Ornate French gold boîte-en-baignoire (oblong snuff box, literally a "bathtub box"), Louis XVI, made

Currency:USD Category:Antiques / Maritime Start Price:30,000.00 USD Estimated At:35,000.00 - 50,000.00 USD
Ornate French gold boîte-en-baignoire (oblong snuff box, literally a  bathtub box ), Louis XVI, made
25,000.00USDto M***o+ (3,750.00) buyer's premium + applicable fees & taxes.
This item SOLD at 2010 Apr 16 @ 14:14UTC-4 : AST/EDT
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Ornate French gold boîte-en-baignoire (oblong snuff box, literally a "bathtub box"), Louis XVI, made by either French master goldsmith Jacques-François Varin (1758-1790) or his student Nicolas Huguet (1787-1806), who made such items for the king and later Napoleon and Josephine, along with most of one page of a contemporary newspaper found inside it talking about an auction of slaves, in which were wrapped 13 gold coins that formed an arras or Spanish dowry. 89.8 grams, approx. 3-3/4" long, 1-1/8" wide and 7/8" tall. Very ornate and beautiful, and completely intact and original except for the wire hinge (replaced with new wire), a one-of-a-kind museum piece of art that is considered the top artifact from this limited and significant wreck, bearing three marks inside, on both top and bottom, as follows: crowned-P charge mark (showing tax liability) for 1788-89; scroll-like discharge mark (showing tax paid) of Henri Clavel (tax inspector for 1780-1789); and maker's mark J-F-V for Jacques-François Varin. While the inside is plain, the outside of the top, base and sides are all highly embellished in many different textures and several different colors of gold, with just a couple very minor stains and marks from the wreck, which was salvaged by robot 3 miles below the surface (the deepest treasure salvage ever undertaken), a recording of which on DVD (which shows this very box being recovered) accompanies the piece. It must be emphasized that this little box carried the only gold coins on the whole wreck, and with those coins was an original newspaper (now fragmented but readable) that pegs the approximate date of the wreck (otherwise unidentified) and possible purpose (slave trade). Recovered from: "Coconut wreck," sunk ca. 1810 in deep water off Bermuda.