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Napoleon's gaming counters




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If you ever visit the Wallace Collection in London ( highly recommended!!) you are likely to see on display a small leather box containing 66 beautiful counters in two shapes - round and long - and in two materials, m-o-p and tortoiseshell; all superbly crafted with gold edging. i was grateful to Vincent Lieber for bringing them to my attention some time back. These gaming counters were not made in China but in Paris at the Palais Royal in around 1810-1830. there is a note that the set is incomplete - there is room in the box for around 80 counters but they have only 66. Please see the pictures. Counters from the set are illustrated in the book Antique Gambling Chips which deals mainly with American poker chips but does contain a section on Chinese ones. The set of counters was collected in the 19C. I have always lusted after these counters- wondering where the remaining dozen or so could be. They are out there somewhere! So I  feel greatly honoured to have acquired a set of four of them. They really are beautiful counters. The detail and precision is breathtaking. The museum points out that there is no written proof that these actually belonged to Napoleon - but they are just being cautious: there is no doubt in my mind that these were made for someone very special. Napoleon.

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