Imperial soup tureen to make $306,500?

An imperial silver soup tureen, valued at �150,000-200,000 ($229,657-306,251), is to auction at Bonhams London come June 19.

Bonhams' Michael Moorcroft comments: "The Sachsen-Teschen service has emerged from the shadows of the past to a glittering future."

Imperial soup turneen auction
French imperial silver from this period is rare - much of it was destroyed for political and financial reasons

The silver soup tureen was commissioned by the mother of Marie Antoinette and Antoinette's sister Mariana Christina (known as "Mimi") for Mimi's wedding to prince Albert Casimir in 1766.

Although Albert possessed a noble title, his family's wealth had diminished greatly during the seven years war, and the besotted Mimi had to cajole her mother into allowing the match to go ahead.

Mimi - the favourite child - was allowed to marry for love, a decision that alienated her from her sister, whose marriage to King Louis was arranged.

Included in Mimi's large dowry were precious gold and silver objects made by Franz Caspar Wurth, including the very first Sachsen-Teschen service he ever produced (the second is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York).

Later, Mimi would have the first service melted down and remoulded by Franz's son Ignatz. The present soup tureen is offered from this remodelled silver service.

Mimi and her sister Marie remained estranged after the marriage of Mimi and Albert. It is said that, on hearing the news of her sister's execution in 1792, Mimi remained cold and calm, saying only that she thought her sister should never have married.

Decorative silver items remain popular among collectors. An important pair of 18th century silver soup tureens is to grace the auction block at Christie's on May 21. Estimated at $150,000-200,000, it will be fascinating to see whether Mimi's single French baroque tureen outperforms the extravagant silver tureens in June.

Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we currently have this exquisite 18th century cabinet in stock.

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