Aucoc Silver Gilt & Mother of Pearl Travel Box, ca. 1830

Value (2015) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
This is my treasure box. I came upon it 25 years ago. Relatives of mine, who have a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. The grandmother had died, and the estate had invited relatives to come in and take what they wanted from the estate. I ran upstairs to the attic, and I found, in a corner, a box, a very dusty, sort of unassuming box. And when I opened it... well, I couldn't believe my eyes.

APPRAISER:
You have a very interesting item. It is French, and it's primarily comprised of silver gilt and mother-of-pearl pieces. And when I say silver gilt, it's a French silver that's been dipped with a gilt service, or a vermeil wash, as you sometimes hear. It's made by a firm called Aucoc.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
It was actually a dynasty of silversmiths and then eventually jewelers. And what's interesting about this is the case and all of the objects inside are made by Aucoc. You have in the middle the Aucoc hallmark. French silver’s a little hard to date, but we feel it's between about 1820 and 1840.

GUEST:
Oh, that old?

APPRAISER:
Is when this set comes from, yeah.

GUEST:
That's a surprise.

APPARAISER: Aucoc was one of the most important and most well-known travel accessories makers in the French period of 1820 to 1840.

GUEST:
So this would be for a ship or a train travel?

APPRAISER:
Exactly, primarily for a lady. What is truly magnificent about this set is that all of my colleagues and I have never seen a set so complete.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
There's always something missing. You've got some wonderful dressing accessories here. Some of these items for sort of grooming one's self. And then here we have some sewing accessories as well. We even have a small service for eating. Also one of my favorite parts is the porcelain teacup and saucer,

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Which was made in Paris around about 1830.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Do you know what this is for?

GUEST:
I have no idea, and it's very odd-looking, like you'd almost put an egg on top of it.

APPRAISER:
It's called an eye rinse, and you'd actually rinse your eyes out if you'd been exposed to some dust.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
You have the inkpots here, you have a pen rest. What's fabulous is that it all fits neatly right in here.

GUEST:
Yes, it's like, it’s just like a puzzle.

APPRAISER:
It's wonderful. The case has brass inlay, which is called boule inlay, which is this wonderful brass inlay into what we consider quite a rare cut of maple burl, and if we close the case, you can see here the quality of the timber, also, is just exceptional. I would put an auction estimate of between about $10,000 and $15,000.

GUEST:
(laughs)

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
Well, you've made my day.

APPRAISER:
Well, you've made my day, too. It's a really exceptional item.

GUEST:
Well, it's always been special, but now I have to say it's a little more special to me. Oh, I could just cry, I'm so happy!

APPRAISER:
It's a really, really cool set.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Update (2015)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Appraised value (2010)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Miami Beach, FL (July 10, 2010)
Period
19th Century
Form
Box

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