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A fine mid-19th century French silver tastevin (wine taster), the base inset with an 1810 Italian silver coin from the reign of Emperor Napoleon I as King of Italy. The bottom edge of the bowl is decorated with curved, scalloped "godrons" which were intended to reflect light through white wine to judge clarity. This tastevin does not have the "cupules" ("ovoides") specifically intended to deepen the color of red wines. The sides are decorated with grapevines and clusters of fruit. The handle is formed as a coiled serpent--as style particularly popular in Burgundy. The whole is raised on a circular ropetwist foot. Napoleonic coins are rarely seen in tastevins, and this piece probably dates to the Second Empire when Napoleonic items were viewed with some nostalgia. Fully hallmarked.
Origin: France, ca. 1850. Condition: excellent, sharp detail. Size: 3" diameter excluding handle. Weight: 72.3 grams.