Antique French Sterling Silver & Cut Crystal Opera / Travel Liquor Flask
A fine antique Belle Epoque era French sterling silver mounted travel liquor flask. Wonderful fluted cut crystal body topped by a sterling silver lid and threaded collar. Finished with a sterling silver removable drinking cup attached to the base with gilt vermeil finish to the interior. Sterling mounts are enhanced with an egg and dart motif, lovely monogram of interlaced initials ML engraved on the lid. Retains a glass stopper. Measures 5 1/2" length. In overall good condition for its age. There are a couple of shallow indentions to the lid and a couple of fleabite nicks to the fluted cut pattern. Fully hallmarked with the French Minerva 1st standard mark, which depicts the head of the goddess Minerva with a number 1 beside her to denote a silver content of .950/1000 (almost 95% pure silver, and higher than the standard .925 sterling!) Also bearing maker's marks for silversmith Alfred Hector, active from 1881 to 1913 at 25 rue Palestro, Paris.
Sometimes mistaken for a perfume bottle, bottles such as these were originally serviceable as portable flasks indented for liquor, 'spirits', absinthe or tonics and herbals. Though certainly usable for perfume if desired and are perfect to display among scent bottle collections. These flasks could easily hold a substantial amount of one's favorite liquor, to be served in the detachable tumbler or drinking cup at the base and ideal for a 'shot' of whiskey or flavored liqueur. These highly collectible 'spirit' flasks are known as carriage flasks, handy for short travel and easily stow-able in a purse or pocket during a night out at the theatre or opera. Also referred to as a flacon a eau de melisse, after a type of herbal 'spirits' similar to absinthe made from lemon balm favored for its fresh citrus taste and used as a tonic against migraines. A convenient accessory for a suitable "restoratif" on a cold carriage journey or at a tedious social event.