A superb gaming chest from the Napoleon III era (c.1850-70s) and obviously by quality, made by one of the very best makers, too. Even though the lock plate is unmarked on this one, the quality is all there. That elevates both the history and the value of this elegant box and set, of course, as would it if it bore the name TAHAN, Vervelle, Paul Sormani. Those were perhaps the 4 finest names in such opulent boxes and goods, each attaining highest honors at Expos and each makers to Kings, Emperors, the elite of the era. One can only guess who might have once enjoyed gaming with this set. If only it would tell us its story. We have no provenance to speak of. The gaming chips and the old antique playing cards, which are themselves quite valuable, are all included with the box. The box is mostly in richly burled veneers with kingwood & brass strip inlays and ebonized outer framing with brass edging. Stunning fine old wood, inlaid beautifully with top boulle style cartouche of leaves on the fine and center medallion with "E.L.' monogram. The gaming chips (jetons) appear to be the old originals though surely some, as with the playing cards, have gone missing over the past 100 or so years. There are 76 rectangular shaped pieces, 38 smaller rectangles and 40 round pieces. Of the playing cards, two decks with one having blue backs and the other pink backs. There are 42 blue and 32 pink remaining including a host of the face cards, very fun.
Very good condition throughout. No lift or loss to the inlay cartouche nor the stringing. Just a gorgeous box, all in all. No warp, closes smoothly and has a key. All stringing is complete, too. The interior is fitted out already for your gaming with all you see therein including the lift-out rosewood chip trays. The rear canted corners have a bit of splitting and black or ebonized veneer loss (visible in images). Measurements noted on the photos (12.25" x 9.25" and 2.75" in total height when closed.
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