1827 French Boulle Inlay & Mahogany Strong Box

Value (2008) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

This is a strong box. It was my mother's. And it was given as a wedding gift by my father's grandparents.

Okay. And now how did your father's grandparents acquire it?

Their daughter married a baron from Moscow and it came overseas and was given to them as one of the gifts, I think to get on their good side as a future son-in-law.

Well, they may well have done the right thing. So, we know that it's a strong box. It's actually French, not Russian. And it's made of mahogany, and then we have what's called boulle inlay, or brass inlay. And it's after the designer André-Charles Boulle, who did inlays in the 17th century and they continued throughout furniture making. We know that there's some information on the lock plate on the inside, so why don't we open this up? We have "Aucoc," and that's for Louis Aucoc, who started a firm around 1823. And then we have, "By appointment to the king" and then we have his address, which is Rue de Saint-Honoré, number 154, Paris. And then we have a date, 1827, which was in the reign of Charles X. He ruled from 1824 until 1830. On the interior, you can see that there was something else in here, a lining. And do you have that?

No, I do not.

And then you have all of these clips on the interior. And I think that there are a number of trays that you would clip in, probably at least two to three. And when those were revealed, you had-- this is mahogany and this is actually rosewood-- for your coins. So it was a traveling strong box. If we close this down again... you have this wonderful brass inlay around the sides and then you have this coat of arms here, this crest, which we have been unable to determine what it is. But if you were able to, it might increase the value. My colleagues and I, we put our heads together. Although it is lacking some elements-- the interior tray liners and the stand, it's a wonderful example of furniture from the Charles X period, and we would assign an auction estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.

Okay, great.

If the strong box were intact, it would be in the range of about $15,000 to $25,000.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2008)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Grand Rapids, MI (August 09, 2008)

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