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Antiques Considered - Nov. 28, 2012

These three French wedding cups were part of a larger collection that the wife of an American diplomat put together while serving abroad.  The one is inscribed, ”Amite”, and one of the others is etched but not inscribed.   The third is plain.   The gilding on the stem of one is not original, but has been applied to cover the repairs from when the piece had been broken.

 French wedding cups are becoming increasingly difficult to find.   They represent a tradition of the nineteenth century when a bride and groom and their wedding guests all drank from the same cup as a symbol of the gathering’s support for the newly married couple.  “Amite’” translates as friendship, signifying the unity of the community in wishing the newlyweds a happy future.

The “Amite’” cup is the most valuable.  Like the others it dates from the early to mid-nineteenth century, and appears to be in pristine condition.  It is worth $200.   The plain cup, also in excellent condition is worth $100.   The repaired one, despite its fine design, is worth $25.   Damaged items without a provenance of origin or ownership are hard sells, especially in a case such as this one where the repairs are quite obvious.

 The tradition of the cups is a part of French history, making them collectible for both history buffs and glass collectors.  All of these pieces reflect the taste and culture of the Restoration through the July Monarchy, that is from the return to the throne of Louis XVIII in 1814 through the reign of his brother, Charles X (1824-1830) and that of Louis Philippe (1830-1848).  The latter was the “Citizen King”, and his reign was known as the Liberal Monarchy because he presented himself as a reformer.

The style of the cups and the etching on the two reflect that period, and the three are interesting testaments of the period.

Happy Antiquing!

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