c1878 carved vegetable ivory measuring tape silk barrel w/ stanhope SOLD

This barrel-form etui was intricately carved from Coquille nut or “vegetable ivory,” which is actually the fruit of a Brazilian palm tree. It’s polished to a high luster and shows virtually no sign of wear or use. The top contains a measuring tape of blue ribbon; the bone handle (which retracts the ribbon tape) contains a Stanhope viewer with a scene of a Spanish cathedral (Gerona de Vilar Blanes 1878).

The bottom half holds a silver-colored pot metal thimble, showing it can be used as a thimble case, but a hole near the base tells a different story– it was intended to store and carefully unroll a spool of silk thread, with one end threaded through the hole and accessible to the embroiderer.

The condition is excellent with no chips or dings, no cracks and the measuring tape unrolls and retracts smoothly. The tape is slightly faded at the outermost end but more colorful as it unrolls, and the bone ring is still attached at the end of the tape. The threaded screw closure works easily and securely. It measures about 3″ tall and 1″ across at the widest point.