Lovely antique French carnet du bal, or necessaire; a little hand-held case for calling cards and dance card, or note card, calendar. The sterling silver overlay is lovely, and is accented by the inclusion of the original sterling silver mechanical pencil or stylus which, when in place, forms the closure pin for the case. Dates Napoleon III, c. 1850-70, roughly, and has a personal monogram engraved there (you can make it out however you hope to, see images). Turned one way it might be an "H", another it might be an "F", or other. These were often made as the memento/gift presented at a ball, with intention of a lady noting the names inside of the men who spoke for her during the evening's dances, hence the name "dance card", but it would have also been fitted with an intaglio printed calendar for that year and would have included a small notepad for use beyond the evening of the ball. They're so collectible, lovely to display on a tabletop or within a glass-topped table vitrine, and are a splendid reminder of an elegant time long past. They are, as well, the forerunner of the 1980s "daytimer" and today's smart phones, really. Think about it.
Very good condition for age and type. I can find just 2 very very tiny nips to the mother of pearl, and I've marked them with an "x" on photo to make sure you see them. The pearlescent shimmer is fabulous on this one and ranges in pink to green spectrum, depending upon the light. Hard to capture, but gorgeous in light. The silver has very slight loss, look closely for any uneven spots in the symmetrical design. it is firmly affixed, and the pen is in fine form. Interior is the old original moire silk lining, and there are splits at the sides of the fold-open card pouch, as visible in our images. Otherwise not much damage nor deterioration there. The case is 3.75" x 2.5" and is 3/8" deep when closed and empty. A lovely old beauty!
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