What is this silver thing?

evanboneMarch 31, 2011

I believe this to be a cigarette case but I don't quite understand the chain around the top. I haven't seen it on any other one. Any help? It is sterling and here are the hallmarks...

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lindac

the chain at the top is so the lady can put her finger through the ring and won't lose it.
No indication of size....could it be a v esta case?
Can't read the mark....does it say 925 in the first mark picture?
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:28AM
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antiquesilver

Whatever it is, it's sterling & made by Gorham: that top mark photo is the Lion-anchor-G stamp.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Ideefixe

I think it's too narrow to be a cigarette case. Isn't it a visiting card case?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:56AM
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igloochic

I'd agree given the visable size (you can provide the real size and that could change my mind) but it appears to be a calling card case. It is either a finger chain or a chatelaine piece (the ring would attach to the chatelaine and all other pieces would have the same ring).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:54AM
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colleenoz

My first thought was that it was a chatelaine piece.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:51PM
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evanbone

The chain is a total of apx 13". It appears to be permanently fixed to the case. The case is just over 3.5" tall by 2.5" wide by 5/16" thick.

Can anyone cipher the hallmarks?

What does the 20 mean. It is on the side opposite the hallmarks.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:24PM
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antiquesilver

Most likely, 20 is a number given by Gorham to represent a certain style or item. As I stated above, Lion-Anchor-G is Gorham's stamp used on sterling.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:50AM
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lindac

How does it open?
Researched the Gorham mark and found it to be 1852 to 1865. That puts it well before the era of ladies cigarette cases.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: Gorham marks

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:44AM
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evanbone

the top picture is the back of the object. From that view you can see the hinge on the left side where "lid" opens.

Now I understand about the hallmark. I thought the original post stated the "G" meant it was Gorham. So the "20" is basically a SKU or item number?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:29AM
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antiquesilver

The '20' was only meaningful to Gorham; in the series of card holders or chatelaines they made, perhaps this represented a particular blank/shape or decoration. It's a really nice piece with engine turned design on the background & looks like hand engraving around the cartouche area.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:46AM
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evanbone

any guestimates on a dollar value since I can't find another on anywhere to compare? No april fool's- lol!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:37AM
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antiquesilver

No idea if this price is representative of value but it's the only similar item that I found online. No ring for a chatelaine, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Similar Australian piece

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:21PM
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lazy_gardens

http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-EA-Bliss-VANITY-CHATELAINE-Gold-Gilt-Filigree-/390298962370

It's a calling card holder meant to be attached to a chatelaine. Well-bred women always had their calling cards ready to exchange with other well-bred women.

Chatelaines were hooked onto the woman's belt for easy access and changing from one costume to another.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:30PM
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lindac

I found several similar things on Ruby Lane....asking $150 to $350..or so.
Remember....selling price is different than replacement price.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:37PM
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igloochic

You need to measure silver content or weight first but from the looks of it I'd guess off hand between 300 and 500 bucks at a jewelry store. They were made in gold or silver, gold being more valuable of course but still sterling holds it's value. The only issue holding price back is it's use....chatelaines are not so much used :) and calling card cases even less so, unless you find a cool buyer :).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 2:01AM
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lindac

The value of an antique (mid 19th century by the mark) calling card case, is not in the sliver but in the design.
silver is selling for just under $40 an ounce. I would guesstimate that case weighs between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 troy Ozs.
It would be unlikely that someone buying the case would plan on hanging it from their belt and filling it with calling cards. it would be of interest to someone who collects chatelain items or other sterling "smalls".

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:22AM
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lazy_gardens

Linda - We need to revive the chatelaine! If I had that, I would use it for business cards.

And I could have a filigree cell phone holder to match.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:23PM
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lindac

Wouldn't that be fun!! LOL!
This thread prompted me to do a lot of research, and it seems that many hung things on their chatelain to correspond with what they needed, matched pattern or not. And there were later "things" meant to be carried on a finger at a dance with lipstick, rough, scent bottle.
Lots of room for collecting!
At one time I was collecting sterling sewing and vanity odds and ends. I had sterling handled scissors, bodkin, button hook, curling iron, thimble....and what looked like ivory but was likely celluloid tatting shuttle and thread holder.

And there are lots and lots of Deco sterling calling card holders to be had for about $50 to $60...if only they were a bit larger, they could hold the Visa and the Amex....and the Costco member card! How classy would that be?!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Fori is not pleased

This reminds me a LOT of something my sister gave my daughter--a very small purse made of plastic beads. It was junk made for Mardi Gras throws in New Orleans, and it was intended to hold your ID around your neck while you got completely hammered. I guess it could also hold cab fare...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:10PM
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evanbone

Now this thread has just gotten funny- I don't care who you are. Thanks for the breakdown guys and gals. I think I'll list it on Ebay unless someone wants to make me a good offer.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 9:28AM
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evanbone

up for bids!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: click here to bid on Ebay

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 5:56PM
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lindac

I don't need that....nope.....dont' need it at all....nope....not me!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 8:22PM
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Fori is not pleased

But it's perfect for barhopping! Linda, you shouldn't have to stick your ID in your sock...you do too need it!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 8:34PM
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lindac

AAARGH!!
But how would It look... doing shooters and paying with a Visa from a sterling 19th century "card holder"??
Maybe I could figure that one out.
Seriously....it is a great piece.....and if it dished lettuce or ice-cream....I would more seriously consider.
(notice I said MORE seriously)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Fori is not pleased

I have been trying to only purchase things that are useful. (I have been looking for lettuce servers for a while!)

But I'm sure this could be useful. You could start smoking!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:43AM
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