A RARE Victorian silver ‘castle-top’ card case could fetch up to £5,000 at an auction later this month.
The case - die-stamped with an image of the Dublin International Industrial Exhibition building – will be offered in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Fine Silver sale on Wednesday 26 February.
Birmingham-based family run business, Nathaniel Mills & Sons, who specialised in silver card-cases, snuff boxes and vinaigrettes, fashioned the case before disbanding in 1953 after the death of Nathaniel’s son, William Mills.
This rare piece was one of the last cases to be made, making it a valuable item for sale at the auction.
Castle-top card cases were fashionable in the 19th century and were stamped or engraved with local landmarks and sold to the thriving tourist market as souvenirs.
This particular piece hails from the 1853 Dublin International Industrial Exhibition, the most extravagant and expensive public event of 19th century Ireland.
It was the first international industrial exhibition to be held in the world after the ground-breaking London Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, with hundreds of Irish men and woman attending.
The exhibition itself financially ruined Ireland’s greatest railway engineer and promoter of the exhibition, William Dargan, but laid the foundation for the construction of the National Gallery of Ireland.
The case was discovered at one of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ valuation days in Dublin and will be sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire.