Silver Art Nouveau vesta cases nudes Louis Oscar Roti Mariani Wines promotional vesta case rare 1900s
An extremely rare antique sterling silver vesta case. Made by the prestigious Parisian firm Gabert et Conreau at the turn of the century. The case is signed on the vermeil interior "GABERT ET CONREAU ORFEVRES. PARIS". The maker's mark "G & C un gabion" is clear and easy to read and further marks - boar's heads are to be seen on this antique match safe. This piece was made to celebrate the opening of a Winery in Paris and very few of these were made. Essentially it was rare when first made and over the passage of time the few have been lost, damaged and so to find this antique in this condition is remarkable. The book value for this almost three years ago was $1600.00.
From the exceptionally good condition of the exterior case and the vermeil interior I would say this has not been used to store vestas.
The history of this piece is important not only because of the maker's but also the subject matter.
Vin Mariani was patent medicine created about 1863 by Angelo Mariani. Mariani wanted to create a tonic. He had become fascinated with coca and its economic potential after reading Paolo Mantegazza’s paper on coca's effects. In 1863 Mariani started marketing a wine called Vin Tonique Mariani (à la Coca du Pérou) which was made from coca leaves and Bordeaux wine.
The legendary Marani Wine has a well documented history with endorsements from Queen Victoria, Pope Leo XIII and later Pope Saint Pius X . They were all Vin Mariani drinkers. Pope Leo awarded a Vatican gold medal to the wine and also appeared on a poster endorsing it.
Thomas Edison also endorsed the wine. He stated that it helped him stay awake longer. Ulysses S. Grant began drinking while writing his memoirs.
As you can imagine the historical fact pack that comes free with this piece is large and lavishly illustrated.
This vesta case is an antique of great charm. The repoussage decoration on the front is captivating and becomes even more so when the French is translated. Inscribed on the lid "O NYMPHE LE VIN MARIANI VA LE SAUVER MAIS PRENDS GARDE A TON COEVR" - "Oh nymphe the Mariani Wine will save him but take care of your heart". The tender scene engraved by the celebrated medalist Louis Oscar Roti with exceptional skill. We see the nymph pouring some Mariani Wine for the ill infant. The naked nymph holds the child tenderly and close to her. He is seated on flowing robes that cover her lower body. They are seated on the ground, a tree towers over them. Floral motifs adorn the case. The case is signed "O. Roti". The back is decorated with repoussage floral motifs and foliage. The case is beautifully clean and in excellent condition.
It measures 4.7 cm x 3.5 cm and weighs 27.6 grams.
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