Medal Cabinet
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Attributed to André-Charles Boulle
French, Paris, about 1710 - 1715
Oak veneered with tortoiseshell, brass, and ebony; gilt-bronze mounts; sarrancolin des Pyrenées marble top
H: 2 ft. 8 1/2 in. x W: 4 ft. 7 1/4 in. x D: 2 ft. 4 1/2 in.

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This cabinet originally contained twenty-four shallow drawers intended to hold coins or medals. One of a pair, its companion in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia, still retains its original interior fittings. At some point, the cabinet's entire interior was removed and converted into a cigar humidor.

An inventory taken in 1767 on the death of the son of Robert de Cotte, Premier Architecte to Louis XIV, king of France, describes two medal cabinets made by André-Charles Boulle, probably referring to this pair.

Apart from the masks in the center of the doors and the lions' heads on the sides, which are later replacements, all the mounts are unique to the pair. The gilt-bronze caduceus with entwined snakes, normally the symbol for medicine, is here associated with Mercury, the god of commerce--an appropriate reference for the storage-place of coins.

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