Thursday, July 24, 2014


Here is a cased cheroot holder offered at auction on September 10, 2010 at the Rock Island Auction Company, Rock Island, Illinois. Rather than craft our own description, we include a verbatim description by the company cataloger:

"Measuring 6 1/4" long from bowl to stem, 5" tall and 1 4/5" wide, the main section of the holder is constructed with a meerschaum bowl mounted into the front of a single piece of natural meerschaum, which shows a curvature along the underside that matches in contour with the stem.

[Note from admin: this is a single meerschaum block where the carver has purposefullly removed the wax to prevent coloration of the sculpture when the pipe is smoked, preserving the natural white color of the meerschaum and offering a striking contrast with the base as it acquires the golden brown color] 


The main body is three dimensionally carved in a scene of Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, standing atop a rock outcropping covered in floral blooms, posed as though preparing to nock an arrow on a bow (note: bow and arrow are absent), with a quiver on her back and her dress partially undone to free her drawing arm. Arrayed around her are a woman in dress and sandals, holding the leads of a pair of lop eared hounds, 2 nymphs dressed in laurels, and a large stag. In Greek myth, all these things were presented to Artemis as gifts by her father Zeus, along with the bow and arrow and eternal celibacy.

Apollo and Artemis. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, circa  BC

The overall tone of the coloration is signature meerschaum, with the underside of the pipe showing a mixed orange color, the carved sections showing a bone white with yellow and orange accents overall, darker and deeper near the front until you reach the bowl, which is near black with streaks of red. The stem is carved orange amber, 5" long, which matches up with the main body excellently. With a leather covered, velvet and silk lined case from Franz Heiss & Son of Vienna, Austria, a late 19th Century carving firm and participant in the Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893." 

Aerial view of the Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

According to the House, it sold for the tidy sum of $9,500 plus $1,852.50 (buyer's premium + taxes, fees, etc.).

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