Absolutely spectacular & rare antique French Napoleon III era Maison Cardeilhac marked 48pc table knife set, a 2pc setting for eighteen with 12pc sterling silver bladed fruit or dessert knives and in the original fitted & marked storage and/or presentation box! WOW! Complete, as elegant as can be and all in nearly pristine condition, age, etc. considered. One of the finest knife sets we've had the pleasure to offer in years and years. Faux handles with incised or engraved & enamel filled monograms on all, perhaps "AW". Sterling silver caps & collars on the handles with a beautiful bow, ribbon & foliate theme, the sterling bladed knives with vine, grapes and foliage accepting on the blades themselves, fabulous! The other 36 knives with the original pre-stainless steel blades so they may have a slight bit of age tarnish and/or corrosion marks visible but that really just adds to the appeal in my opinion. All with the crown topped Legion d'Honneur or Legion of Honor marks on the blades, along with "Cardeilhac", the sterling blades with the French Minerve or Minerva hallmark, the tiny number "1" within those marks means they're in .950 silver (95% pure and higher than the .925 standard for "sterling" silver). Silversmith marks on them, of course, for Maison Ernest Cardeilhac, Paris circa 1851-1904. A set that really only comes along very rarely, don't miss them! Maison Cardeilhac was founded by Antoine-Vital Cardeilhac in 1804. He traded at 14 and then 4 Rue du Roule, Paris and specialized in silver cutlery and table ware. During the 19th century the firm was handed down from father to son, Armand-Edouard, and continued to produce, with great success. Maison Cardeilhac exhibited at national and international exhibitions and received many awards, beginning with the Bronze Medal in 1823 and Silver Medals in 1827, 1834 and again at the Parisian Universal Exhibition in 1867. They were ultimately honored with a Gold Medal at the 1878 Universal Exhibition which gave them international renown. Grandson Ernest introduced gold and silversmithing to the firm. He interned at Harleux and won a silver medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle. Ernest Cardeilhac was the president of the jury for the cutlery section at the Exposition Universelle Internationale of 1900, and examples of the work of Cardeilhac were displayed at the Musee D'Orsay. The firm also exhibited gold and silver pieces done in collaboration with Lucien Bonvallet at the 1900 exposition. After more than a century of masterful success, the company was acquired by Christofle in 1951 who continued the Cardeilhac patterns well into the 20th century.
Very good condition. A few with hairlines visible in portions of the faux handles and some wear and/or fading to some of the enamel filled monograms. As noted, the steel blades are all pre-stainless so they will have some age and/or tarnish marks but there are no chips, rough edges or bent/damaged tips. Sterling blades are also as near pristine as can be. The box is also in great shape, original in black leatherette with two layers inside, both original clasps and a gold embossed label inside the lid that reads "Cardeilhac, 91 Rue de Rivoli, Paris". See pictures for all individual weights and measurements.
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