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French Silver Match Safe /Matchsafe of Venus Rising from the Sea - Circa 1900
This French silver match safe is in superb condition. The front contains a well designed Venus Rising Nude with the back being un-patterned with no presentation (owner's initials/name). The design is done with swirling lines giving the waves movement to support Venus. Note her well rounded curves to her body as well as minute raised dots with recessed centers for the illusion of foam from the waves. On the top left you will find two sea gulls and on the lower left is a name. I can plainly see Jouant with my eyes and Jouan: with a loupe, but a colon does not make sense. Jouan is a French last name but I could find no artist for a previous century listed. There was a Jules Jouant circa 1900 who had items in bronze, pewter and silver (IE: a fabulous Art Nouveau silver cigarette case). Jouant is also the French for "playing" so it could be a title instead of an artist.
The silver is in excellent condition with no rips, dents, holes, cracked seams, nasty scratches, abrasions or repairs. The lid's original hinge is in working order without repair. The lid has it's proper interior closure mechanism and has good drag and spring for opening and closing. When you close the safe the lid is firmly closed with a proper alignment of rims, there is no wiggle & it stays closed when safe is shaken. With close inspection you can find a very faint, shallow surface indentation a hair less then 1/16" in diameter at the bottom right corner. I am assuming the pattern definition has some very, very, light wear to the higher points of design as the top of her hair has no definition lines like the sides do and her nose is just a bit flat. The striker ridges are extremely well defined.
The inside bottom lip has the marks as seen in photo # 5. They are a diamond cartouche that is the makers mark, "DEPOSE" ("registered") and two identical crab touchmarks for a minimum of 800 silver from somewhere in France, but not Paris. European and English match safes were often shorter then American safes and this one's measurements are fairly standard. It measures 1 5/8" tall x 1 7/16" wide x 5/16" deep. A super piece in great condition for a match safe collection.
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Richard W. Bell Owner - Christine Clark Mgr., Orange, CA
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