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counter box

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1800-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    SIlver net over silver-plated copper lining with a painted enamel plaque

  • Credit Line:

    Lt. Col. G. B. Croft-Lyons Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Small filigree boxes were used for all kinds of reasons in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were usually made for a specific purpose, rather than as a general container as is often the case today. It is often difficult to be sure what they originally contained, but there is no doubt that this box was made to contain gaming counters, as is shown by the enamelled playing card on the lid.

Each player provided his own counters, which were carried in an appropriate case in the pocket. They were used to make bets during a game of cards, and converted to currency, or promissory notes, after it ended. They were made of all kinds of material. In the 18th century counters were usually circular, but by the 19th century other shapes, such as ovals, rectangles or fish, became common, particularly in those made of mother-of-pearl. The gaming counters usually matched their case, so this example would have contained filigree counters.

Physical description

Cylindrical silver case with a lid which pushes on. It is made of panels of wire, twisted wire and ribbon wire woven together like netting with a lining of silver-plated copper. There is a circular enamel plaque, depicting a playing card (the knave of spades), set in the centre of the lid in a toothed mount.

Place of Origin

Britain (probably, made)


1800-1830 (made)



Materials and Techniques

SIlver net over silver-plated copper lining with a painted enamel plaque

Object history note

Paper inside saying: 'Bought in Shepherd's Market, Mayfair, 12.11.09. AN/-'

Descriptive line

Silver filigree counter box set with a painted enamel plaque of the knave of spades, Britain, 1800-1830.


Silver; Plated


Filigree; Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Playing card


Metalwork; Containers; Games; Enamels; Entertainment & Leisure; Playing cards & Tarot cards


Metalwork Collection

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