Splendid and large, this is a mid-19th century (Napoleon III) masterpiece gaming chest by Vervelle, one of the finest names in French cabinetry and boxes, coffret, caskets in all 19th century Europe, and it bears the maker's mark engraved on the lock plate, "Vervelle Aine" (Paris). Elaborate boulle lid with a heavy cast border trim in a shell motif, all that color against the Napoleon III era's popular 'ebonized' finished wood makes it feel more like a jewel than a box. As beautiful as it is closed, it's a thrill to open at your gaming table - loaded with hundreds of gaming chips (jeton) in mother of pearl. They're in lift-out sections for 4 players, and there is a lift-out lathe-turned round ante cup, as well. The front 2 compartments are meant for 2 decks of playing cards, slightly narrow for modern decks, but are holding 2 antique game counters, so just fabulous as a bonus. Large at 12 1/4" long x 9" and sleek 2 1/4" tall, closed. All that mother of pearl is heavy and will be packed outside the chest for shipment.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. I see nothing missing in all that boulle work, and the edging is, itself, a work of art. There are no broken gaming chips. I have not counted them - it's loaded, however. Beautiful box! I can point out there are a few lacquer hairlines visible on the top lid, not much but somewhat typical of this era and finish. Very slight warp of lid, it closes tightly with the working lock and original key which is still with the box. Top quality maker, top quality large chest! Ranks with other Master ebenistes, TAHAN, P. Sormani, Giroux, Aucoc.