Fabulous & rare antique Victorian era Russian hallmarked .875 solid silver 4.5" cigar, cigarette or cheroot case in the highly unique form of a billfold, purse or handbag with ornate niello decoration, gold plated or vermeil interior and wonderful condition! I've had one similar piece in the past 20 years in the business and it sold immediately, I'm sure this one will also. The top and front panels open via paint hinges on each of the curved sides, the interior gold plated with a sliding fitting to hold the cigars and doubles as a match striker. The niello in a near checkered pattern and covering all sides. Niello pieces begin as simple silver and the decoration is either engraved or etched into the surface. An alloy of silver, copper, lead, and sulfur is then rubbed into the engraved pattern and then fired, hence the darkened areas that remain after polishing. The hallmarks inside date the piece to 1857 with cyrillic silversmith mark "фB" (FB) but I've not been able to find a reference as of yet. It also bears the Russian zolotnik "84" marking, referring to .875 or better silver content (87.5% pure so just under the .925 standard for "sterling" silver). A wonderful & rare piece, don't miss it!
Very good condition. As you can see in the images, there is some wear to the niello around the turn clasp and a few small spots on the back. The vermeil interior does have some wear and/or fading and some darkened tarnish spots. No other dents, damage or repairs. See pictures for weight and measurements.