Rare antique 19th century French .800 silver wax seal set, sceau etui, with multiple matrices. Dating to the 1820s-1830s Bourbon Restoration Era, Louis XVIII-Charles X period, and would have been a treasure from the Palais Royal in Paris. The etui or case is crafted from .800/1000 silver, richly decorated with a motif of stylized foliage on a fluted ground. Hallmarked with the French head of the hare or rabbit. The hare head mark indicates a silver content of .800/1000 and was typically used on small items. The mark is a guarantee mark (poinçon de garantie) placed by the Bureau de Garantie de Paris and was in use from 1819-1838. Also bearing a silversmith's maker's mark. The top of the handle pulls out to expose a hidden slide drawer. Containing 10 brass double-sided changeable matrices or wax seal tiles, offering a good selection of 20 to choose from. They consist of various little images, mottos, phrases, words of wisdom and messages written mostly in French and some in Italian. A rare find to add to your wax seal collection. And perfect to use in the making of trending wax seal jewelry and pendants, stamping the seals in silver clay. In good overall antique condition with general wear commensurate with use and age. There is a couple of holes in the silver etui case on one side. The wax seal etui measures 2 5/8" length x 5/8" wide. The matrix tiles measure 9/16" x 1/2" and include the following:
From a Friend
Featuring a swallow in flight, surrounded by the words ‘Toujours errant, jamais infidèle’ / Always wandering, never unfaithful. The image of the swallow represents love and loyalty, known for always returning back to their loved ones and considered bears of good news and harbingers of good luck.
Depicting an image of a severed snake with the motto ‘Se rejoindre ou mourir’ / Will join or die.
Italian motto ‘Dopo, come avanti’ / After as forward.
In French ‘Va ou je voudrais être / Go where I would wish to be.
Italian motto ‘Il giusto il ver la libertà sospiro’ / The right to breathe free
An image of a tree trunk covered in ivy. With the phrase 'Je meurs ou Je m'attache' / 'I cling or I die'. Without the tree, the ivy would die, so the message to the reader is 'without you I cannot survive', or 'I depend on you'. Ivy symbolizes fidelity, strong attachment, and everlasting friendship.
An image of an envelope with the phrase "Allez heureuse" / "Go happy".
The proverd ‘L'homme propose, Dieu dispose’ / “Man proposes, God disposes’
With an image of a lamb bending to drink at a stream, with a menacing wolf watching, with the phrase ‘La raison du plus fort / “The reason of the strongest’... or ‘Might is always right’. A famous scene from the Aesop and La Fontaine fables in which the lamb is cruelly killed by the wolf under false pretenses. A somber reminder that, to this day, "might makes right" in many situations and we must work to fight injustices.
The opposite sides:
A tree with the phrase ‘à l'épreuve du temps’ / will stand the test of time.
A flourishing tree surrounded by the Italian motto ‘Cresce Non Cambia’/ Grow Don’t Change
From the Aesop fables, depicting the story of the tortoise and hare with the French motto, “droit chemin,” / the right path.
A pictorial from the Aesop fable The Lion and The Mouse, with the phrase Avec Le Temps / With Time. The fable goes that the mouse accidentally came upon the sleeping lion, and in her fright, she became caught in his paws. She pleaded with the lion to let her go, and she would one day repay him for his kindness. The amused lion released this tiny meal. However, weeks later, the lion was caught in a trap, bound in rope. The mouse, walking by, saw the lion in his sad plight and gnawed the rope, reminding the lion of her promise. The moral of the story is that small kindnesses lead to great deeds, and strong friendships that will reward you in times of need. There is no being so small that they cannot be of great help.
Depicting a horse escaping by jumping over a fence with the French words ‘L'Obstacle excite mon ardeur’ / Obstacles excite me.
An image of two fighting cockerels surrounded by the French motto 'A Mort' / To Death!
With an image of a bee hive surrounded by the words ‘Nul n'en penetre le secret’ / No one penetrates the secret.
A pictorial of a standing horse.
An image of a dancing cirque clown.
Featuring a harp surrounded by the French words ‘Pas d'harmonie san accord' / There is no harmony without agreement