An outstanding antique French sterling silver liquor / whiskey hip flask by noted silversmith Gustave Keller. The quality cut glass bottle is decorated with deep wheel cut fluting. Retains a glass stopper. Topped by sterling silver mounts with gilt vermeil finish to the interiors. Patterned with exquisite engine turned guilloche engraving to the sterling lid and detachable drinking cup attached to the base. A circular cartouche on the lid and cup bear an engraved crown of a prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Couronne des princes du Saint-Empire). Fully hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which guaranteed the finest quality French sterling silver of .950/1000 purity in use from 1838 (95% pure silver and higher grade than the standard .925 for sterling). Bearing makers mark and signature for Gustave KELLER (Keller Frères), active 1881-1922. In overall good antique condition with general wear/scratches from use and handling. One or two tiny flea-bites hidden among the cut pattern. Measures 5 7/8" x 2 7/8".
The Keller firm was established in 1856 by Gustave Keller and his work was soon noted for its fine quality. The business was awarded a gold and a silver medal at the 1867 and 1878 Paris World Exhibitions. After 1878, the business was styled Gustave Keller Freres and started producing silverware, which was rewarded at the 1889 and 1900 World Fairs gold medal and a Grand Prix respectively in 1889. The business was the holder of several warrants as suppliers to European courts including Spain, Greece, Romania and Russia (the firm was a favorite of Tsar Nicholas II) and from the 1900's they were commissioned to produce several important cups and trophies for the Principality of Monaco. The famous 19th century French jeweller Lucien Falize, wrote that "everything that bears the Keller brand is good!" Examples of Keller's work can be found in notable collections throughout the world, including the Imperial State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and those of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.