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Ivory armorial counter box - rare counters inside




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Another exciting find! What appears at first sight to be a 'standard issue' small ivory Cantonese counter box turns out to be a treasure! The box is perhaps that bit finer than standard and the depth of the carving to the lid suggests extra care has gone into this box. Turn it over though and it all starts to become clearer: the crest of a hawk's head and neck erased with the monogram 'TH' (Hawke family??) has been carved onto the base which is rather unusual in itself. Boxes with the armorial in a roundel on the lid exist. Things get even better when one removes the lid because the first thing one sees are two round half counters bearing the crest and monogram, reduced in size. There are four of the half-counters and then progressing further there are eight matching full round counters, all bright and showing no wear, having spent most of their life since their production in around 1820 (from the vine-and-fruit border pattern) in their box. Most Cantonese sets of counters produced as Whist markers have a standard eight counters. I have previously seen three different armorial half-round counters and now we know why they were produced - to go into these boxes! This was a very pleasing find indeed. 

 


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