Fabulous antique English Edwardian era solid oak & sterling silver playing cards or gaming box, a wonderful chest with drop front, two decks of playing cards, manuals, chips and 1903 Betjemann & Sons of London Hallmarks! Another of our Paris finds though of English origins. This one made by the world famous Betjemann & Sons as evidenced by the hallmarks on the sterling silver accents. I knew it was great when I came across it but that maker adds even more greatness and, of course, value. Similar to Betjemann's Neo-Gothic oak & brass pieces, we've had a few including book boxes, stationery or letter boxes & holders, tantalus and liqueur or decanter box pieces and more but I believe this is the first playing card box and surely the first with sterling silver accents rather than brass or bronze. In 1812 and at the age of 14, George Betjemann started apprenticing as a cabinet maker with his uncle, Gilbert Slater at his premises on Carthusian Street, London. In 1834, George then joined his father-in-law, William Merrickâs cabinet making business on Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell, London. George brought his sons, George William Betjemann (his eldest) and John Betjemann (grandfather of poet, Sir John Betjeman), to apprentice with him from 1848. He began his own business at 6 Upper Ashby Street, Clerkenwell, London, and with his two sons having completed their apprenticeships in 1855, expanded to 7 Upper Ashby Street shortly after. In 1859, George moved into 36 Pentonville Road, London (their new family home and business residence) where he continued his business, now called George Betjemann & Sons, alongside his two sons. George William never married but instead was âmarriedâ to his work, being a true artist and perfectionist. Their work was on display at the International Exhibition of 1862, and the International Exposition of 1867 in Paris.
Very good condition. No missing or damage silver accents, all bear hallmarks. It has a working lock with key. There is a bit of separation on the right side, you can see that the lid side isn't perfectly flush with the bottom portion but it all closes and locks just fine. Solid, heavy old European oak, no veneers. The inside has all of the original red leather fittings including the base that holds two decks of cards and in the lid there are two pockets that hold the manuals. There may have been an upper tray to hold the game chips but they were just loose in there when I found it. The chips are thick & heavy and appear to be in early celluloid. The cards are surely not original. See pictures for measurements.
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