An elegant little mid 20th century sterling silver silent butler or handled ashtray made for Sanborns Mexico City. The hinged lid is plain except for the thick cast silver thumb latch which features two overlapping starfish (sea stars). The box sits on four ball feet and has a turned hardwood handle. The underside of the lid has a ridge so that when the top is down the box closes snugly. The bottom is stamped SANBORNS MEXICO STERLING and Sanborns trademark, three owls, representing Frank Sanborn and his sons, Francis and Jonathan.
The piece measures 6 1/2" across the handle, 4 1/8" wide, and 2 1/4" high. The interior of the box measures 3 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 5/8" which would make a good size for regular filter cigarettes if one wanted to use it as a tabletop cigarette box. It would also be great for small treats or valuables. Weight is 189.2 grams which includes over 5 troy ounces of silver. The handle has some wear; it was probably black originally.
Sanborns, the retail company, was founded in Mexico City on June 19, 1903, by California immigrants Walter and Frank Sanborn. Sanborns later became known for its silver items after Frederick “Fred” Davis partnered with Frank Sanborn in 1930. Davis was an American designer who came to Mexico City in 1910, years before William Spratling. Sanborns stimulated the trade by using workmen to fashion silver to its own designs.
Sanborns Mexico Sterling Silent Butler Wood Handle Mid 1900s